Harlesden school boys ask Brent Council to fund lights in Roundwood Park saying there are funds available
PUBLISHED: 16:43 20 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:43 20 September 2018
Harlesden schoolboys delivered a powerful plea to all councillors for a nearby skate park to be lit to deter crime.
Dhruv Hirani, Dillon Donnelly, Rhuvawn Hector and Thierry Halgand, pupils at Newman Catholic College, stood before a full council meeting on Monday night asking for funding to light up the skate park in Roundwood Park.
The 13-year-olds are believed to be the first children from a secondary school in Brent to make a deputation to councillors.
Commanding the attention of all present they reminded council leader Muhammed Butt of promises he made at a meeting in their Harlesden Road school in April, also attended by former Conservative leader John Warren.
“We had a great response from both councillors,” they said, sharing speaking duties. “Muhammed Butt stated: ‘I will not only light up Roundwood – I will light up all of Brent.’
“This was later followed with a short meeting with Cllr Butt and his advisors. He said that it would be about £55,000 to £65,000 and that he did not have the money.”
Drawing gasps and laughter, they added: “Through our research we found out that the council has about £7million of CIL [community infrastructure levy, a fee imposed on developers] funding – and we are only asking for 0.08 per cent of that.”
The boys told councillors a fellow student had been robbed at knifepoint in the park and it was “very unsafe” for pupils.
Environment chief Cllr Krupa Sheth congratulated the boys on the campaign, adding: “We do not currently maintain a budget for installing new lights and have to seek funding elsewhere. We’ll speak to Cllr Tatler and Cllr Butt to see if we can go forward with this.” She added research into antisocial behaviour “showed a very low demand in this area for new lights” and might “attract more people in the park in later hours”, but said she was “happy” to talk about the campaign with school staff.
Kensal Green councillors Matt Kelcher and Mili Patel, who are supporting the boys, said: “They’ve done great work in conjunction with Citizens UK including setting up safe spaces for young people in nearby shops.
“We are confident that the council will take their concerns seriously and hopefully by working together we can solve the situation in the park for everyone involved.”