Sunday, 13 April 2014

Copland land deal for rebuild and academisation

Ariel view of site. Copland is at the top on the High Road, St Josephs top right at end of  Chatsworth/Waverley and Elsley bottom right at end of Tokyngton
The Brent Executive on April 22nd LINK will discuss a land deal for the Copland Community School site and adjacent lands. Copland is due to become the Ark Elvin academy on September 1st 2014. Government money has been made available for a rebuild which also involves adding another form of entry.   Copland has suffered from an inadequate building for a long time and this has been mentioned in its Ofsted reports.

The previous headteacher Sir Alan Davies and the governing body had plans for redevelopment approved in 2006 which included the 'Copland Village' but these plans were never realised.  The land involved is currently in multi-ownership:

The Council intends to hand the land over to Ark on a 125 year lease and at the same time secure land for the necessary playspace and land for the expansion of Elsley Primary school which will double in size from two forms of entry to four. Current consultation on Elsley's expansion has been halted until the land issue is resolved.

The report states:

Copand Community School is a foundation school and therefore the land and buildings are mainly in the ownership of the school itself, the responsibility for which is vested in the Interim Executive Boards. The IEB has expressed agreement to transfer the freehold of the site which it currently owns to the Council instead, in order for the Council to rationalise the ownership and use of the site overall, ensuring an optimum footprint for the school. The ARK would under these proposals be granted a 125 year lease on the final school site.

 As part of these transactions, the Council would secure enough land from the overall site to facilitate the proposed expansion of Elsley Primary School.

On completion of the freehold transfer the Council will grant the ARK an interim lease agreement to allow occupation of the existing school building until the new building is completed. Following this a 125 year lease arrangement will be granted. The transfer from the IEB needs to happen before the conversion to Academy Status, because the IEB will cease to exist on the conversion date, proposed for 1st September.

The land transaction proposals in the report are dependent on the Secretary of State for Education agreeing to disposal of education land, and specific consent surrounding disposal of school playing fields, this is an absolutely critical point referred to further in section 6 below and the confidential appendix 1.
Section 6 outlines how school playing field disposal has to be approved by the Secretary of State. Because most of the appendices have been declared confidential it is not easy to see just how much of the playing fields will be needed for the new build. There will have to be a statutory  consultation:

Therefore, prior to any disposal or change of use of school land the relevant statutory process will need to be followed. The relevant statutory process that applies will depend upon who owns the said land (for example a governing body of a school, or local authority), and whether the land is playing field land, or non-playing field land. Each process for consent and/or notification has its own specific requirements and complexities.
The scheme would involve commercial development and housing on the present Wembley High road site of the school realising the Wembley Plan's vision of a shopping street from Wembley Central Station to the London Designer Outlet close to Wembley Stadium. The amount of housing and the proportion of it that will be affordable is not stated in the public documentation.

The report says that the new school building  will be behind the present one as envisaged in the plans approved in 2006. (Below) Note the East-West orientation of this plan:


  1. Looks like Brent are working overtime to push through a number of very controversial issues before election on 22 May.

    There are some very interesting documents that show Copland land is common land and does not belong to Copland School but over the years Copland has been claiming it is their land.

    A Judicial Review is required, as this is just another scandal the corrupt Labour mob have been up to. Selling community land on the cheap without any questions asked. Sounds like standard practice in Brent.

  2. Wembley residents don't want more house.

    We want our sports facilities that were promised years ago.

    All we got was a football stadium that you can't even practice in.

    I can't believe the Labour administration want to develop Copland as per the proposal that got Copland into such a mess.

    Ah forgot, the Ark Academy hedge fund financiers will be making all the money on the PPI contract.

    If Labour approve this before the election, you know there is something very smelly when the local people of Wembley never get a say in what they want.

