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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 21 February 2008
See sense, Frank on promises!

• I am writing to take issue with some of Frank Dobson’s comments regarding a new school in Swiss Cottage (Done your homework? It’s the south that needs a new school, February 14).
I agree that the southern area of Camden needs a new secondary school. I’m pretty sure that nobody would dispute that, however it is somewhat disingenuous of Frank to say that “there is nothing to stop the council having a serious rethink about the right place for a new school”.
As Frank is well aware, though he conveniently forgets to mention it, any new school requires a site.
As Frank is also well aware, the Building Schools for the Future funding does not provide either the money for a new school site to be purchased or a site itself.
Some years ago the then Labour executive member for schools, ex-councillor Lucy Anderson was quoted saying: “We very much recognise that this [a school in the south of Camden] is an important issue. We will be asking the government to be in the earlier rounds of the BSF programme. It is a major issue but there are other parts of the borough where there is a similar pressure.”
Now I don’t expect Frank to have followed this line, after all he has been out of the loop on local political matters for quite a while, but surely not so long as to not recognise Swiss Cottage as an area with considerable needs.
Maybe that’s why he created so much housing there 30 years ago? Maybe as it’s not in his constituency he, like the rest of Camden’s Labour Party, just doesn’t care?
I don’t know the answers to those questions but I do know that in over 30 years of dominance of Camden’s political scene, the Labour Party (and that includes Frank) did not build a new school anywhere in the borough – north or south.
Let’s be sensible Frank. You must recognise that both areas of the borough require an extra school and you must also recognise that given governmental restraints on the use of BSF monies the borough can only build on a site it already owns. Maybe you could ask your buddy Ken Livingstone why he does not spend a very small part of the money he receives from S106 provisions from the big developers in the City on a new school in southern Camden?
Surely this would prove a happier hunting ground for the WhereIsMySchool brigade. Unless, of course, they’ve been turned into a solely anti-Camden Council protest group by the Labour Party.
Cllr Arthur Graves
Liberal Democrat,
Belsize Ward


• OUR MP promises us that the Labour government will not penalise Camden Council if it delays building its proposed new secondary school.
Frank Dobson says he has also been assured that delaying the new school would not affect the £175 million already promised for improvements to Camden’s other schools.
Doesn’t Mr Dobson yet realise that ministerial promises like this have absolutely no value? Look at the pattern: Camden was promised £10 million last December. But in February, as you report in the New Journal (February 14), Camden were told that was all off, and the £10 million to help our neediest areas is no longer available.
Similarly Labour held out the prospect of £283 million to bring Camden council homes up to decent standard four years ago – and they have never yet provided a single penny of it.
Our MP cannot surely expect us voters to be as easily taken in as he is.
Elizabeth Jones, WC1

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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