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Feb 10 2014

Independent Labour Group: Lessons to be learned from Hindu Schools

ilg_roseThe potential of having a Hindu School in Harrow is a good sign but there are critical legal issues to be resolved. There is also need for assessment about traffic impact and community impact.

The Hindu community has, I believe, been treated very unfairly in Harrow thus far. Having trained as a Nurse at Northwick Park and whilst working at a local private hospital, I remember the vitriolic commentary faced by Hindus when the Swaminarayan temple was proposed to be built on land next to Northwick Park Hospital. I believe all the local politicians were against the proposal and now the world renowned temple is an iconic London landscape in Neasden when it could have been in the vicinity of Harrow.

The other lost opportunity was when the now Krishna Avanti Trust wished to build their School in Pinner Park Farm, once again Harrow Tory politicians probably with the help of Labour politicians did not appear to make enough effort to enable this provision. I often wonder why it is not possible to build a new school in one part of Harrow but the school was built in the heart of a residential area where there was no hope of expansion? Double standards?

The site of the proposed Hindu free school is actually on sports ground on which there is a covenant and on which the Council chose Whitchurch Consortium to provide a new pavilion & sports facilities after a legal tender process. I can’t help worrying whether suggesting that a school is built on land on which a covenant exists and on which the Council already has legal obligations through a tender is not simply raising false hopes for the Hindu Community. I hope Harrow will make a serious offer of possible premises for the Free School.

If Harrow political leadership had long term vision the Borough would probably fare better.

Can Harrow’s political leadership learn lessons from the Jewish Free School in Kingsbury and how they worked with the Community before the school was built?

Councillor Krishna James

Chair – Independent Labour Group

Independent Labour Group Candidate – Kenton East

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2 comments

  1. Ms

    Krisna

    Your post is a joke. Firstly, under your Leader’s direction the Whitchurch Fields were put out to tender when they were classified as Education Land and that requires permission from the Department of Education BEFORE anything is put out to tender. In fact, the DoE requires a public consultation as part of the process of them making that decision. The public “consultation” (some might call it making it up as they went along) the Whitchurch Consortium did does not count.

    The fact that Council officials did not seek permission from the DoE and proceeded to tender stage is an outrage and there should be an inquiry into this (Susan Hall, WHY HAVE YOU NOT DONE THIS?)

    There are no legal obligations when it comes to tender, when the tender is illegal and invalid. You cannot give away (99 year lease with NO rent paid) land, when a higher authority (DoE) has jurisdiction over it.

    Some might say, not I obviously but some, that there is something that stinks to high heaven about Independent Labour’s devotion to the Consortium.

    Ironic really, when your great Leader expressed his concerns about the Consortium (see below) that Independent Labour prefer a banqueting facility masquerading as a sports development to a School. Wow, I’m smelling something stinking here.

    ‘I was not impressed with the Whitchurch Consortium’s presentation and, in fairness, the Consortium’s representatives have told me that they did not manage the consultation event in an effective or appropriate way.’

    http://www.iharrow.com/council/whitchurch-fields-what-consultation/

    The link to refresh your memory.

    Don’t complain about how the Community is treated and then try to squash it having this resource. When you are actually properly informed about a situation, maybe then you can comment on it. Otherwise, stick to Kenton East.

    A very angry Belmont Ward resident

  2. Melanie

    Councillor James raises some interesting and valid points about the treatment of the Hindu community and their desire for a secondary school. However, may I point out that the sentence; “the Council chosen Whitchurch Consortium to provide a new pavilion & sports facilities after a legal tender process”, is not entirely accurate. We have no idea how the Council came to choose the Consortium. It can’t be due to their excellent reputation in the business world. I can only think that the other bidders were Typhoid Mary or the Grim Reaper. However, more importantly, the covenant on the land states that it must be kept for the people of Harrow to enjoy “informal sports and pastimes”. Finally, the Council had no business tendering the land at all. Section 77 of the disposal of education land insists that permission is sought from the Secretary of State for Education BEFORE land is tendered, especially if there is a school within half a mile of said land. Once again, it appears that residents know more than Councillors about the legislation and laws, which is why the whole issue became and remains, highly emotive. However, as the Deputy Leader, Councillor Barry Macleod-Cullinane, promised on numerous occasions to register the land as a village green when the Conservatives were in power and, in order to reinforce his promise, he gave evidence at the village green inquiry, then I am concerned that the Hindu community is being made false promises. We are waiting for confirmation that the Consortium have moved on, but their website still states that they are developing Whitchurch Playing Fields. May I be so bold as to suggest that Councillor James dig a little deeper. Belmont residents have been treated disgracefully by their Ward Councillor, BARRY MACLEOD-CULLINANE. I hope you have more success in supporting your community than I did in trying to support mine.

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