Camden News
Publications by New Journal Enterprises
  Home Archive Competition Jobs Tickets Accommodation Dating Contact us
Camden News - by RICHARD OSLEY
Published: 3 July 2008

Edith Neville pupils hand in boxes containing their views on plans for their school on Tuesday
As pupils protest, plans to share school press ahead

Town Hall advertises for architects just days after ‘consultation’

EDUCATION chiefs have already begun their search for architects to redevelop Edith Neville School – even though plans to transfer another school to share the site have not been agreed and remain the subject of huge controversy.
Opponents to the “co-location” of the primary school in Ossulston Street, Somers Town, and Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children have accused the council of jumping the gun before a final decision has been made.
The New Journal has learned that adverts aimed at recruiting architects for the project will be sent out across Europe on Monday, three weeks before Camden’s cabinet of senior councillors are due to finalise plans.
Campaigners had thought this period would allow them time to put their case for a rethink, but their hopes of changing the council’s mind have now taken a blow and there are fears that advanced work is going on behind the scenes.
Esther Caplin, chairwoman of Edith Neville governors, said: “If this is true, it is quite extraordinary because we are still in a statutory period for consultation and a decision wasn’t due to be made until July 23. It suggests they are not taking the consultation seriously and further shatters the trust we have in the council.”
More than 800 objectors had taken the time to sign a petition or write letters to the council before a deadline for comments on the scheme passed on Tuesday afternoon. Children from the school delivered the feedback to council offices with the familiar chant of “hear our voice” and were clearly under the impression that their views would be given a fair hearing.
Labour resources spokesman Councillor Theo Blackwell said: “This says full steam ahead regardless of their promise to listen made just two weeks ago. Local people must feel that the assurances of Camden’s senior officers and politicians mean nothing.”
Frank Barnes is being evicted from its current site on the corner of Adelaide Road in Swiss Cottage to make way for Camden’s first city academy, a secondary school sponsored by University College London.
Governors at Edith Neville argue that while they respect the work of Frank Barnes, the co-location would harm the education of children at both schools by squeezing them into the same site.
Hundreds of parents, teachers, governors and children marched on the Town Hall last month as part of demonstrations against the plan.
Conservative education chief Councillor Andrew Mennear said yesterday (Wednesday): “It is just an advert that is going out – not an actual appointment for architects. We have to be prepared. We will listen to the views of parents and governors and see what they have to say, but I think the July 23 meeting will be more of a re-confirmation of the plans because most of the decisions have been taken.”

Comment on this article.
(You must supply your full name and email address for your comment to be published)







Theatre Music
Arts & Events Attractions