Campaigning for environmental and social justice in the London Borough of Brent and beyond. Against cuts and privatisation and for real democracy. Managed by Martin Francis of Brent Green Party but open to all who share these aims.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

ARK HITS STORMY WATERS

The London Mayor, Boris Johnson, unexpectedly failed to approve Brent's ARK Academy planning application on Wednesday. On Tuesday a coalition of objectors, including Barn Hill Residents Association, Wembley Park Action Group, Cllr Bob Blackman, Barry Gardiner MP and myself from Brent Green Party, had met with senior planners to explain our objections and stressed the broad opposition that there was to an academy on the Wembley Park site.
In another development the Government Office for London is also considering the application as it represents a departure from the Unitary Development Plan of Brent Council. They have told us that Brent Green Party's views on the matter will be taken into account when a decision on the referral is made.

Meanwhile John Timms, a drainage expert, has called into question the viability of the site on technical grounds because of its water-logged nature, lack of outlet for excess water and the immense and permanent cost of pumping out excess water. There are serious questions about the viability of a building on the site where the proposed academy is becoming known as Christie's Folly after Watkin's Folly (see photograph). Sir Edward Watkin proposed a London 'Eiffel Tower' and began building one on the site of what is now the nearby Wembley Stadium. It was abandoned after only 155 feet and eventually demolished when it began sinking into the London clay.

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