Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Developers Told: Do Whatever You Want

Is Wilson Happy With DfE?
This Government has made great claims about transparency and localism.

Why is it then, when seeking to create a new Technology Academy out of the ashes of Rob Wilson's failed UTC, that Department for Education Ministers in Westminster should presume that they can ride rough-shod over the views of local people?

I understand that Partnerships for Schools (the government's delivery agent for capital investment programmes into schools) have been instructed by Ministers to seek a commercial partner who would purchase the whole site on the condition that they sell half the site back to the DfE on which to build the new Tech.

Their conclusion is that "That way the commercial partner satisfies planning conditions for having educational use on the site, and then can do whatever they want with the other half."

It is understood that two companies have already been lined up to do the deal.

Reading Borough Council's planning policies have designated the Alfred Sutton School playing fields at Crescent Road as open space. But Government changes to the planning laws in favour of developers may seek to over-ride these locally determined policies.

Things are moving fast, so now is the time to say "No" to Rob Wilson and the DfE and "Yes" to protecting our open spaces.

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