The Council has written to many (but not all) owners and occupiers of properties on the Page Estate (the roads enclosing the lower school site) to notify them it has applied to the Land Tribunal to have protective covenants restricting building on part of the site removed.
The covenants were imposed to preserve part of what is now the Blackheath Conservation Area and World Heritage Site Buffer Zone free from developments such as the adjacent Westcombe Court. Only one dwelling was allowed and the covenanted land was required to remain as gardens and orchard.
When ILEA decided to build the lower School in Westcombe Park Road, residents of homes in Vanbrugh Fields transferred this area of the land forming part of their rear gardens to make this possible. The land was transferred for a nominal sum, but with covenants in place to retain he protection they had enjoyed as owners.
The current school was carefully designed to respect the covenants, avoiding building on the covenanted land and retaining the trees and the nature reserve that had been a feature of the site – the habitat of stag beetles, purple hairstreak butterflies, hedgehogs, newts, frogs, toads &c. The school and its neighbours have coexisted happily for more than 30 years in conformity with these covenants.
Plans for the new school (which were on display at public exhibitions) show the new buildings will not encroach on the covenanted land. Planning permission for the new building is expected to be sought in late June with a view to demolishing the old school early in the new year.