Monday, August 21, 2017
Concern basement development could cause collapse of school playground wall

Concern basement development could cause collapse of school playground wall

Sergison Cottage and playground wall of All Saints Primary School


PARENTS are deeply concerned the construction of a home with a luxury basement close to a school will put the lives of their children in jeopardy.

The parents of All Saints Primary School in Blackheath are worried about the works to demolish and replace Sergison Cottage in Goffers Road as it just behind the quarry wall which borders its playground.

Lewisham council granted planning permission for the home, which is to have a basement for a swimming pool, gym, cinema and games room, in April this year with the condition that works to dig out the basement can only be carried out in the school holidays.

However the construction plans now submitted by Sketch London Architects to Lewisham council which are the subject of a consultation, request the condition for digging works to be carried out during term time outside of a 3m exclusion zone from the wall.

Parents are flagging up that the 10m high former quarry wall behind the school in Blackheath Vale has had structural problems in the past. As the school’s closest point to the wall is only four feet away the parents are pleading with the council to limit ALL building works to the holidays due to concerns over falling machinery, debris, dust, noise and vibration.

A mum, whose name has been withheld, said: “Anybody looking at this construction plan with even an ounce of common sense can see that this is a completely inappropriate development for this site. Basement digging has created notorious problems for neighbours right across London already, but this proposal beggars belief. Sergison Cottage is alongside a quarry with All Saints Primary School literally only inches away at a lower level. As parents, we are shocked and horrified that Lewisham Council have granted planning permission for this. None of this building work should be done when the children are at school.”

Another mum, name also withheld, said: “The quarry wall that surrounds All Saints Primary has had very serious structural problems in the past – my eldest daughter was here when the whole school had to be urgently relocated for two years so essential underpinning work could be done. Any invasive building work alongside this wall is a very frightening prospect. Our children should not be put at risk in any way or subjected to the huge amounts of dust, noise and vibration that this building work will create.”

Neil Gaskin from Sketch London, told The Mercury: “I would like to emphasise that a rigorous design process has and will continue to take place throughout the project. At the forefront of the design team’s mind is the safety of the site, its neighbours and in particular the school and those who use it. Our structural team have done detailed assessments of the impact of the new building on the existing retaining wall and they and I can assure you that the addition of this new building is safe.

“The process of constructing a new basement behind the retaining wall acts to de-load this wall. The weight of the soil which currently sits behind the retaining structure will be removed and a new structure will be positioned in its place which takes the load of the new building. The resultant affect is that the wall will no longer be under load and in affect the situation is better than it is currently. Please be assured that a team of experienced professionals are looking at this project and safety is of the utmost importance.

He said the request for work to continue during term time outside a 3m zone was made “ because it would be safer than leaving a construction site for long periods of time between short periods of work.”

All objections to the construction plans must be submitted to the council before Thursday December 15.

Reporter | Resident of Lewisham for more than 25 years and studied sociology at Goldsmiths. Previously worked for many years as a picture researcher for book and part work publishers and joined The Mercury after studying for a NCTJ at Lambeth College. Big yoga and walking fan – not just in the country but also along the River Thames. Love South East London and wander around Lewisham town centre, Deptford High Street and Greenwich Town Centre at least once a week. Mandy has worked for the Mercury for 14 years.


Concern basement development could cause collapse of school playground wall