Must a New School be Built on Green Space?

Brentford Community Council debates the issue


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Brentford Community Council

Monday night saw a packed room upstairs at The Griffin as Brentford Community Council gathered together, primarily to discuss the proposal by Floreat Brentford to locate their school on the Brent Lea Recreation Ground.

A good mixture of over 20 regulars and newcomers listened to James O'Shaugnessy, Managing Director of Floreat explain that after having looked at a number of potential sites for education, LB Hounslow proposed the use of Brent Lea Recreation Ground. LBH last year performed a major site assessment of the borough evaluating different sites for their potential as school locations.

As has been previously reported, the school would take up 1/3 of the site with the remaining 2/3 being for community use, to be developed forMarch 27, 2015 R said that LBH are doing a sporting facilities audit of the borough and what went here would depend on what was wanted, but a mix of outside and inside space was possible.

This potential public use was left very open, with the aspiration that an income revenue would be generated from whatever facilities were on the site. The development of the community/public space could be funded by S106 funding from the school, Sport England and other external grants to be determined.

From the audience which included several residents of Brent Lea came anger that one of the justifications used to allow the recreation ground to be developed (or regenerated) is that it's underused. Maintenance of the ground has been lacking which has contributed to its lack of use, as has a small and unpublicised entrance.

Loss of open metropolitan land has to be approved by more central government (unclear as to who). It would also set a dangerous precedent if vital green land was allowed to be used for schools, as both are needed. The recreation ground is in an Area of Open Space Deficiency, despite its proximity to Syon Park which is private land.

Although the proposed conversion of Brent Lea Recreation Ground to school and leisure facilities is supported by Hounslow Council, it will be decided by the Planning Committee. Two separate applications will be made, the first for temporary accommodation which will be decided post election and then the second for the permanent site.

In the lead in to the planning application there will be public consultation where people can discuss the issues.

There is a dramatic need for additional school places, both primary and secondary, in Brentford let alone Hounslow. But there is also great concern that there is insufficient public green space for the current residents and children to use, let alone sufficient green space for the population growth in the coming years. Can not some other parcel of land, earmarked for residential growth be set aside for education?

The next meetings of the BCC, to which all are invited are a social evening on April 16th at the Griffin, with the next planning meeting combined with an AGM on April 27 upstairs at the Griffin. Please email if you would like to be added to the mailing list for notifications of meetings.

March 27, 2015

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