Controversial school expansion plans in Wembley pass first hurdle

Parents, residents fighting plans to expand Byron Court Primary School in Spencer Road to take 1050

Parents, residents fighting plans to expand Byron Court Primary School in Spencer Road to take 1050 pupils - Credit: Archant

Plans to supersize a primary school in Wembley to take in more than 1,000 pupils are on track despite overwhelming objections from the local community.

Byron Primary School in Spencer Road is going to planning officers who will decide whether to increase the number of pupils to 1,050 after Brent Council’s cabinet members met this weeky and passed the motion.

If the plans go ahead the school will be one of the largest in the country.

Barry Gardiner MP for Brent North sent a strongly worded letter to Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of the council, warning him the “proposal will be detrimental to the local community and may actually undermine to the quality of the excellent teaching and learning that the current staff and leadership have created at Byron Court.”

Suzanne D’Souza, chair of the Sudbury Court Residents Association, said: “The council is going against objections from all parties - parents, residents, Councillors, and even our local MP.

“More than 90 per cent of the responses were to object. Objections were received on all grounds including education, environment, traffic, health and safety and air pollution. Is this a democratic process?”

Karen Jones, who lives on Spencer Road, called the meeting a “farce”.

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She said: “Parents talked about a drop in standards and were completely ignored. Members of the cabinet were not even properly listening. It was obvious that they had already made up their mind.”

The school currently has around 600 pupils which will surge to 1050 if the expansion from a three form entry into five goes ahead. There are already “bulge” classes in year two, to which 60 children have been admitted and the plan is to add these extensions to other classes on an annual basis.

Cllr Joshua Murray, a former pupil of Byron Court who now represents the Labour ward of Northwick Park, said: “If the environment is going to be poisonous I don’t want it to go through but if residents are happy with the expansion I don’t see why it shouldn’t go through.”

Cllr Keith Perrin, from Northwick Park ward, added: “As much as I think it was a wrong decision I think it was one they had to make because they have to provide school places. It will go to planning next and we’ll try to stop it there.”