Where has £6 Million come from?
The New Government is changing the rules regarding "Academy" schools . Labour (Lord Andrew Adonis and Ed Balls) tended to concentrate on bringing "failing" schools up whereas the new Government (Michael Gove) places greater emphasis on parental choice and is considering adapting the Labour "Academy" model to permit organisations of parents to open "free" schools that are government funded but free of Local Authority ties.
This raises a number of issues regarding the progress or otherwise of the Cricklefield site.
The lease on the Frenford site at Cricklefield had been surrendered. Demolition was due to commence last month (May 2010) and the Academy completed by 2012 ready for occupation at the beginning of 2013. The new building at the PLA site, in The Drive behind Cranbrook Primary School, has its roof on and is due for occupation by the Autumn and in full swing by Christmas. Whereas the Frenford Clubs have surrendered their lease on Oakfield, they have been granted a short-term arrangement whereby they continue to have use of the Jack Carter Pavilion (and Hainault & Clayhall Cricket Club continue to have use of the cricket facilities) "until 2013 at least and optionally until 2015". They are thus not completely vacating the site at Oakfield even when they move to the PLA site.
The "Leisure Centre" fronting the Swimming Pool on the High Road is boarded up and looking in a very sorry state. These is no visible evidence, looking through the padlocked gates, that any work has been commenced at Cricklefield. The connection between the situation at Cricklefield together with the former Swimming Pool and the PLA Development has attracted the comment of the Redbridge Swimmers Association.
The Childrens Services Scrutiny Committee 28th Jan 2009 considered the Academy and the Cricklefield/Oakfield move of the Frenford Clubs:
Redbridge Academy Project [this is a PDF file so you will need Acrobat Reader if you download it]
In the Minutes, it was noted that Members asked a number of questions on issues including the following:
- whether there were any financial implications for ARK arising from local press reports regarding one of its sponsors’ involvement in the Bernard Madoff Hedge Fund;
- the means by which ARK was funded and the Council’s liability should ARK encounter financial difficulties during the lifetime of the Academy;
- the contents of an email circulated to all London Councillors regarding ARK;
- the protection afforded to the Council under the terms of the 125 year lease;
- the industrial relations difficulties experienced by ARK in Croydon (and reaction in Redbridge).
These are questions that the Council Tax Payers of the Borough should have answered clearly and unequivocally as the costs of the PLA Development and the costs of maintaining the derelict High Road / Cricklefield site is OUR money!