PLANS to expand a primary school in Kensal Rise have been halted by the council.
Parents, neighbours and members of the community launched a campaign against the expansion of Princess Frederica CE VA Primary School in Purves Road, Kensal Rise and last night (Monday January 13) Executive members voted against the plans.
A report recommending the expansion had been prepared by Brent Council officers and six members voted against the report.
Lead member for children and families Michael Pavey proposed to halt the council’s school expansion programme and reassess it.
There is no guarantee Princess Frederica’s wouldn’t be expanded under revised plans.
Parents spoke at the meeting and said that during the consultation 93 per cent of respondents were against the proposals to expand the school by an extra 210 pupils.
Rick Smith, of the Kensal Rise Residents’ Association, said at the meeting: “There is a need for good primary school places in Brent, but at this school the pavements are already too small and there will be no cycle storage on site. If this school is to be expanded all these issues must be addressed before a decision is made. There is also a new two-form primary school to be built on the Capital City Academy site.”
Outdoor play space and the time it would take to expand the site were also major concerns.
Construction was due to commence in September 2014 and the school was set to expand incrementally, by 30 places year-on-year, from reception all the way up to year six by 2020.
Muhammed Butt, leader of the council, said: “This is an unusual situation to be in. On the one hand we undoubtedly need extra primary school places but we are committed to listening to the voices of residents and are not prepared to ride roughshod over parents’ concerns. In the face of so many opposing voices, it is our duty to listen and re-think proposals to see if we can accommodate as many people’s views as possible.”
Councillor Michael Pavey, lead member for children and families, voted against the officers’ recommendation and proposed to reconsider the entire primary school expansion programme.
He said: “It is critically important that we provide high quality places. Our school expansion programme has been a huge success but now is the ideal moment to review the strategy. This campaign has shed valuable light on the process, we should now take a step back for the credibility of the programme.”
Lead member for regeneration and major projects George Crane was the only councillor to vote in favour of the expansion.
Councillors Michael Pavey, James Denselow, Muhammed Butt, Krupesh Hirani, Jim Moher and Aslam Choudry voted against the report and Ruth Moher and Margaret McLennan abstained.