Hounslow Green Party

Local residents express anger and disappointment on Council decision to allow building on a public park

9 June 2015

Residents fighting to protect Brent Lea recreation ground in Brentford were shocked and disappointed by the decision of Hounslow's Labour controlled council to give the go-ahead to build a new Free School in this small public park. Whilst recognising the need for schools in Brentford, the SOR Campaign (Save Our Rec) and Hounslow Green Party strongly object to the loss of public open space, which should be guarded zealously by our elected representatives.

Our Councillors should regard themselves as the custodians and trustees of these irreplaceable assets providing greenery, fresh air, flora, fauna, wildlife and of course areas for sport, recreation, dog walking and more healthy lifestyles.

Local resident, Barbara Lawrence said: “I wouldn't argue against the need for more school places, but the council is wrong to allow a school to be built on the recreation ground. It's Metropolitan Open Land so in law it has the same status as Green Belt Land. Giving temporary planning consent on Brent Lea makes it much easier for an applicant to build permanently here and much easier for applications on any other green belt sites in Hounslow to succeed. It's the thin end of the wedge. These green spaces are irreplaceable community assets, they are under huge pressure and the council should be doing everything it can to protect them.

Joanna Russell of Brentford Chamber of Commerce said: "With no onsite parking, Hounslow Council’s transport officer said that 40 spaces had been located as suitable. At the planning meeting when he was asked where they were, he could not answer". It has now emerged that this school proposal has been discussed behind the scenes for over two years and so local resident Katherine Kaufman asks: "Why did the Council not investigate their own empty former Acton Lodge site as a suitable temporary home for this school? At the Planning Committee officers admitted Acton Lodge had been overlooked and it was now too late for it to go through the planning process for a September opening".

Diane Scott from Hounslow Green Party comments: “This Labour Council is wasting taxpayers money by allowing huge residential developments without providing for our area’s schooling needs. If council plans had included the provision of a school on privately owned development sites then the developer would have paid less for the land and our children and residents would still enjoy full access to the rec. The campaign to reverse this decision now has to start, any construction on the Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Space has to be reviewed and approved by the Mayor of London and the Department for Communities and Local Government. So City Hall here we come!

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