    Say No to Copland sell off

  3. Some of the Copland land is owned by a state school (ie us).. Some of the land is owned by Brent Council (ie us). Davies, Patel and their boys formed a company which would benefit (!) from the 2006 development referred to. Whose land were they planning to 'develop'? Who in Brent Council was aware of their intentions? How many of them are still in positions to influence related matters? What happened to those who no longer are around? Who, other than the Copland Village mob themselves, were complicit in the Copland Village planning? At what point was Brent Council intending to intervene in matters if the Copland teacher unions had not, in their opposition to the Copland management seeking the trust status which would have enabled them to get their hands on what they wanted, done the hard work for them and precipitated the intervention? Who, in Brent Council, would have gained? Who, in Brent Council, had already gained from the beneficence and generosity of Patel?
    To what degree does this explain the attitude of every management group that Brent has drafted in to Copland since the Davies, Patel, Evans activities were brought, thanks to the staff's actions, led by the teacher unions, to the attention of the public and the authorities: that attitude being that the staff are the problem, that the staff, in fact, are the enemy? And it still continues.
    Any answers, Brent Council?

  4. The report mentions that there is a title restriction that would have to be released by the Land Tribunal. It is detailed in an appendix but we are not allowed to see it.

    The report states: The restriction that is currently registered against the CCS title effectively prevents any transfer, disposals or leases being completed in respect of this land, as without a consent from the beneficiary any such transaction could not be registered at the Land Registry.

    1. Reminds me of Kensal Rise library with secret non disclosed documents to try and fool us all.

    2. 1.Do we have any idea what sort of thing this might possibly be, its origins and its possible effects and consequences? Any property lawyers out there?
      2. Would this be the reason that Gove hasn't yet signed the funding agreement for the new school (which therefore doesn't yet exist, doesn't need a new head, new name, new uniform etc etc).

    3. Exactly why we need public enquiry into this whole affair.

      It amazes me how long it takes for the chiefs to realize we are not stupid and we now sniff a very bad smell.

  5. The plot gets even better.

    Behind the scenes Jacqui Griffin ex Director Brent education, it is alleged has been pulling strings. She is now an Academy broker, brokering the backroom deals carving up education.

    It was on her watch a number of deals were possibly done in the early 2000's and she then went from Brent.

    This whole thing stinks of corruption with nobody able to question those in a position to do something and many backroom deals that must have been done, otherwise why silence the critiques all the time.

    People deserve answers.

  6. We must not allow people from the IEB whose main desire is to knighted by the Queen to use Copland as a means to further their own selfish ends. These people are happy to hand Copland over to ARK in order to make a profit. Councillors have the ability to stop this and must do so.

  7. We have consulted our legal team and there is enough public information and support to have a legal challenge.
    We propose to contact local radio, newspapers, communities and your neighbours.

    -it is not true that we can not do nothing abou it. It is our land they are selling. Will you let somebody else sell your house and do nothing about?

    -having expensive buildings and shops will make prrices go up, families will have to migrate, children will have nowhere to play. Are we going to let few people sell and destroy our schools and playgrounds?

    -Shops and expensive buildings are not the answer to local communities in Brent. Community cohesión, open spaces, nature, supported by Good public education is what we need.

    -We know for a fact that politicians and people looking to bennefit financially live near beautiful parks and value their children's playing fields. We have the same right, claim it.

    -We are now in a position to inform voters to open their eyes. Corruption is all in the newspapers. Corruption is mow in our door step. Are we going let it in?

    1. Not This time.

      Enough has been stolen.

      Let the people have a say over Copland instead of backroom deals.

      I am sick of it all.

      You can't even trust Labour to stick up for the people.

      The powers that be wonder why UKIP are gaining ground over all parties.

      People have had enough of all the main parties.

      Their time is up

  8. I agree with the last two comments. whilst i would never vote for UKIP i do agree that many people are turning to them as at least they are different to the three big parties who agree with each other on absolutely every major issue. the only reason why they do sometimes argue with each other is to pretend that there is a democracy. People in Brent should consider legal action over this. How dare they try to sell off land which should belong to the people of Brent. There are public rights of way on this land and they want to concrete over it. What about people who like to go out for a walk and see a little bit of nature. i agree that there time is up. not one councillor is doing anything for the people of Brent. They are all either supporting the millionaires who want to make a quick profit at the expense of the people of Brent or else they are turning a blind eye to the corruption that is going on.

    1. Well Said.

      Pity those in power never listen until elections swings capture the feeling of people.

      Even promises at this stage would seem like bribes to the people to vote them in again.

      Resist the temptation and vote for those who really want to make a difference, not those who back pedal and make backroom deals.

