Sunday, 22 October 2017

Sink the Ark! Hendon Town Hall October 25th

From Barnet Parents Defending Education

ARK want the old Barnet football ground at Underhill, for a computer-based learning system which reduces the need for teachers so the academy chain makes savings by staffing cuts and supersize classrooms. 

Blended learning technology was commissioned by venture capitalists in the USA who hope to see ARK trial it in a London school. 

Is this what we want for our young people and staff?
  • Residents are seriously concerned about the narrow, bendy, country roads around Barnet Lane and Mays Lane which become congested as it is.
  • Two large secondary schools opposite each other is unwelcome. The Totteridge Academy is rapidly improving and is linked to the community.

Why sell our Greenbelt? 
  • Barnet Council sold our Greenbelt land, to Tony Kleanthous, of Barnet Football Club for the price of a basic car - 14 years ago.
Government Education Dept. paid Tony £14.2 Million to buy it!

  • Why was public money spent before planning permission was granted and at a time when existing schools are suffering cuts and have had cuts year on year, to their education budgets?

  • Now ARK Pioneer propose to change the roads to two lanes which overall is unlikely to help and costs Millions from the Education budget and Barnet Council will have to pay almost half of the costs. Is this what local residents want? Is this best for our Borough?
Come to Hendon Town Hall on Wed. 25th Oct

The ARK PIONEER planning permission meeting is
on: Wednesday 25th Oct. 2017.
Start:7.00pm. But even 8ish will show you care. All Welcome. 

It is your right to attend and hear what is planned.

They Hoped YOU would not find out that this was coming to the Town Hall on Wed.
Even the local Councillors were only informed a few days ago about Wed. 25th Oct

Show you care about a residents voice and education across the whole borough.
500 responses to the consultation on Ark Pioneer only 35 in support.

Contact: Barnet Parents Defending Education at:

 The Council are proclaiming a need for more school places but this is related to the whole Borough in the future.

There is no need for a new school in Underhill and the seven surrounding Wards.

Over the whole borough, several schools have spare places, including Bishop Douglas and Christ College in Finchley as well as Whitefields and others.
Saracens have land and will shortly open through school in Mill Hill/Colindale area.

The Totteridge Academy last year raised exam results by 20% so that 67% of pupils got 5 A - C grades. But this school needs continued support NOT competition from ARK pioneer.

The Borough of Barnet has 10 academy companies currently. Most are small and some have excellent policies. But Ark are so powerful it will greatly distort and damage current and future relationships between schools and the Council.

Let us know if you want info regarding how ARK plough extra private funding currently into some of their Ark schools to raise exam results. Additionally exclusions are higher than usual in Ark schools. 

But Ark Pioneer is not related to extra private funds but starts a trend towards fewer teachers and the disruption of classroom structure..

Surely, Barnet would  be better off without an 11th Academy Company.

STOP THE HDV: High Court, Oct 25/26 Public vs privatisers of public property

From Stop HDV

The Judicial Review on the Haringey Development Vehicle takes place in the High Court , Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London WC2A 2LL on 25 and 26 October, we hope supporters can come and join us in demonstrating support from 9 to 10 am particularly on the first day 25 October.

There will also be some public seating from 10 am.

The challenge is to Haringey Council setting up a supposedly 50/50 partnership with the Australian multi-national corporation, Lendlease, to take over land and property belonging to the Council, involving demolition and regeneration of estates as well as business premises and private houses in 'red-lined areas’. If it goes ahead it will be the biggest such transfer of local authority resources to a private entity in UK history. Lendlease have now joined Haringey as a defendant of the HDV in court.
 And all this
 without consulting the public on the HDV
  • or taking it to a full Council meeting
  • or sharing any of the financial risks to the public purse and assessment of viability
  • or considering the consequences for the very diverse population and for vulnerable people through equalities impact
  • or due consideration of partnership or company status.
Just ten years after the sell off of Alexandra Palace in Haringey was averted in court, with David Wolfe, QC acting for the claimants in that case, he will lead the legal team in court on 25 October in the attempt to stop the HDV.

None of this would have been possible without the amazing support from the several hundred people who have contributed through our crowdfunding to raise £25,000. £20,000 of this is required for our community cap on any awards which will be requested of the judge. The solicitors for the case, Leigh Day, and the barristers have put a great deal of work in to it, and as a result We are now asking for another £5,000 to make up the fees and costs accruing.

