Queen’s Park free school move delayed a year

Children to be taught in temporary classrooms

�Plans to push back a new site for a primary school by an extra year have been branded a “shambles” by the leader of a council’s Labour group.

The Ark free school, which is set to open in September, was due to move to newly built premises in Amberley Road, Paddington in September 2013, but this will not now happen until at least 12 months later.

It means teachers will have to give lessons to the 180 or so pupils in two temporary buildings in Third Avenue, Queen’s Park, just 100 yards from Queen’s Park Primary School, and Lancefield Street, until September 2014.

Queen’s Park councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the Westminster Council’s Labour group, said: “This saga has been a shambles from start to finish and has shown Westminster Council at its most incompetent.

“Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong, with no control, leadership or direction to what the council has been doing.

“Of course, we need a new primary school in north Paddington, but the council’s failure to plan properly and work in partnership with local schools has undermined confidence in the council’s ability and general competence to get things done for local people.”

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But Cllr Brian Connell, cabinet member for enterprise and volunteering, refuted Cllr Dimoldenberg’s claims.

He said: “We have a legal and moral obligation to provide primary school places and are proud of the fact that Westminster will be getting a new school.

“We have always made it clear that while we agreed in principle that our site in Amberley Road was the most appropriate long-term location for the new school, this was subject to us working with Westminster Adult Education Service (WAES) to find it suitable, temporary premises to ensure residents continue to have access to adult education and skills provision.

“We will use this additional time to explore a range of options for Amberley Road to ensure we obtain the best design for the site as our long-term aim is to house WAES in Amberley Road alongside the primary school.”