  9. Though in sympathy with a lot of what is written here, I think it makes it easy for those who mismanage our affairs, our land, our heritage and our money if we simply make general complaints about them. There are certain specific questions raised by 2 or 3 of the writers above in the 3rd and 4th comments particularly (and the replies).
    Whose duty, responsibility or function is it to answer those questions? Are they being answered? Why not?

  10. The report is complete Joke !

    Election spin that new school at Copland will be completed by September 2016.

    We can't even agree on who owns the land, let alone the argument over backroom deals for Ark Academy to take over Copland.

    It reminds me of the antics at Kensal Rise library, where FKRL have obviously been told to keep silent and turn the other way while the deal is done and you will get your library back, less 80%, the rest handed over to a developer to profit no questions asked.

  11. Do we really need more homes at Copland ?

    Tonight's Evening Standard states Quintain has secured funding to build 475 more homes by 2016 bringing the total to over 1000. However they still have 4,000 planned to build.

    Surely it might be more sensible to maintain the parkland to the rear of Copland as sporting fields, the youths wanted an athletics track, others want community garden, cycle and walking track etc etc rather than build more and more housing.

    I do not know what time period Quintain promised to build the 5,000 homes, but suggest starting to penalize developers for land banking and trickle feeding homes onto the market to keep prices high, might quickly start more home building by these developers.

    Where will all these new residence go if we do not maintain community open space ?

  12. I am sick of this council siding with rich people instead of thinking of the people who live here. I think we should try to have a legal challenge. The people of Brent were not properly involved in the "consultation". Things are hidden from people so how could they make up their minds in the first place. Does anyone know how to go about a legal challenge? Are there any lawyers who could help?

    1. The legal challenge is best done via Judicial Review.

      I can't quickly find the recent cases that have won on forced Academization, but a number of schools and Local Authorities have recently won on Judicial Review.

      A judge can then review the context as to why Ark Academy is the best provider. A Judicial Review would also allow the community to at least have some say.

      In actual fact there is probably a very good reason for a Judicial Review, purely on this very technical issue of land ownership, that it would seem has not been thoroughly thought through by the IEB.

      As per a previous post of mine on this blog, I am seeking nomination to stand as an Independent in Sudbury Ward.

      One of my election pledges, if elected will seek Brent Local Authority to lead on a Judicial Review of the IEB recommendation that Ark Academy be the preferred academy provider for Copland. Not only is the land issue in question, but the conflict of interest in respect to Baroness Morgan, being both an advisor to Ark and chair of Ofsted (soon to leave) has to be called to account.

      If there is anyone living in the Sudbury Ward who would support my nomination on such an election pledge please email me

      I require a proposer, seconder and 8 other people registered to vote in the Sudbury Ward. Nominations need to be in next week so if people do not come forward and support my application I will not stand.

      Toby Chambers

  13. Yeah Toby we know you want to stand. Why don't you ask your neighbours to nominate you instead of hijacking this blog for your campaign.

  14. Well thankful a number of people have come forward in support.

    People in the community think it is a disgrace what is happening to Copland without any consultation.

    A full Judicial Review is in order and this is what they should get to secure community "Buy In."

    No nonsense politics just doing what people want and deserve.

  15. Are people aware that at the top of Waverley Avenue there is a small cemetery with a couple of hundred burials? The people buried there were moved to that cemetery at the start of the 1900s as a result of the compulsory demolition of the diocesan Pro-Catholic St Mary Moorfields when Broad Street Station was built. Will Brent Councillors promise that these graves will be left alone or, as with Copland School children who sent that petition, will the councillors fail to show any respect for the dead simply because they don't have a vote?

  16. Don't tell the developers, whatever you do. They'll cram them all into a room on the ground floor of the new building and claim that it qualifies as a 'community hub'.

    Seems a shame to move them again anyway if they've just been there since 1900. Only just settled in.

  17. The point is that there are some many people who live locally who have more knowledge of the area than the IEB that has taken over Copland School. There was no proper consultation and local residents must insist on having their say. How many local children use the green area behind Copland as a play area? Have they or their parents been consulted.

    1. Unless we stop this all the green space will be lost forever.

      Replaced with concrete jungle.