St Philip Neri School: Archdiocese appeals against Lewisham's planning enforcement order

The Archdiocese of Southwark’s appeal against Lewisham’s planning enforcement order is formally announced, after a long delay caused by covid shutdown.

The developer requested a full planning inquiry, lasting 4 days. The date is not yet scheduled, but there is a strict deadline of the 1st September 2020 for any new comments to be submitted. That gives you just over a week.

Lewisham has submitted their documents, and seem to have included redacted public comments submitted in 2019 and 2020. I am unsure if this is comprehensive, so you might want to check your previous comments are shown. To see them, go to the Lewisham planning website, at
Search for case DC/19/111793

If you have new comments to make, you can submit them to the planning inspectorate at

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This build needs to be finished and delays must stop. The children need lovely outside space to play and learn. Windows need to be able to open, especially in Covid-19 times.

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It looks like a movie version of a grim prison. But they probably wouldn’t be able to get away with building a prison that looks like that and has no fresh air, as there would be a greater level of scrutiny in the real world.

But this is Lewisham.

The objectors want to have windows that don’t open… that’s one way to cut off fresh air

Please, that is out of order. The windows issue is a matter of planning law, to avoid exhaust fumes from polluting classrooms. Nothing to do with objections. I think its odd, but it’s the law.

BTW, the approved plans had natural ventilation at roof level, but they built a different structure, hence the problem.

The abusive comments coming at objectors are unfair, incorrect, and don’t reflect well on the supporters’ ethics.

My comments have not been abusive. I just disagree with you. I didn’t call the building a prison. It was this kind of language that I was hoping the debate wouldn’t encourage this time around… What do you mean by ethics? I just want an end to delays, I don’t want more time and money wasted on this. I personally think it’s up to the teacher to decide whether or not windows are opened or closed. I believe they are qualified and sensible enough to decide whether noise from outside will disrupt a class. DfE is advising spaces should be airy and open now due to Covid. Most schools have windows that can open last time I looked.

I keep hearing total falsehoods about objectors, for instance that we don’t want opening windows. Not true. It’s the law, and the Archdiocese knew it from the start.
You said:
“The objectors want to have windows that don’t open… that’s one way to cut off fresh air”
If you read the planning documents, then you know that is untrue. Saying things that are untrue tends to offend.

It is abusive to accuse people of being anti-catholic, or not wanting the school to be there. Totally Untrue, but it keeps being thrown at us. We want the school finished too; the only reason it isn’t is that the Archdiocese are refusing to work within the planning rules.

When has someone accused you of being ant-Catholic on here. I certainly didn’t on any of these threads so I don’t really understand why you are putting about these accusations on a thread that involves the two of us. For what it’s worth I’m an atheist/agnostic somewhere between the two of that exists! I really don’t think religion or beliefs should be brought into this.

Well I didn’t call the school a prison. Nor have I seen anywhere where Julia did.

I did say

It looks like a movie version of a grim prison.

I’m not happy that my first school now looks like this. I’m even more unhappy that it’s been built right on the pavement, where if windows were open there would be high levels of noise and air pollution.

I’m not across all the design and planning issues, but Julia has forensic investigative skills. She knows how to read architect’s plans in a way I don’t and is a very thorough researcher. She examines the detail in a way we all should but few do. i’m glad that she’s been willing do this on our behalf.

Do I think that the school will be rebuilt in accordance with the agreed plans? No, I don’t. Not now anyway. Lewisham has been far too slow and weak. But this isn’t a long term high quality building and at the moment - just on the ventilation alone - I don’t believe it’s fit for purpose.


As this is an emotive topic, can commenters please be extra careful to respond to specific points raised, as opposed to making points about other commenters themselves.

Please also avoid contentious points raised on other forums or topics which aren’t immediately linked to this discussion and the people involved here.


All input here is valued, from both sides of the debate - please, let’s not fall out over it.

Close neighbours of OLSPN school who are interested in getting improvements made, email

We can participate in the Archdiocese’s appeal to the planning inspectorate, and have a say in the outcome.

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Update: The Sydenham Society have just confirmed that they don’t feel able to pay for a barrister, so are relying on Lewisham Council to represent neighbours at the forthcoming planning inquiry.

Frankly, given that Lewisham has spectacularly failed to keep the development under control, I don’t feel terribly confident about their commitment to the task. So much easier to compromise by agreeing minimal changes, and bury their own failures.

Fortunately, I had already applied before the deadline, and have been granted Rule 6 status, to represent neighbours who want a positive outcome for the school development. Rule 6 allows me standing to cross-examine Council and developers on oath.

I have no legal support, but will do my best to put on record the way that Lewisham Council failed all our communities. The development carried on despite Lewisham’s notifications of planning breach, but the council repeatedly failed to act on their own ultimatums. That is why sorting things out is now stressful and disruptive for the school, families, pupils and neighbours alike.

If you are a close neighbour, and want to add yourself to the list of dissatisfied neighbours, email Not just for Fairlawn Park residents; all immediate neighbours of the school are welcome.