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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 2nd August 2007
There’s money around to pay for new school

AT last week’s council executive meeting, the Labour opposition strongly supported an “open competition” on the type of school the council opts for after being given £200 million by the government via the Building Schools for the Future programme. 
This approach would mean the final decision would be made by an independent adjudicator who has to give full weighting to the public response to the consultation, not by the current executive.  Sadly, the council executive chose not to take this route and decided the matter for itself.  
The fact that not all of the options the council explored were put to the community means that claims by the Liberal Democrats that they are the “listening council” are now entirely without foundation. They have proved in practice on Camden’s most important consultation ever that once in power they don’t listen.
The clear response of parents and governors at consultation meetings held by the council has supported the idea of a new community school. 
There is also a strong lobby for a faith school and others still are interested in an academy with University College London.
The location of yet another school on the edge of the borough, as the council now proposes in Swiss Cottage, may result in places there being allocated equally to pupils outside the borough, one of the current mischiefs in Camden’s policy which this once-in-a-generation money should be used to remedy.
The site is already occupied by Frank Barnes and two special schools and their respective provision may well be harmed by the new density of provision.
When the leader of the council says that Camden does not have enough money for a school south of Euston Road, he really is pulling the wool over people’s eyes.
In the same meeting, Camden announced it had £14 million from a “surprise” underspend after cutting back services and a massive £30 million in the reserves. On the sly, Town Hall chiefs also rushed through an £11 million project to refurbish their own offices, ironically at a site south of the Euston Road. 
If the council does not have enough money, it is because it is spending its money on other priorities than this.
And what could be more important than ensuring that this extra money for our children, which successive majorities in Camden voted for, is used properly.
Cllr Theo Blackwell
Deputy leader, Camden Labour Group

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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