Dulwich Estate lodged application to build on Judith Kerr Primary School Playground

The Dulwich Estate has lodged an application to rebuild the Almshouses on the playing field of Judith Kerr Primary School, Herne Hill.  The Save the Green Space Campaign are committed to securing the playground space to be kept for the use of the school’s children.  If the application is approved, it would mean the loss of all outdoor soft standing play space.  The children would be limited to the small AstroTurf pitch for the entire school (see photo above).   

With the green space, the school currently has only 5,141 square metres of usable external space, approximately 14.6 square metres per child. That equates to 51.67% of the recommended minimum external space under the Area Guidelines for Mainstream Schools (the Department of Education's Building Bulletin 103) and less than half of the guideline area for soft outdoor physical education. If the school were to lose the green space, the effect would be to dramatically reduce the external usable space to almost a third – 1,901 square metres of usable external space, lowering it to approximately 5.4 square metres per child. Even for an urban school, this is an unacceptably low 19.11% of the guideline area and, still worse, it will reduce the area for soft outdoor physical education to zero.

Parents at the school recently secured a victory of changing the use category of the playing field from business use to that of a state funded primary school.  Southwark Council unanimously approved this application and we were delighted to have MP Helen Hayes to show her continued support at the planning committee.  However, Dulwich Estate have pressed ahead and submitted their application.  The change of use application received over 110 letters of support and only 6 objections demonstrating the breath of community support for the school and its continued success.

We’re asking Herne Hill-ers to lodge their objections to this application by the 21st April via the Southwark planning portal.  We, as a community, can work together to secure the future of this flourishing school by protecting its playground.