Tuesday 20 January 2015

Ark Academy plan 6th Form building on Repton remnant

Bird's eye view of the area 
Rectangle marks the new building and red the trees to be removed (black dash is a tree protection boundary)
Ark Academy, Wembley, is applying for planning permission to build a Sixth Building on a site at the corner of Bridge Road and Forty Lane, that was retained when the original planning permission was given for the new school.

The site is thought to retain a rare portion of some of Repton's original landscape planting for the Page family at Wembley Park in the 1790s.  LINK

As well as the heritage argument campaigners also argued that this was a potential habitat for bats, hedgehogs and other animals as well as a patch of green in an area rapidly being concretised.

The Planning Application argues that most of the trees to be removed are due to their condition, rather than to make way for the building and that removal has been kept to the minimum. Some moving and replanting  of trees is proposed as well as new planting.

The application contains all sorts of ideas about the educational use of the protected area of trees and shrubs that will be left. However,  as someone who lives nearby and walks past almost daily, I have never seen it being used by pupils since the school opened in 2008 and the woodland looks quite neglected, with tin cans that have been tossed over the fence tangled in the undergrowth.

Habitat preservation and enhancement would be welcome but that should have been done anyway,

Preston Manor School is also seeking new build in order to expand its Sixth Form. The two schools are in competition with Preston Manor following the Ark by building a primary school on site and thus becoming an all-through school. It also converted to academy status. Ark plans to open its Sixth Form in September 2015 and is currently recruiting students.

The full plans can be seen HERE  The application will be decided no earlier than February 10th. Planning Officer  victoria.mcdonagh@brent.gov.uk


Anonymous said...

How about no?

Anonymous said...

Which ward is this in?

Martin Francis said...


Anonymous said...

Do Brent planners have no regard for greenery, trees and wildlife? How many of the Brent planners actually live near the academy How many of them actually walk past the Academy on their route to work?

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that Ark neglected it, filled it up with tin cans and allowed trees to ruin in order to reduce objections?

Anonymous said...

Following the historical information link makes you realise how beautiful Wembley Park used to be and how dreadful planners in Brent have long been. Such a shame so much of the park land was destroyed to be replaced by ugly buildings.

Anonymous said...

Really?? Would they stoop that low?

Anonymous said...

How about money and greenery is saved at least for a few more years and Ark can accomodate the 6th form across the road on a few floors of Michaela school until it reaches capacity.

Now that would be progress!

A much larger 6th form could then be easily built on Quntain land.

Now that would be a more sensible proposal than destroying a nice bit of greenery.

Other neighbouring boroughs seem to manage to retain their greenery.

Anonymous said...

It's a profit making "charity" on a mission to hoover up as much land and assets as they can whilst the sun is still shining for them. They would stoop that low.

Jaine Lunn said...

What a travesty. It's a shame that no-one, or group of people, developer or anyone from Ark Academy would be forward thinking enough to view this land as important and precious to the school to retain. Why not use it as their own Nature Reserve to be used as part of curriculum based teaching, learning on bio-diversity, the preservation of natural habitats for indigenous species, climate change, etc etc. The importance of respecting nature that they too have a right to exist alongside us, and the need to preserve these little gems of green space for future generations.

Why not embrace this land as school garden for growing herbs and plants and flowers, a small pond which would provide a habitat for frogs, dragonflies sticklebacks etc. Perhaps Chickens, a Goat, Rabbits . Keep all the Trees whether healthy or diseased as nesting for Birds and studying the surrounding environment 's impact on nature.

As someone who went to a school which had all of the above, my Biology lessons were something I looked forward to instead of being stuck in a classroom watching a slide show or a BBC documentary on the TV, Springwatch , we would go outside with our books, camera's, and Jam jars to study and observe nature at its best, building nests, raising their young, right on our doorstep. Irrespective of the weather.

In order to respect Nature you have to be amongst it, many young people today live in concrete jungles with few trees, with little or no landscaping, not being allowed to keep Pets of any description, not even little furry things that inhabit cages or tanks, for all sorts of reasons.

I urge all involved with taking Ark Academy Wembley into the future to rally the troops, students and residents alike and put a halt to this now and create something new, innovative and diverse for the enjoyment of animals and humans.

Anonymous said...

When they promote the Greener, Cleaner, Healthier Brent, they are just shooting a breeze and blowing smoke up everyones behind. Paying lip-service to the natives by pretending to consult us on what they think we want to hear, and take no action whatsoever to rectify or resolve issues that are highlighted. Come on get real, as you say many do not live in the area and are just going to work they don't care it doesn't affect them. It's all about ££££s.

Martin Francis said...

The Ark's planning application does include proposals for the natural area that will be left after the new building is built (see the Bird's Eye views above to assess what will be left).

Here is an extract:(forgive any formatting errors - it is difficult to copy and paste from a PDF to WM):

The school would assume the ongoing maintenance responsibilities for
the natural habitat area and the education value and potential
of the area will form an integral element of the school curriculum to ensure that the maximum benefit is derived from this resource. This would be achieved in the following ways:
Primary School

The primary school would use the area for bird and animal ‘hunts’,
willow art (in conjunction with the secondary school) and as a ‘forestry
school’ working in conjunction with the Forestry Commission.
Secondary School

The secondary school would use the area for the following activities

Ark Alive@ is an enrichment programme that already takes
place after school this involves amongst other things nature trails;

Year 7 pupils would use quadrants to sample the different types of vegetation in the area and to calculate percentage coverage;

The area would be used for Year 9 pupils to show the different adaptations that plants have made to compete for resources;

For GCSE science and A level Biology (which begins in 2015), particularly in looking at classification in relation to trees and insects;

For A level Biology
many uses including investigating biotic and abiotic factors that affect organism life such as lichen on trees and stones/rocks;

Using the area to collect a whole range of bio
environmental data soil composition, pH and oxygen levels;

In Geography the area can be used to study flooding in the water cycle, through measuring infiltration rates;

For studying the small scale ecosystem and microclimates of the area and comparing with other locations.

Anonymous said...

Ark seem to have shot themselves in the foot in concocting this list. If the land which remains after concreting the rest over will afford these opportunities then how much greater would they be provided by using the present larger site?
Looks like lipstick on a pig to me. And the lipstick looks like it's resulted from an order being issued to relevant Ark HoDs (which they don't have any more) to come up with 'a hundred and one curriculum uses for any plot of land anywhere'.
Reminds me of the laughs we used to have when English teachers were told that the national curriculum now demanded that all English schemes of work had to include elements of numeracy: 'How many ways do I love thee? Let me count the ways' etc.

As ever in these matters, the smell of bullshit permeates.

Jaine Lunn said...

Actions Speak Louder than Words, anyone can propose anything. Whats stopping them using it now! why not start now before spring and show that you mean business that way people would have more faith that the school are serious about retaining the natural green space as a nature reserve, study area, which is exempt from the application.

Anonymous said...

to be fair we don't really know each and every one of them. however, some of the recent planning applications on Wembley Matters do not shine a positive light. they are actaully quite alarming on the one hand and could be classed as progress on the other.

Anonymous said...

Which ward councillors should we lobby about this?

Martin Francis said...

It is in Barnhill ward and the councillors are Choudhary, Marquis and Pavey http://democracy.brent.gov.uk/mgFindMember.aspx?XXR=0&AC=WARD&WS=00AEGK&FM=0