Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Brent Executive approves Copland land deal and landlord licensing

An unusually garralous Brent Council Executive last night approved the land deal which will see the Copland Community School site and neighouring land handed over to Ark Academy for 125 years. A new secondary school with an additional form of entry will be built away from the High Road (exact position not yet fixed) and nearby Elsley Primary School will double in size.

The Executive set aside issues around development restrictions on the site (although a restrictive covenant caused considerable problems for the Preston Manor expansion) and shrugged off threats of a judicial review from teacher unions.

Jean Roberts, speaking for the tecaher orgabisations, said that they had spoken to local residents in nearby streets who were overwhelmingly against the scheme and concerned about the impact on them as well as rights of way on the school grounds. Local children were playing on the grounds as they spoke to residents who told her that they were starting a petition against the scheme.

Although at pains to stress that this was about a land deal and nothing to do with forced academisation and an Ark takeover of state schools, Executive members nonetheless took the opportunity to attack the former management of the school and the quality of teachers - forgetting perhaps that they had oversight of the school at the time.

The Executive went on to approve an 'Additional'  licensing scheme for landlords in Brent but deferred a decision on 'Selective Licensing' in Wembley Central, Harlesden and Willesden Green.

There will be further consulation over a two month period about what other wards, namely Dudden Hill and Mapesbury, should be included in the Additional Licensing scheme.

The Additional Licensing scheme charge will be set at £550 for the 5 year licensing period. Challenged that this would be passed on to tenants, Muhammed Butt said that landlords would be able to claim it back as part of their business costs.

Margaret McLennan said that the scheme was not about gentrification but bringing private rented properties up to the bare minimum regarding matters like gas safety checks. She said that the scheme would also protect good landlords from bad tenants.

Enforcement will begin in January 2015. The Executive did not discuss the vexed question of potential unintended consequences if landlords evict tenants in order to deal with overcrowding or unsafe premises.


Toby Chambers said...

A traversty there is no public accountability.

As an independent candidate I will be campaigning for Brent to lead a Judicial Review against the IEB decision to handover to Copland to Ark.

A major issue in Brent is equality of access in Brent post 16.

Those not progressing to A levels in Brent are transitioned out of school into FE college and receive statutory minimum of 15-16 hours contact per week.

No consideration from the IEB as to what need priority there is in Brent.

Copland would have been an ideal location for a 6th form, similar to Haringey 6th form. offering a pathway for the most disadvantaged in the community and receive the same as their peers progressing to A levels.

I suggested to Councillor Pavey that he visit Haringey to see for himself what other Boroughs are doing to address this real equality of access issue. Given the decision to hand over Copland to Ark I doubt Councillor Pavey has visited other Boroughs to review their provisions.

Parents who's child is transitioned out of school at 16 are being left behind.

Ark in their plans do not address this equality of access issue.

The number of young people transitioned out of mainstream education at 16 in Brent is alarming. Other Boroughs this does not happen to the same extent.

This is exactly why parents should support a Judicial Review, as the most vulnerable in Brent do not have equal opportunity. Any redevelopment of Copland should have addressed this inequality for the most vulnerable.

Toby Chambers
Sudbury Independent Candidate

Anonymous said...

Muhammed Butt and his shaky grasp of figures again - landlords cannot "claim back" the cost of the fee. They can offset it against their profits so they don't pay tax on a further £550 of their income. Not the same thing at all.

Anonymous said...

Quite soon a more detailed and public light will be shone on the details of Brent Council’s negligence, (if it was nothing more grave), in connection with Davies’s activities at Copland, the links with certain Brent Council ‘players’ at the time and since, Brent’s subsequent hopeless inability to recruit appropriate senior managers for the school and its unwavering perception since 2009 that the Copland teaching staff should be regarded at all times and indiscriminately as ‘the enemy’. When this happens it may become clear that handing over its schools to any outside party, even a corporatised franchise centrally run by a collection of questionable city spivs, is the kindest thing Brent Council has recently done for education in that part of the borough.

Toby Chambers said...

Congestion on Wembley High Rd could be solved with some form of link tunnel constructed underneath the length of Copland land prior to the proposed redevelopment.

Why has not Brent investigated with TFL as the proposed Tower blocks on Copland are going to bring even more congestion to the area.

Wake up Brent planning officers as you are creating more problems than you solve by simply accepting the previous plans for Copland redevelopment.

Traffic Congestion on Wembley High Rd needs to be solved as No 1 priority before building more High Rise.

A tunnel constructed underneath Copland might be the solution.

Get TFL onto this immediately to review such a scheme that was investigated many years ago.

Toby Chambers
Independent 4 Sudbury

Anonymous said...

Toby you don't even live in Brent, why should anyone vote for you to be a councillor here

Toby Chambers said...

A local Sudbury resident for 16 years in Brent and yes while we have recently moved just across the Borough border into Ealing we are still living very much in the locality of Sudbury. Sudbury Town station is still my closest station as it is directly adjacent to Ealing border
Local residents have been extremely supportive of my nomination in Sudbury. As local people are well aware for many years I have been campaigning in Brent for better educational provision for young people with disabilities.

I have a young person with autism attending Woodfield special school in Brent.
I will continue the fight for improved provision in Brent this includes equal education access post 16.

I will also campaign for the 18 bus to continue to Northwick Park hospital rather than terminating at Sudbury Town. This will reduce people visiting Northwick park hospital having to change buses.

I do not see Lib Dem leader Paul Lorber campaign for other local issues apart from the great job he has done in support libraries.

So if I can make a real difference to people's lives in Brent I will continue to do so. People now have a choice between the main parties and someone who can speak out on local issues without being "Whipped"

Anonymous said...

Brilliant idea!

That gets my vote.

I am always in traffic trying to negotiate Wembley High Road.

A link tunnel would be perfect.