Private French school must negociate with Wembley community groups over public land use

Lycee International de Londres Winston Churchill

Lycee International de Londres Winston Churchill - Credit: Archant

Community groups in Wembley have challenged controversial plans to give public land to a private French school without consultation.

Forest United teams and coaches protesting about potential acquisition of their playing fields. Pic

Forest United teams and coaches protesting about potential acquisition of their playing fields in 2016 - Credit: Adam Tiernan Thomas

Forest United (1973) Youth FC (FUYFC) and the John Billam Tenterden Parks and Neighbourhood Group (JBTPNG) challenged Brent Council cabinet members at a meeting last week over its plans to hand over the Tenterden Park playing fields and pavilion to the Lycee International de Londres Winston Churchill, in Forty Lane.

The cabinet was due to approve a Community Asset Transfer (CAT) giving the school, which is owned by the Wembley Education Trust (WECT), a 30-year lease on the land. But they agreed an amendment that said the French school must negotiate with FUYFC first.

Cllr Roxanne Mashari, lead member for regeneration and growth, employment and skills, said: “WECT must work with Forest United otherwise the process will come back to cabinet, and will not go ahead without collaboration.”

Cllr Michael Pavey, lead member for stronger communities, said: “Forest United is truly embedded in the community and their organisation is what initiated this process.”

Richard Page, chairman of FUYFC, said: “We are pleased the council has recognised we must be part of this agreement. We’ve been running the football club for 20 years. It’s not just about football, there’s a social element. People who come to us need an outlet that’s organised, ethical and as long as we can do that, the community will have somewhere to go.”

In January, the football club asked the council to consider a CAT of the pavilion but when put to tender, the French school won. In its application WECT has proposed to develop a new multi-million pound indoor facility on two levels with ground floor changing rooms and a sports hall on the first floor.

Most Read

David Daniels of the John Billam and Tenterden Group said: “The Lycee seeks to expand its pupil facilities by a proposal on Tenterden designated open space incorporating a security enclosed 3g pitch. More than 2,000 people use that community space so we welcome the cabinet wanting the Lycee to open negotiations with Forest United. Any new building should be restricted to the footprint of Tenterden Pavilion and provide access to community organisation.

WECT and the French Education Charity Trust to which it is aligned have not responded to requests for comment.