Solve these issues for a successful school

I write regarding the Quintin Kynaston School redevelopment, or as it is called in Westminster City council-speak, the Marlborough Hill Campus. Recently I went to the St John s Wood ward forum, which was the best attended I d ever been to, because clearly

I write regarding the Quintin Kynaston School redevelopment, or as it is called in Westminster City council-speak, the Marlborough Hill Campus. Recently I went to the St John's Wood ward forum, which was the best attended I'd ever been to, because clearly local people are very unhappy about the development of the school.

Or more precisely, they're unhappy about the lack of consultation on the proposed development.

Or even more precisely, they're unhappy that there have been consultations, but they feel no-one's taken any notice of what they've been saying at these consultations.

I think this is a common problem in Westminster - there are ward forums and consultations but nothing much changes or happens as a result of them.

The spending of our local ward budget was a case in point - the Tory councillors asked us all for ideas which they took no notice of and then they spent the money as they wanted to - security doors for CityWest housing.

The security doors were needed but shouldn't it have been CityWest who were forking up, not council taxpayers across the whole ward?

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I think our councillors and Tory PPC were a little shocked by the furore at the last Ward Forum and yet another consultation was hastily organised last Thursday, and this time some of the residents' concerns do seem to have been addressed, for example the main after-hours entrance being on Finchley Road.

However, vague terms such as health facilities being "focused on" serving students won't quell all the fears.

What does that actually mean?

It seems to me that a local amenity which can genuinely serve the wider local community should not be scorned.

But residents are rightly concerned that a lawless atmosphere after school spilling-out time would extend late into the evening.

I have heard from a source close to the school that they're currently without a police officer (as I believe the Academy in Harrow Road is) and the school and the council must address this for the sake of all in the area.

If we can deal with these issues, and improve the desperately in-need educational facilities in the process, the new development could actually be a beacon for the whole area which brings vibrancy, community and security from morning until night.

Mark Blackburn

Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Westminster North.

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