Mobile traffic enforcement in Brent

From next year, two cars with cameras fixed on top will travel around the Brent concentrating on accident hotspots and school gates where cars are often seen blocking the pathway that children enter by.

Interesting that the Harrow Observer is reporting the Council’s proposals as ‘war on the motorist’. I’m sure that troops and families that have served and been affected by actual wars would resent this choice of terminology.

I served on the Forward Plan Select Committee and had the pleasure of providing effective scrutiny to the forthcoming changes in traffic enforcement.

There has been a lacklustre approach from the police in enforcing traffic laws as they quite rightly have other priorities that they need to concentrate their resources on. I think many would agree that blocking school entrances where many children will be crossing the road to get to school gates is dangerous. It restricts a child’s vision of what they can see when crossing the road if there are cars stopped along the way obstructing their vision. Remember, most children will not be able to see over cars.

I don’t want to see any accidents, and in particular in front of our schools, and any move aimed towards this should be welcomed by all political parties, parents, children and residents.

Once people have attained their full UK driving licence, there are a small minority that show disregard to the highway code. It is important that these people are disincentivised from quite frankly, breaking the law, as in the process, they are endangering law abiding citizens.

Have just been reading Sarah Teather’s take on the Building Schools for the Future Programme in the Willesden and Brent Times….

Whoa whoa whoa… let me get this right… Sarah Teather blames the poor state of our school buildings in Brent on the Labour Party’s Building Schools for the Future Scheme? A scheme that would have provided better school buildings and rapidly expanded the amount of children that we could accommodate in our schools.

Her logic totally defies all notions of the phrase common sense – a scheme that would’ve brought more school places to our children that was scrapped by her Government is to blame for the shortage for school places we face in Brent.

Yes, pure political point scoring from Brent Central MP whilst children in the Borough inevitably suffer. In addition, Teather has announced that there will be a new fund available that schools in Brent will be able to apply for, with an announcement due towards the end of the year. This signals a move back to Labour’s Building Schools for the Future programme. Except naturally, the Coalition Government will just call it something else so that they can take the credit for it as their own scheme.

In the meantime, the scale of the problem in our school buildings is highlighted by a recent incident at the Copland School where a light fell from the ceiling and hit a child. The delay in reverting back to Labour’s BSF programme is inevitably affecting children now.

Labour invests another £80million to modernise schools in Brent

Following extensive lobbying by Brent Labour councillors and local Labour MPs Dawn Butler and Barry Gardiner, the Labour government has agreed to provide an additional £80 million under its ‘Building Schools for the Future’ programme. This means that secondary schools in the borough will be rebuilt or expanded as part of the government’s programme to modernise all secondary schools. Those programmed in the first phase are Alperton, Cardinal Hinsley in Harlesden, Queen’s Park Community School (which is to be expanded) and Copland School in Wembley.

Labour’s Education Spokesperson, Councillor Mary Arnold, said:

“Once again our Labour government has put its money where its mouth is and invested in education. In recent years, the Labour government has given Brent the second highest increase school budgets in the entire country and now they are giving us this huge additional capital investment to improve the fabric of our schools. Before Labour came to power, Brent school students were taught in overcrowded classrooms sometimes with leaking roofs and in some cases in corridors. That situation has massively improved under Labour and this new money gives us the chance to ensure that every Brent child receives a first class education in modern schools with state of the art facilities”.

The ‘Building Schools for the Future’ programme allows for expansion as well as modernisation and Labour fears that the Lib Dem/Tory council may use the money merely to expand schools rather than modernise them. They have so far failed to rebuild primary schools despite receiving the money from the government to do so and their failure to take urgent action when they came to power four years ago has resulted in a critical shortage of school places.

Liberal Democrat Council are failing our Children

The John Kelly Schools on Crest Road opened up last week as a new Crest Academy. Pupils started school following the summer break in their new purple themed uniforms entering what promises to be a new era for the school. However, the opening at the same time has uncovered scandalous failings of the Lib Dem led Brent administration.JKGTC room

In 2005, when Labour had control of the Council, £5 million was put aside specifically for the John Kelly School(s) to purchase extra land adjacent to the building for the purpose of rebuilding the school. The agreement was also in place to purchase the much needed land through what is called a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO). However, the Lib Dems have failed to act on this and follow through the CPO process meaning that the site will now have to be built on the existing inadequate site.

If the extra land was purchased, the new school would be built within two years with creation of a second accessable entrance to the school. Under the Liberal Democrat plans, construction will now take four years to complete. Children of the school will now have to continue to carry on with inadequate recreation, sports and play areas. For sports lessons and sports days, the children will have to travel off-site to use external facilities, costing the school extra money.

At a Council meeting this week, the Labour group this week tried its luck again and according to Kensal Green Councillor James Powney:

Labour made another attempt to get Brent’s Liberal Democrats and Tories to return to their previous policy of a full expansion of the Crest Academies (formerly John Kelly Schools). After a chaotic debate, the Tories and Liberal Democrats voted down our motion to buy more land so that it had greater sports facilities (which Ofsted has identified as the schools’ Achilles heel).

Source: James Powney

The whole saga is just another example of why Brent cannot afford to have the Lib Dems in charge any longer.  Dawn Butler has opened up a petition on the BrentLabour website. To support the campaign, visit the following link: