Information about my work as a Labour Councillor for East Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Keeping an eye on the forgotten

I was glad to hear that Barnet Homes did a tour around some of the Estates in East Finchley, such as Font Hills and the Alder Court / King Street estates. These are some of the less well known, but equally challenging estates in the ward. It's easy to forget there is more than just Strawberry Vale and the Grange, so I am always glad when we can give positive attention to other estates.

Last year we took Barnet Homes to visit my own estate on Prospect Ring, which still has several issues we are picking up on. I would at some point like to get a visit to Elmhurst Crescent and Brownswell Road at some point too. I have a particular bugbear about a delapidated playground at the end of Brownswell Road.

Also important not to neglect Tarling Road, Briar Close or the Servite Estate (Viridian homes).

On the other side, just outside East Finchley is Basing Way, where there are also a number of issues.

Although not everyone is a fan of Barnet homes, I have always found them useful and helpful. They respond to queries on time, listen to my concerns and usually act upon them. I hope this carries forwards.

Vision Strategy

I attended an event in Avenue House yesterday with Alison Moore looking into the vision strategy (pun intended). We had some interesting discussions about health and prevention, care and peripheral vision issues. (ok i'll stop)

It was a good session, and I hope when it is finished to call it in to Health Overview and Scrutny to follow up on some of the issues raised.

We felt it was important that visual impairments were caught early, and feel that screenings should happen in schools, and teachers should be told to note when pupils ask to sit near the front so they can see the interactive whiteboards (we've moved on a bit).

It was also apparent that the care people recieve is excellent, but that the time it takes to recieve it is too long, and causes anxiety and stress for patients, as well as reducing the time left for people to have a positive mindset about combating thier visual impairment. You need to discuss in good time with patients what they can do, or else they give up on many things they do not need to. We felt this was because there were too small teams and the teams have fears about personel changes, and fears that staff who leave will not be replaced (a fear we know all to well on Barnet Council).

There were a number of concerns raised about the state of pavements, and the £200,000 bill the Council pays out to people who sue them. There were concerns about signs and lines, which is an issue because the recent desire to "declutter" is a load of old rubbish that removes useful information when not challenged properly. There were also fears expressed about the distance between bus stops and hospitals, and the accessibility by bus of local hospitals. All issues on my radar, as you will know from reading this blog. There was also dissatisfaction with Dial-a-ride, which is not new either.

The good thing is that I am working with Barnet and Camden Assembly Member Andrew Dismore on a lot of these, and have raised others on my own, so we do know about these issues. The bad thing is that nothing is being done about them by the Mayor.

Good lunch too.

I am glad that medicine has moved on from ome of the horror stories told at the meeting about access to vision healthcare. Clearly, a lot more needs to be done, especially in making sure GPs know more about non NHS services available. I am also glad that there is a proper consulation going on, and that the NHS and it's stakeholders and partners want to engage with the community and the Council, and held this event. Well done to them.

Healthcare has moved on a long way.

One Barnet - Judicial Review Gets Hearing

I was surprised and delighted to hear that one of the judicial reviews of the NSCSO contract had been given a hearing in March. This is excellent news, as it shows there may be a legal case against the entire programme.

There will be costs, and certainly a delay to implimentation even if the JV is unsuccessful. I hope it will show the procurement programme was flawed and that we should not go ahead with this multi million pound bonanza at our expense.

You wonder why the Council never planned for any form of success for a JV, which they surely knew was coming.

Education Strategy

Despite the absence of half it's membership, the Task and finish group on education strategy went well on Monday.

Only the Chair, Cllr Marshall, as well as the Labour members Anne Hutton and Ross Houston as members of the committee came. It was so bad that I (only a substitute) was allowed to sit at the table and take part (but not vote) I don't know where the other Councillors were, but they ought to provide an explanation next time.

Anyways, we looked at what the role of the Council will be going into the future. It has taken many years of fighting to get local accountability and involvement in healthcare, and health scrutiny, though in it's formative years, is established and working well. Education on the other hand is going backwards. Whereas once there was local accountability, Michael Gove has taken it away, and now is the sole overseer of schooling. Madness, given he has less staff than there were 3 years ago to directly oversee 25,000 schools.

Since the Council have almost been arm twisting encouraged local schools  to become academies, we had to have a serious look at what the role of the Council and Councillors will be. And it isn't much.

We can't even force a head to come before a committee. we can only ask nicely. we can't, as the chair put it, invite them to consider thier employment future in Barnet, that can only be asked by the Secretary of State. So much for localism them.

We had concerns about admissions and exclusions policy. It would be madness to lose the Pavillion Pupil Referral Unit, recently rated outstanding by ofsted. The reality is that these new academies are bound by market forces in everything, including the commissioning of exclusion delivery! We were reassured to hear that the PRU could be taken over by a private group! I'm not sure the best way of guaranteeing the future of an outstanding service is to cause uncertainty with future market forces. This is education we are talking about, and we would be failing themost vulnerable if we messed up the PRU.

There was a half an hour session with the Cabinet member, Cllr Harper, who spoke about the commitment the Government has to local involvement in Schools, as outlined by David Laws and Michael Gove. Yes, the two who have done the most to take it away.

We heard the views of three headteachers as well on what they want to see in terms of the relationship between academies and the Council. That was a productive session, and we have a good idea of what the schools want. They, in the main, want to retain a strong relationship with the Council, and believe we have much to offer. They would also take our views seriously, whih was a cause for concern to me.

In short, things are not going to be in armageddon, as I feared, and it is wise for us to look into these things now. We may even have abilities and powers we never knew about....

