The Leader of Sutton’s Liberal Democrat Council, Cllr Ruth Dombey, has described the council’s proposal to build a new school on the former Sutton Hospital site as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’.
She was explaining the council’s decision not to dispose of Metropolitan Open Land in Rosehill Park for the new school. The borough needs another secondary school in the next few years to cater for expanding school rolls.
Cllr Dombey said the Rosehill site was an area of popular parkland, and although it included a disused all-weather pitch, the total footprint of a school would take up a considerable amount of the park.
She continued: “Given that the council has purchased a brownfield site on the ex-Sutton Hospital land expressly for the purpose of building a school, we feel strongly that we should build the school there rather than in a park that is heavily used and highly valued by the community.
“The idea of building a new secondary school on the ex-hospital site is an exciting opportunity for the youngsters of this borough. The proposal for the life sciences cluster on the same site has gathered significant momentum in recent weeks with the support of the Greater London Authority and with the appointment of master planners to create a plan for the site - to include a school - with our partners the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital.”
Ruth Dombey said the benefits to a school of such internationally renowned institutions on its doorstep were immense and the ICR (a college of the University of London) was keen to promote the life sciences with secondary school students.
“The potential to connect a secondary school to what could become the second largest life science cluster in the world is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. As part of the London Cancer Hub, the school could connect a world-leading life science hub to a school creating a ladder of opportunity for our young people to help them develop their skills and prepare them for future employment.
Ruth concluded: “We value our green spaces and we want to protect them as much as possible by encouraging the development of a secondary school on a brownfield site. We are a green Council and we value our parks and open spaces - as we know you do too. Why build a school on a park when there is an alternative site available?”