This month Surrey Docks Farm started work on Phase 1 of its Riverfront Development, thanks to funding allocated by Southwark Council from levies on local developments. By the end of the year the farm will be offering a range of new and enhanced community facilities with stunning riverfront views looking across to Canary Wharf, providing new activity spaces, lettable rooms and outdoor areas all year round.

Architects PUP have designed the development and act as contract administrator; John Perkins Projects is the contractor; and Hollybrook Homes have kindly funded two cabins for the duration so the Farm can continue to run its education programmes and classes.

The farm’s River Room is being re-designed, upgraded, refitted and extended with a glass orangery to provide a quality, flexible, multi-use space for a wide range of uses – for schools’ programmes, classes, meetings, conferences, birthday parties and events. The adjacent three storey tower, burnt out in an arson attack over a decade ago, is being converted. On the ground floor: a Farm Kitchen providing a training resource for all ages promoting cooking with fresh produce, good diets and healthy eating and a catering resource for events held in the River Room. On the first floor: an office to accommodate the farm’s growing staff team. On the top floor: a calm, flexible activity space with a fine view overlooking the Thames – for meetings, arts and crafts and therapeutic sessions.

To complete the development, the farm is currently fundraising for Phase 2 to open up its river frontage in its unique setting by the Thames. Its new main entrance will then be through the gates onto the Thames Path where the public will be led along widened, paved entrances into the Farm and its new riverfront facilities. There will be new paving, landscaping and gardens providing a special space for sitting out and socialising and for community events. Gates and a retractable trellis fence will be installed to enable all the new riverfront facilities provided in Phase 1 to be available for evening classes as well as day time use by securing the rest of the Farm and its animals.

Cllr Johnson Situ, cabinet Member for growth, development and planning commented: “This is really good news for the borough’s only city farm. Here in Southwark Council we are delighted to have awarded the Farm one of the earliest Community Infrastructure Levy (CILs) amounts to enable them to make all these superb improvements. This award is a great example of the council’s refreshed approach to local CIL which will see the development of Community Investment Plans to support growth across the borough. As part of the award, the Farm will also contribute to Southwark being an Age Friendly borough with further opportunities for older and younger people alike as well as new inter-generational projects”.

Cllr Jasmin Ali, Cabinet Member for children’s and adult services commented: “Speaking personally, I cannot wait to bring my family down there to see the transformation.  We have also granted the Farm a new 35 year lease at a charitable rent so that these new education and community resources are secured for the long term and the Farm can enhance and develop its special offers for residents”.

As the borough’s only city farm, with its gates open seven days a week and free entrance, the farm will provide its 50,000 visitors a year with an enhanced visitor experience and renewed opportunities to learn about and engage with all aspects of a working farm.

Cllr Jasmine Ali, cabinet member for children, schools and adult care, was joined by Neil Coyle MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, to mark the official opening of Albion Primary School.

Albion Primary School now has capacity for 420 pupils after the school was completely rebuilt.

Next month the council’s cabinet will award a contract for the construction of new homes on part of the former school site, with work due to start next year.

Making the most of every bit of space available was central to the redesign of the school and this extends to the roof. There is a new, fully accessible, roof terrace with an artificial grass playing pitch, which will be used as a further outdoor learning space but doubles as a play area.

Cllr Jasmine Ali, cabinet member for children, schools and adult care, said: “One of the real stand-out successes of Southwark Council’s investments into local schools is that education teams have been able to create schools that fit their needs. At Albion Primary School, pupils and staff have a school that works for them. The school is really impressive and the investments from Southwark Council has helped provide an excellent space to teach and learn. Alongside the quality of the school, which has been recognised by industry bodies, there are now more, much needed primary school places. Thanks to the expansion of the school, I am pleased to say that Albion will now be able to welcome 210 more pupils through its gates.”

Karl Bardouille, headteacher of Albion Primary School, said: “Albion has worked closely with Southwark Council and the architects to ensure our children have the best possible facilities .We wanted to ensure that the new school would give the children bigger classrooms, a more accessible building and more common areas that would ensure the best opportunities to deliver our creative curriculum. We are all delighted with the extra teaching and learning space that will help us live up to our motto ‘Learn to do Well’”.

Proposals to rebuild Rotherhithe Primary School with expanded premises for an extra form of entry are now being considered by the council’s planning department.

The existing buildings date from 1971 and are said to be beyond viable refurbishment.

The new school – facing Hawkstone Road – has been designed by Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios.

The architects say they have drawn on the area’s history when developing their vision for the new school:

The ribbon of the garden wall wraps around the site creating a protected central courtyard evocative of the historic basins and dry docks which were once carved out of the Rotherhithe peninsular. The organic shapes and materials of the landscape flow into the ‘basin’ of the courtyard which is framed by the more rectilinear walls of the building, inspired by the retaining walls of the dry docks and Brunel’s engineering legacy.

See planning application 18/AP/3792 for further details.

Pupils at Redriff Primary City of London Academy have been taking part in activities to mark 100 years since the end of World War One.

Children from nursery age to Year 6 have been involved in a wide range of activities, building up to the school’s Remembrance Assembly today and finally culminating in the unveiling of the school’s memorial garden.

The memorial garden has a steel solider inscribed with the words ‘Redriff Remembers 1918-2018’ including crosses, placed by the children, bearing the names of the 600 soldiers from Rotherhithe who were killed in the war.

Also featuring in the garden is a silhouette, which has been supplied by the charity Remembered as part of its 2018 Armistice project –There But Not There.

The children have also constructed a poppy made from stones on which they have written the names of each solider.

The poppy will remain as a permanent feature in the school’s playground.

The garden will be completed on Friday during the Remembrance Assembly when the final crosses will be planted.

Mickey Kelly, executive headteacher of Redriff Primary, said:

“This week has been a moving experience for all the students and staff at the school.

“The children have really grasped the importance of Armistice Day and World War One.

“Teachers have held workshops for the children on what life was like in the trenches and the different aspects of the War, from roles animals played to the impact of the War on women’s lives.”

Today’s assembly saw staff and children observe a two-minute silence.

A new primary school opened in SE16 last week: John Keats Primary School

The school is based in premises on Rotherhithe New Road originally intended for the failed Southwark Free School.

The controversial development was pushed through by then Mayor of London Boris Johnson despite opposition from Southwark Council.

By 2025 the new school will have an estimated 420 pupils and 60 staff.

Open days for admission to the reception class in 2019 start on Thursday 20 September.

Cavendish School – based at Lady Gomm House in Hawkstone Road – has been rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

The independent school was founded in 2000 to provide broad and balanced education for children who have been excluded from mainstream schools, and has been based at its present location since 2005.

Inspectors visited the school in May this year and found that “the school provides its pupils with an
outstanding education.

“Pupils make excellent progress and many experience success for the first time in their school care.”