Thursday, 19 September 2013

NW6 school facts about West End Lane

West End Lane site
These are former offices.  Camden Council owns the freehold of this site and has been in discussion with Travis Perkins since at least 2009, going back to the previous administration, about its future sale.

Travis Perkins previously made an offer for the site but this was rejected and since July 6 July 2013 the site has been marketed for sale as part of the Council’s accommodation strategy.  Funds raised from the sale will go towards meeting the council’s capital programme, specifically the accommodation strategy as agreed by this and the previous Tory-Lib Dem administration..

There isn’t a set  ‘asking price’ as such as it a development site which is subject to a bidding process.

While the building is empty, the Council is meeting the costs of the business rates, security and associated running costs, for example electricity, but we have been discussing the possibility of the building being used for ‘pop-up’ uses while it is empty.

Ultimately the site could be a new development with new employment space and a substantial number of affordable homes.

Can it be turned into a school?
School campaigners are asking the council to 'gift' or sell at low value this public asset to create a secondary school in NW6.

The education department have advised that the site is not appropriate for a primary school and seem sceptical whether it could be converted for a secondary, due to size constraints.

Central government, not the council funds secondary builds, so any bid for a school on this site would have to be funded by Whitehall, and the costs would be very high - up to £30m - so campaigners need to make their case to the Department for Education rather than the council.     

But even if Whitehall didn't fund new secondaries, the council just does not have the funds to create a new secondary as capital budgets for schools have been slashed by the government: the council will not divert funds from school repairs for a school here.  

In any case, an extra school would have to demonstrate real need, rather than preference, otherwise it would destabilise existing schools, and school governors from across Camden have very strong views about this.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for this summary. The NW6 campaign runs with some very misleading statistics and continually blur the line between choice and space.
    Whitefields School, just up the road in Barnet did not fill, nor did the new Crest boys and girls academies bro the west of us in Brent. There is also a new free school opening

    ReplyDelete
  2. ...near Gladstone Park (site still unknown but had the go ahead from Whitehall) in a September 2014. Seems like adding more places is risky. No one wants a school that doesn't fill its places.
    Thank you for continuing to
    set the record straight.

    ReplyDelete