|Priory Decision To be Called In|
Liberal Democrats not happy with current proposals
Ealing's Liberal Democrats say they will call in a Cabinet decision to close the Priory site because they are unhappy with how community groups who use the centre have been treated.
The Priory in Acton Lane, is due to become a school once again, following a decision last night by Ealing Council’s Cabinet.
Acton is currently experiencing a shortage of primary places, and in order to meet this need, the council has been temporarily and permanently expanding existing schools. However, additional spaces are still needed so that local children can attend primary schools close to their homes.
The Priory Centre currently houses around 30 community groups. The groups were due to move into the revamped Acton Town Hall complex in 2014, when the council planned to sell the site to developers.
The Cabinet decision means that they will now move out before their new space at Acton Town Hall is ready.
Lib Dem Councillor Gary Malcolm said he wanted guarantees that the current users had somewhere locally to conduct their activities; would have access to a priority booking of rooms in any new community space at Acton Town Hall and would not be charged a high price for using Council facilities.
He said:: “The Priory Centre and its users are an amazing set of people. They give so much to Acton and the Labour-run Ealing Council has let them down. Liberal Democrats have previously given a ‘copper-bottomed’ guarantee that users should not be forced out without somewhere local to hold their clubs and activities.”
Cllr David Millican, Leader of the Conservative Opposition said:
“I sympathise with the Priory Centre users who were given no guarantees that they will be provided with accommodation by the time they have to move out in the Spring of next year.
''The anger expressed by many users at the recent cabinet meeting is understandable. The groups are a valuable and important part of the community and deserve more respect and better treatment.”
Local MP Angie Bray has been involved with the campaign for some time,she agrees:
'' The issue is very simple. These groups do important work for the community in Acton and it will be a tragedy if we lose the services they provide. The Council needs to keep its promises and these community groups need to be accommodated so they can continue all the work they do.”
Councillor Patricia Walker, cabinet member for Children and Young People said:
''The Priory Centre is an important part of Acton’s history and this new school is an investment in the area’s future.
“I know that many young parents in the Acton area will be pleased to hear this news. There is a real shortage of reception places here and very few sites suitable for building a new school.
“I appreciate that this decision will create some disruption for Priory Centre users, but I hope they will also understand how desperately these places are needed and remember that we have committed to helping them to find other accommodation.”
Cabinet also agreed to further develop proposals to either permanently expand Derwentwater Primary School or West Acton Primary School potentially creating 210 extra places.
They also agreed to further develop proposals to permanently expand Berrymead Infant and Junior Schools, potentially creating an additional 210 places.
A new two form of entry (420 places) Catholic primary school is also planned for Vale Lane in Acton. The decision was made by the council’s Cabinet on Tuesday, 5 July 2011.
All cabinet decisions are subject to call-in for a period of five working days from the date of publication of the minutes of the meeting.
6th July 2011