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Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Ealing set to expand a number of schools and an Acton Town consultation

I attended an important council meeting where two important issueswere raised:

The first is that the Council is to increase a number of schools to cover some of the capacity needed due to the recent higher birth rates in Ealing. Even though the area around each school has local issues I spoke to the meeting about the issue of how children currently get to school as well as when there are more parents taking their kids to larger schools.

There needs to be more effort from both the Council, schools and parents to see how more pupils can get to schools without using cars given the current congestion levels around many schools. Liberal Democrats want to see more "walk to school" initiatives and more buses running to serve particular schools.

The second issue affecting all of those in Acton and many areas of Chiswick. This is the Council plan to redevelop Acton Town.

I raised some issues about the need for the council to clarify what it will cover in the consultation that will occur in the next 6 weeks. The Council wants to either sell off the Priory Community Centre for housing or to convert into a primary school (a Liberal Democrat idea). Other parts of the plan are to turn parts of the Town Hall into a gym, cafe, office and community space. The Labour councillor responsible for this (Leader of the council) area seemed not to be too interesting in ensuring that there was a clear aim for the consultation.

Presumably the administration wish to consult the wide set of groups they will but with a biased or a limited set of options for residents or groups who may want to state their views. He did state that the consultation which he conceded should be done also using local websites would allow residents to give their views on all matters howevever they may rule out non planning related comments. We shall look to see. The consultation will last 6 weeks starting in a week or so's time.