Potential school site enclosed in the purple line
The Cabinet has been asked to approve a 999 year lease with a pepper corn rent, on part of the former Orient City site on the Edgware Road, as part of a Section 106 agreement with the developer.
The podium site had been ear-marked for a primary free school, designed and built by the DfE, which is now not going ahead. Financial details of the terms of the lease have been exempted from publication.
The proposal is interesting in the light of the Council's search for an alternative site for Islamia Primary and their claim that no alternative site to the Roe Green Strathcona site in Preston ward was available. However, this site is a long way from the present Islamia site in Queens Park and would have similar drawbacks.
It would be interesting to know what alternative proposals Brent Council has in mind for the site.
Officers' report extract:
In June 2013, the Council entered in a Section 106 Agreement (s106) which secured the transfer of land to the Council for two-form of entry (2FE) primary school with nursery provision.
The location of the school and nursery is a concrete podium (~2,700m2) to the north-west corner of the development site, alongside the boundary with Airco Close. The site is inclusive of 39 parking spaces in the basement car park along with access to the site from Airco Close and from within the Morrison’s service yard.
Following on from the planning approval, the initial proposal for the site was to develop the school site for a two-form entry school. Initial plans were to provide a Free School with the Department for Education (DfE) managing the design and build process. The School Podium was completed in 2015 and in accordance with a Technical Specification that has been submitted and approved by the Council
In May 2016, Cabinet approved the leases for Floreat Education Academies Trust (FEAT) in May 2016 to operate the proposed new school at Airco Close and an interim lease at 434 Church Lane, Kingsbury, NW9 9BD until the new school was ready.
However, since then, pupil numbers have decreased and it was confirmed there was no need for a school in this part of the borough, FEAT withdrew from operating a school in the borough and the DfE confirmed they would not be providing a new school building at Airco Close. The project to deliver a primary school on this site was aborted.
The site has remained vacant since completion in 2015 except for being used as a building compound for the residential developments which completed in 2018. The developer has undertaken protective measures as well as recent repairs to the area to ensure it is transferred to the Council in a reasonable and appropriate state.
There is currently no requirement to provide a Primary School in this part of the borough. Within the terms of the lease, the Council has the right to seek the landlord’s consent for other uses and such consent should not be unreasonably withheld.
The estimated costs to cover any security and maintenance of the site and the site’s contribution to the landlord’s service charge share until the site is utilised are £20k per annum and will be covered within the existing projects budget.
It appears that Brent Council has no grasp of where school places are needed.
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