Thursday 22 October 2015

Secrecy and murk cloud Ark Elvin planning application

A resident asks on the Brent Planning Portal whether the frontage of the new Ark Elvin school building will be as in the artist's sketch above, which is on the documentation to be considered.

The short answer appears to be 'no' if one refers to the Wembley Area Action Plan:
W5 Copland School and Brent House

(4 hectares)

Mixed use development on the High Road frontage with new / rebuilt school to the rear.

The ground floor on the High Road frontage should be commercial retail development with associated car parking.  Residential development either above or adjacent to the retail should include a high proportion of family housing.

Development of the school to the rear of the site should accommodate, if possible, an additional form of entry on current capacity.

The scale of new development near to Cecil Avenue should respect the adjacent suburban character.

Car parking on the retail site should have shared use for town centre parking. There should be an active retail frontage with servicing off Wembley High Road. Access from Cecil Avenue will be limited to residential access only.
In the event of the school not coming forward as part of a joint scheme, proposals may be brought forward for the Brent House site as a standalone development.
This seems to be yet more misleading information.  The frontage is likely to be occupied by housing and shops. The reason why access  to the building site through the Brent House site (high rise on the High Road, top centre) is that the Council does not want to disrupt the disposal and regeneration of  its property.

Meanwhile it is worth looking back at the discussion atwhat  was then the Brent Executive when the proposals came up for discussion. Muhammed Butt declared an interest as the parent of a child at what was then Copland but soon to be Ark, and not as a governor which he is now.

Jean Roberts, speaking for teachers at Copland and local residents  opposed the land transfer: (Extract from Minutes)
With the consent of the Executive, Jean Roberts representing teachers of Copland Community School and residents, addressed the meeting and spoke against proposals to expand the school on to adjacent land involving a land transfer. She referred to the terms of title deeds, covenants and Rights of Way which could prohibit the scheme and also the intention to grant a 125 year lease on the final school site to ARK Schools (ARK) to whom the school was due to transfer as a sponsored academy on 1 September 2014. Seamus Sheridan also addressed the meeting and expressed concern over the lack of proper consultation over the proposals and restrictions on speaking rights at a public meeting. He stated that children and residents were against the expansion proposals which would result in a loss of land used for play.
Rights of Way was raised at this early stage and although Fiona Alderman has ruled the application can go ahead with the Rights of Way being dealt with separately it is mentioned in the Application.
Demolition of existing buildings on site and erection of replacement building to
accommodate a three storey 9FE secondary school for 1750 pupils (1350 11-16 year
old and 400 post 16) with associated car parking, servicing and circulation space, Multi
Use Games Area, All Weather Pitch, games areas and other hard and soft landscaping,
together with the diversion of Public Right of Way (PROW) No.87
 Public Right of Way to be realigned to border the eastern end of the MUGA and widened to 3.4m (currently it separates the school building from the playing fields)
It seems strange that the POW forms part of the application but cannot be admitted as a material planning consideration.

At the Executive Meeting many reports were withheld from public scrutiny and designated as 'restricted' LINK

Although Wembley Central and Tokyngton ward councillors made no comments at the consultation stage I understand that two Wembley Central councillors are down to speak tonight. Muhammed Butt (sorry that name keeps popping up) is a Tokyngton ward councillor.

Currently the land is on a short-term lease from Brent Council to Ark but on completion of the new build would be handed over to them on a 125 year agreement.


Anonymous said...

I make this prediction now.

This will be what finishes Mo Butt.

Alison Hopkins said...

Hang on a minute. A Planning Committee CANNOT decide to move a PROW.

I quote: this is on the Institute of Public Rights of Way website.

Can a public right of way be changed, and if so how do I go about getting a change made?

If the public right of way is a bridleway or footpath it may be possible to have it diverted under the Highways Act 1980. You will need to meet the legal criteria in the Act. You should approach your local council - district council or county council in a two-tier area - unitary or metropolitan council in other areas and seek advice from the rights of way officer.

If the right of way has to be moved because of development for which planning consent has been given, then the authority which gave the consent is able to make an order under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 - this is a separate process to obtaining planning consent and it is very important to note that the granting of planning consent for development that affects a public right of way does not automatically mean that the affected right of way will be stopped up or diverted to accommodate the development.

If the right of way is subject to public vehicular rights (e.g. it is a byway) you will need to talk to the highway authority about the possibility of an application to the Magistrates' Court. The booklet "A guide to definitive maps and changes to public rights of way" CA142 available free from Natural England on their website at will tell you more about the legislation, the process and the criteria you need to fulfil.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to read that the Council are going to lease the currently owned public land to the school - for how much may we ask?
Why are they trying to mislead us in to thinking we are not going to have another 29 storey tower block on Wembley High Road in a few years when the school has being completed?
Had to laugh at the comment by Chairman Mao sorry Mo that we need to deliver a school for local children when the majority of Ark Elvin Academy's pupils hail from south of the borough, i.e Stonebridge, Neasden, St Raphaels Estate, hardly local as you can tell by how many stand at the bus-stops at 3.30?

Martin Francis said...

They don't get anything for the land - just handed over for the duration. Plus they will spend on fitting out, equipment etc.

Anonymous said...

Secrecy and murk in Cecil Avenue, eh? Never like this in (ex-Sir) Alan's day!

Martin Francis said...

Good job someone has a hold on local history! Now who was on the governing body at the time....?

Anonymous said...

The Copland site is obviously cursed! One of Davies’s more bizarre acts when he was making his plans for the Copland land was to invite ‘representatives of all the local faith groups’ to some weird ceremony in which some kind of foundation stone for the new ‘Copland Village’ (his planned scheme) was laid and duly blessed by the assembled holy men. It was rumoured that various artefacts and possibly a time capsule were buried at the same time. A marquee thing was set up for the occasion and local press invited. It caused much amusement among staff and students and when Davies’s plans went tits up it was suggested that, rather than being placated by the ceremony, one or more of the gods invoked were less than impressed by the whole business and were wreaking a little revenge. What happened to the holy stone and the artefacts I have no idea but it would be worth seeing the photograph of the ceremony if anyone has a copy.
Does Brent vermin control department do exorcisms?

Mike Hine