Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Preston Manor Primary School Approved

Brent Planning Committee tonight unanimously agreed the application to build a 420 pupil primary school on the Preston High School site despite 81 different objections from residents. To the last there were complaints about lack of consultation, disputed claims about the need for a school in this particular area, concern over the impact on local primary schools, worries about traffic and a general sense that this was a 'done deal' whatever representations were made..

Carmen Coffey, for the children and families department, continued to insist that there was a demand for reception places in the 'immediate area' (in earlier consultations we established she meant by this the HA9 and HAO postal codes!), but later said that only 40 places of the 60 place temporary school at Wembley Christian Centre had been filled.

When Cllr Bobby Thomas asked if the addition of a primary school meant that there would be fewer places at the secondary school for children from other primary schools she did not answer directly, instead she said that children from these schools often went to other secondary schoolssuch as Wembley and Claremont. In fact because children from Primary Manor Primary School will get automatic admission Preston Manor High School does propose to reduce  the places open to other schools by 60 places. She did state that children from the south of the borough would be unable to get into the school if it was over-subscribed.

Cllr McLennan asked about the impact of the housing benefit cap on pupil numbers as families were forced out of the borough. Carmen Coffey said that an assessment was being made but suggested that the families may be replaced by those forced out of inner London boroughs. This raises the question of why rents would be affordable to inner London families on capped housing benefit and not Brent families with the same cap.

The applicant suggested that residents' worries about traffic and parking would be answered by staggering the start and finish of the primary school in consultation with the secondary school and that children arriving by car from the west would be met at Ashley Gardens by a member of staff and escorted to the primary building. She conceded that in the first year because of the backlog of unplaced children there would be a number coming from the south of the borough by car but expected that by 2016 most of the children would be coming from the local area.

The issue of the covenants was raised by Councillor Cummins but he was told that this could not be considered by the Planning Committee and was a 'separate issue'. One that doubtless residents will be following up.

There is also the possibility of an appeal to the Schools Adjudicator when the admissions procedure to the secondary school is published.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

many people said that "why did you have to build it on the preston manor site why not in wembley high school