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Camden New Journal - COMMENT
Published: 5 June 2008
Somers Town – where bad policies are easily buried

NEW Labour, quite rightly, has been accused of rushing through legislation that hasn’t been thought through.
Later, the devil is found in the small print – and by then it is far too late.
A similar charge can be made against the Lib-Dem and Tory leaders at the Town Hall.
An accusation with merit has been made by the borough-wide body of school governors that political ideology alone has effectively driven the Town Hall to close down Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children and move it onto the Somers Town site of Edith Neville.
And that all this has been done too hastily – and too clumsily.
What’s driving the majority group?
The prospect, it seems, of setting up an academy – the school of the future, according to New Labour, who are bent on changing the face of education in Britain with it.
Before the credit crunch hit our economy this may have made sense, commercially at least.
But today, with banks in turmoil, a question mark must be put against the type of school programmed for Swiss Cottage and the Frank Barnes site.
This could leave the council in trouble.
The governors also complain the council has forced the pace with unseemly top-to-bottom pressure in, effectively, a dictatorial manner.
Moreover, the Edith Neville governors are angry that the Frank Barnes school is being dumped on their site by the politicians – again insensitively.
Their criticism is: Anything goes in Somers Town.
There is a ring of truth here.
For decades many people in Somers Town – one of the most deprived parts of the borough – believe their patch has become a dumping ground for projects difficult to place elsewhere, certainly in better-off areas, for fear of public backlash.
Resentment runs deep in Somers Town.
A collage of objections has begun to take shape against placing the new Frank Barnes school in the area – and it may be strong enough to make the council think again.

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