School in Kingsbury ‘has no legal consent to build artificial commercial pitches’
- Credit: Archant
The MP for Brent North says that a proposed commercial football pitch in a Kingsbury school has no legal consent and jeopardises national commitments to tackle obesity.
Barry Gardiner MP said he has been told by Lord Nash the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, that Kingsbury High School has not asked the Education Funding Agency for consent to “dispose of the land” when joining forces with Powerleague, who are sponsored by Lucozade.
The academy has made a joint application with the football company which includes five floodlit pitches, a floodlit multi-use games area and permission to Astroturf the grass playing fields for use by the public out of school hours until 10.30pm.
Mr Gardiner said: “Many of my constituents are extremely concerned about the way in which the proposed Powerleague scheme at Kingsbury High School has been handled and we now find they have not obtained the necessary legal consent.”
Debbie Nyman, of the Roe Green Village Residents Association (RGVRA), who opposes the scheme, said: “We have asked Brent Council how this application could get this far without this basic necessary legal consent being made. Somebody must be made accountable for this omission, whether it is the naiveté and lack of commercial nous of the headteacher and board of governors to have entered into a major project with the private sector or a large corporate shamefully taking an application this far.”
Jeremy Waxman, Kingsbury High School co-headteacher, said: “We educate our students from a young age about the importance of achieving a healthy lifestyle through both a balanced diet and physical activity.”
He added: “The process for receiving permission from the Department for Education for the principle of developing the sports field is a completely separate process to the planning system. We are currently progressing this process in tandem with, but separate to, the planning application.”
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A spokeswoman for Brent Council said: “The council is required by law, to consider planning applications on planning merits alone; as this issue is not a material planning consideration, it cannot be taken into account.
“As the land is owned by the Academy Trust, not Brent Council, it is their responsibility to seek any relevant permissions for its use.
“We’ve had no involvement in the development of this proposal, other than to consider the planning application.”