We hope you will make another donation, small or large, if you possibly can. You can donate to the crowdfunder at

This case has implications for the future of social housing in London and beyond, and at a time of acute crisis in that and the need for alternatives to corporate control of housing, for the creation of a fairer system and an end to decanting poorer people, it could be a landmark in helping local authorities change course.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Rally Against School Cuts October 24th

From the National Education Union

Join parents, heads, teachers and support staff and community leaders at a rally to call on the government to reverse school cuts and fairly fund schools. Show your support for the mass lobby of MPs which has been organised to put pressure on the chancellor to take action on funding ahead of next month's budget. The rally starts at 10.30 but if you simply want to show your support at the rally, there will be further events at 12.30.

The Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3DW 

At the morning rally we have the following speakers:
- Angela Rayner MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Education
- Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Education
- Vix Lowthion, Green Party Education Spokesperson
- Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary, National Education
- Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary, National Education Union
- Paul Whiteman, General Secretary, NAHT

At 1pm, the programme of speakers will include:
- John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
- Sir Vince Cable MP
- Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary, National Education
- Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary, National Education Union
- Paul Whiteman, General Secretary, NAHT
- Vix Lowthion, Green Party Education Spokesperson
More TBC

Because of shortfalls in funding, 88% of schools are still facing real-terms cuts despite Government announcements about more money going into the system.

That means less for our children and young people, bigger classes, fewer teachers and staff, a reduced curriculum and parents plugging the gaps.

Hundreds of parents and school staff will be lobbying their MP on the day. To find out how, see

Friday, 20 October 2017

Moth & Bat Night at Welsh Harp October 26th 6.30pm-8.30pm

Booking essential as numbers limited: or

WAKE UP CALL: Nearly half of Londoners worried about city's dangerous air pollution

From the British Heart Foundation

Londoners welcome T-Charge, as BHF warns of dangers of air pollution for capital’s heart health

Nearly half (45%) of Londoners are worried about living in the city due to dangerous levels of air pollution, according to a new poll from the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

The statistics reveal that 81% of Londoners believe the current air pollution levels are putting their health at risk and over a third are put off running (37%) or cycling (38%) in the city because of the potentially deadly air.

The BHF is today highlighting the need for bold action to clean up London’s air, as estimates show that globally, 80 per cent of all premature deaths from air pollution are caused by heart and circulatory disease.

Research shows that both long-term and short-term exposure to air pollution can make existing heart conditions worse and can increase the risk of a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke amongst vulnerable groups.

The poll also found:
• 94% of people in the capital think cleaning up London’s current level of air pollution is important
• Nearly a third (28%) of Londoners don’t want to sit outside in the city
• One in five (19%) Londoners are put off shopping on London High Streets because of air pollution
• 17% of Londoners are put off visiting local parks
• And 12% said the pollution puts them off visiting London’s iconic landmarks

On Monday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan introduces a new daily Toxicity charge or ‘T-charge’ in central London in order to reduce dangerous fumes from polluting vehicles and make London’s air safer.

The air pollution in London has breached legal limits for years and it’s estimated that in 2010 there were nearly 9,500 deaths across London associated with air pollution exposure3, many of which would have been caused by heart and circulatory conditions.

The charge will affect vehicles every week day that don’t meet the minimum exhaust emission standard, or were registered pre-2006.

The BHF’s poll found that over 70% of Londoners support the daily charge of £10 which will operate on top of, and during the same times, as the congestion charge.

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation, said:
“Dangerous levels of air pollution in London are putting the heart health of the general public - particularly those with heart disease - at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke.
“We urgently need to protect Londoners from inhaling deadly air – particularly from small particles in diesel fumes, which our research shows increase the risk of a potentially deadly cardiac event. 
“It’s extremely concerning that London’s toxic air could now force people to consider relocating, or avoid being outside.
“This is a wakeup call to how concerned the people of London are about the air they breathe. The Mayor’s toxicity charge is a step in the right direction, and we look forward to the introduction of a full Ultra Low Emissions Zone in 2019 which will help to further clean up London’s air.” 
Air pollution contributes to around 40,000 premature deaths in the UK each year, many of which are from heart attack and stroke.

BHF researchers have found that tiny particles in diesel and petrol fumes can damage our heart and circulatory systems.

These particles stop blood vessels relaxing and contracting, which increases the risk of clots, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. However, worryingly nearly half (44%) of Londoners are unaware of the danger air pollution poses to the heart.

The BHF is committed to working with the Government to ensure that the most effective measures to clean up the UK’s toxic air are implemented.

