Campaigners start fight against plans to build on Overton Park
Campaigners are fighting to save a park after leaked documents showed it could be under threat under plans to expand a neighbouring school.
Expanding Overton Grange School by removing the protected status from Overton Park and building on it has been proposed as school leaders explore ways of increasing pupil spaces by 2016.
In documents put together by the Partnership of Sutton Secondary Schools as part of a council consultation and seen by the Sutton Guardian, it is proposed that Overton Grange's capacity is expanded by 30 places.
But the small print states: "This expansion by one form of entry is subject to Sutton Council's planning restrictions in Overton Park being lifted."
Sutton Council said the plan is only a proposal at this stage and will not be explored until later this year, but campaigners are already gearing up to fight against any plans to build on the park.
Jason Hughes, chairman of the Friends of Overton Park and prospective councillor for the area, has joined forces with Conservative Councillor Tony Shields, campaigner and prospective councillor Heather Howell, and prospective MP Paul Scully to fight the proposal.
He said: "Despite assurances from the Lib Dems, we have uncovered plans to remove the park’s protected status and build on it.
"Residents and park users don’t want this and we’ll fight it all the way. We urgently need school places to deal with incredibly poor planning from Sutton Council and a new school needs to be built, but not at the expense of our green spaces."
A Sutton Council spokesman said the proposal is one of several that have been put forward. He added: "Sutton Council will be looking at possible 2016 expansion plans for Sutton’s secondary schools in the coming months. Until then it is too early to speculate about potential options."
To sign the Friends Of Overton Park's petition, visit www.suttonsouth.org.uk.
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