Find out how the BHF is fighting back against heart disease at

Hampstead & Kilburn CLP 'outraged' over expulsion of Moshe Machover

Hampstead and Kilburn Constituency Labour Party have strongly backed demands for the reinstatement of Moshe Machover who was expelled from the party for alleged anti-semitism and support for another party.

Hampstead & Kilburn CLP  passed  the motion below overwhelmingly on October 18th: 58 for, none against and 8 abstentions.
The motion is to be sent to the leader of the Labour Party, the National Executive Committee (individually), the National Constitutional Committee (individually), the Head of Disputes and Professor Machover.
This CLP is outraged that:
·         Professor Emeritus Moshe Machover has been expelled from the Party.  Professor Machover is Jewish and Israeli, the distinguished co-founder of Matzpen, the socialist organisation which from the 60s to the 80s brought together Arab and Jewish opposition to the illegal occupation of Palestine;
·         the Head of Disputes has accused Prof Machover of writing an “apparently antisemitic article” according to the new IHRA definition, and further accused him of “membership or support for another political party, or a political organisation with incompatible aims to the Labour Party”.
This CLP notes that:
·         The Chakrabarti Inquiry found that the party’s “. . . complaints and disciplinary procedures . . . lacked sufficient transparency, uniformity and expertise . . .” and called for “the vital legal principles of due process (or natural justice) and proportionality”.
·         The IHRA definition is being monitored by Camden Council to ensure that it is not used to stifle free expression and criticism of Israeli policies.
·         Prof Machover who denies the accusations, has not been given the opportunity to challenge neither the accusation of antisemitism nor his alleged support for another party or organisation.
·         This expulsion is a frightening precedent in a party which is working to be more democratic and called for, in the words of its leader Jeremy Corbyn, ‘support to end the oppression of the Palestinian people, the 50-year occupation and the illegal settlement expansion’.
This CLP therefore calls for:
·         Prof Machover’s expulsion to be immediately rescinded; the letter informing him of his expulsion to be immediately rescinded; and for any allegations against him to be investigated in accordance with due process to take place so that he is given the opportunity to challenge the claims of the Head of Disputes.
·         And further calls on the Labour party to protect the right of members to contribute to the political debate across numerous platforms, without expressing support for other political parties or views contrary to the values of the Labour party.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Barnet campaigners against new school on Green Belt land urge attendance at October 25th Planning Committee

Opponents of plans to build an Ark secondary school on Green Belt land in Barnet are urging residents to attend the Planning Committee on October 25th at the Town Hall.

The item appears to have been added late to the meeting agenda and of course occurs during the Autum half-term holiday which may affect attendance.

The plans are now for a secondary rather than an all-through school and officers are recommending approval. If approved it will be subject to Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London and the Secretary of State.

The conclusion to their report LINK states:

.        17.1 The application seeks permission the comprehensive redevelopment of the site to provide a new 6FE secondary school, accommodating up to 1200 pupils. It is acknowledged that the development represents ‘inappropriate development’ on green belt land and as such is only justified if very special circumstances exist.

.        17.2  Recent appeal decisions from the planning inspectorate have accepted the need for school places can be a very special circumstance which could justify inappropriate development on green belt land. In this case, officers consider that there is an overwhelming and demonstrable need for secondary school places within the borough which is clearly demonstrated within the school places data within this report. The Council’s Education Department have been unequivocal in outlining this need and it is clear that the need for secondary school places is especially pertinent given that it results from an exceptional increase in primary school intake and thus those additional children that will need the secondary school places are already in the school system.

.        17.3  It is important to note that even if the nearby Totteridge Academy were brought up to full capacity then there would still be an overwhelming need for the secondary school places which this development would deliver. In planning terms, further expansion of TTA would not be sequentially preferable to the current proposals given that such development would entail further green belt encroachment as opposed to the current scheme which represents previously developed land.

.        17.4  The special circumstances are reinforced by the lack of alternative sites that are available to facilitate development that could meet the identified need. The sequential assessment carried out in support of the application is considered to be robust and clearly demonstrates that all other sites of an appropriate size are unavailable, unsuitable or unviable with regards to providing a secondary school that would meet the identified need.

.        17.4  The development would not have an unacceptably detrimental impact on the openness of the green belt which is demonstrated by the visual impact assessment submitted by the applicant. The scale and height of the development steps down to integrate with the surrounding development and in this regard it is considered that it would not be visually incongruous within its context.

.        17.5  Subject to conditions, the development would not have an unacceptable impact on the amenity of the surrounding residential occupiers in terms of daylight, sunlight, overshadowing, privacy, outlook or noise.

.        17.6  One of the primary concerns arising from the consultation exercise was the potential for the development to have a detrimental impact on surrounding highway conditions in terms of traffic congestion, traffic safety and parking. In order to mitigate the impact of the development on the surrounding highways, the junctions of the A1000/Underhill and Underhill/Barnet Lane would be remodelled to ease traffic flow. A new right turn lane would be installed at the Underhill/Barnet Lane junction whilst comprehensive remodelling of the A1000/Underhill would allow for two lanes of traffic to travel in each direction which would significantly ease existing capacity problems. The S106 would require a contribution from the applicant towards the cost of the junction works which is commensurate with the level of impact that would arise from the development. The outstanding costs of the junction works would be met by the Council. The junction works would be implemented prior to the occupation of the development. On this basis, it is clear that the proposed highway improvement works would address both existing traffic congestion and the additional traffic impact that would arise from the development. Officers are therefore clearly of the view that there should be no grounds for refusal of the application on highway grounds.

.        17.7  in terms of parking, a parking survey was submitted as part of the Transport Assessment which assessed the projected impact of the development with regards to parking stress on the surrounding streets. Based on the projected modal split, the parking survey demonstrates that there is adequate existing capacity to accommodate any overspill parking not accommodated for within the on-site car park. Nevertheless, the applicant is committed to enter into a School Travel Plan as part of the S106 which would commit them to meeting car use targets. Should these targets not be met then a further parking review would be triggered which may necessitate a CPZ review which would mitigate any additional impact which may arise.

.        17.8  Officers consider that the planning obligations sought through the S106 Agreement would mitigate the impacts of development where necessary.

.        17.9  Having regard to all of the above and making a balanced recommendation, officers consider that the development is acceptable and as such approval of the application is recommended.


19.0 Recommendation: To approve application ref: 17/4840/FUL subject to the conditions and planning obligations outlined and subject to referral to the Mayor of London and the Secretary of State.

Elizabeth House residents told to Evacuate rather than Stay Put in the event of fire

Octavia Housing have updated residents in Elizabeth House, Wembley, on fire precautions at their building.

The most important change, especially in the light of Grenfell, is that they should evacuate in the event of a fire rather than stay put:

On Wednesday 11 October the Fire Brigade visited the building because they have recently reviewed their national approach to buildings that have Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding.
They asked for an updated Fire Risk Assessment in light of their new guidance and we are in the process of collecting the information they now need but in the meantime, as a short term measure, the fire evacuation policy has been changed.
In the event of a fire, residents should leave the building immediately. This is a change from the Stay Put policy that was in place.
While we have been told that this may only be a temporary change, we have visited Elizabeth House to speak to residents and you will have seen letters and posters informing you about this change. We have also increased the numbers of 24/7 fire watch wardens in place. The cost of these additional measures will not be passed on to residents. We are also looking at longer term solutions which may include increased CCTV.
We want to reassure you that we will continue to act upon all advice from the London Fire Brigade or our experts and we will keep you informed.
An approach to replacing the cladding has been agreed with the contractor.
The replacement system needs to be tested in full by the Building Research Establishment (who have been responsible for doing the testing of cladding that has been going on all over the UK over the last few months) before we can start the job of replacing cladding over all the building.
There are a lot of buildings that are affected all over the UK and so there is a wait for tests but in the meantime, we can start a small pilot project to replace cladding at ground floor level and on the communal terraces situated on the ground, 2nd and 10th floors. This will speed up the process for works on the rest of the building when we get the necessary approvals.
Preparation work will be happening from October 2017 to do further tests. We plan to start pilot works in January 2018 and we expect that the rest of the works will start in May/June 2018. These dates may change depending on how quickly the required tests can be done.
Following advice received from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) we need to visit every property in Elizabeth House and carry out an inspection. This will enable us to:
   Check resident’s’ ability to evacuate the building independently so that we can inform the Fire Brigade if anyone will need extra assistance.
   Check balconies and flat entrance doors to ensure they are safe and free from fire hazards and flammable materials
   Ensure all residents know how to check their smoke and heat alarms
These visits will begin the week commencing 16 October and will take between 15-30 minutes. If you would like us to visit you at a particular time, please let us know by emailing or calling our Customer Contact Team on 020 8354 5500. In order to manage the visits, please let us know by 5pm on Friday 20 October. It is vital that we are able to gain access to your property to carry out these important checks. If you are not at home when we visit and would prefer to arrange a convenient time for us to visit again, please contact our Customer Contact Team on 020 8354 5500 or