Friday, 25 January 2013

Andrew Dismore on Barnet police cuts

I am grateful to Barnet and Camden's Labour GLA member Andrew Dismore for his help in writing my speech for the emergency service cuts debate at full Council. Andrew's office wrote some useful information about what was going on in London and the wider context. You can see some of the information here.

Pressure has saved some hours of front desk service at Golders Green, but you need a phone if you live in Chipping Barnet. High Barnet, Whetstone, Borehamwood, Wonchmore Hill, Southgate and Hampstead are all losing their front desks, which is a real tragedy.

At full Council, the Tories did not want to do anything to stop the closure of these desks, even though High Barnet is represented by the Cabinet member for policing. I take the point about police needing to be ready to go to trouble, but closing front desks is not the way, and it doesn't explain the disasterous changes to safer neighbourhood teams. Reducing them to 1 officer and 1 PCSO will undermine the whole point of community policing.

BCF Waiting times altered.

I'm sure this will come up at the next health OSC!

Budget and Performance

Tonight at Budget and Performance we looked at the Q2 monitoring reports and Barnet Homes.

Sadly, the sessions started with an unhelpful exchange. There was a testy question from Julian Silverman during the public question time, and a bit of an exchange with the chair, Anthony Finn. When Mr Silverman got up to leave after his question (on housing) Cllr Finn moved on to the next item about Barnet Homes, and said as an aside, that Mr Silverman should stay as he "might learn something". I found this rather unfair, as Mr Silverman had no right of reply, and was an unnecessary comment from a chair. I made a point of order and said so, and the chair apologised.

We had a very productive session. Bedroom Tax, Housing benefit cap, Council tax benefit scrapping (Pickles' Poll Tax), lack of supply and vastly increased demand are clearly a big worry, and the Council are doing nothing to increase the supply of affordable homes. I have some truly sad housing cases, and I fear the underlying causes will not be properly dealt with unless we get the holy trinity of Labour Council, Labour Mayor and Labour Government.

I was shocked to see it takes 201 days on average to rehouse an emergency case. 6 1/2 months. not good enough. I'm glad they are dealing with the backlog that means it takes 76 days to just get a banding.

On the quarterly performance reports, sickness is a serious issue. Though it is otly denied that staff morale is behind it, it's clear that some staff on long term leave can't put the figures for a 2,000 strong organisation so out of kilter. I've made the point before a dozen times, but the treatment of staff must be a priority.

I rasied the question about planning for population growth. Hendon is going to see tens of thousands of new residents, and we must get the plans for health and transport and school places right. I think they will do it on school places, but they have seriously miscalculted on health and transport.

It's virtually pointless doing these sessions when the reports are so badly out of date, and the questions on the figures are simply not worth going into, as they are several months out of date.

We didn't end on a happy note eiter, as the Tory Councillors grumbled that they wanted to go home at 9.30, as Alan Schneiderman and Geof Cooke wanted to follow up on earlier questions. Cllr Gordon asked if we had families to go back to, to which Geof reminded him we are paid to be here.

All through the meeting, which, apart from the beginning and end had been conducted in a friendly and helpfulk atmousphere between the Councillors of both parties, allowing each other to follow up and intervene. At some points though, Tory councillors kept making political gibes, then recoiled as we made the ripostes. I know Alison reads the papers and knows her stuff, which shows because everytime they made a jab, she paid them back with interest.

Full Council

Tuesday's full Council was very interesting. We had a presentation of velum certificates to Cllr Melvin Cohen and Cllr Agnes Slocombe. Agnes gave an impromptu speech thanking the residents for electing her for 30 years. Always classy is our wonderful Agnes!

Then we had written questions. My first was about the libraries cuts. Cllr Rams says they have identified all the cuts they want to make, which is slightly different from what I had heard. I also asked him to let me know the details of the competency tests the librarians were asked to do. I told him he ought to give them more time to complete them. I didn't ask a supplementary about the levels of crime in Strawberry Vale, as Cllr Longstaff has kindly referred the matter to the police to look into, plus were to have a debate about it later.

Curiously, Cllr Coleman's questions were all at the end, and he only got to ask a few of them. He told me in the interval that it's because the questions were done by group. I don't understand why his would be at the end if that were the case, the order should go Con Lab Lib Ind. Given his questions are so awkward for the Tories I would rather see him get better billing!

Azi Khatiri did an excellent speech and handed the petition with 8,000 signatures asking for a referendum on One Barnet. She clearly rattled the Tories, as Cllr Thomas gave a poor response, in which he said only 4% of the population had signed the petition, the other 96% didn't. Alison hit him out of the park and reminded him that it was 8,000 more than he had consulted and asked about it.

The Tory Item was about returning to the old committee system. I have no preference whatsoever, but I find it grating how the Tories demand more accountability and democracy on one hand, then run the residents forum into the ground by disallowing awkward questions, don't consult the public on One Barnet, allow the public questioners at committees to be treated like idiots by the chairs and refuse to have One Barnet debates in the chamber, unless it's an opposition business item, which they can't take off the agenda.

Quote of the night goes to the brilliant Cllr Jack Cohen, who said "this Tory administration is a Marxist regime..." to much hilarity "...that's Groucho, not Karl!" and brought the house down.

Then our item on emergency service cuts. Alex Brodkin was brilliant. He hammered the Tories on the police station closures, which will leave the entire Chipping Barnet constituency without a front desk, and with the closure of Borehamwood, Hampstead, Winchmore Hill and Southgate, the residents there have to go to Edmonton for their nearest 24 hour desk.

Cllr Longstaff then proceeded to give one of the oddest speeches I have heard since Cllr Rayner's maiden speech in which he said Gordon Brown and skip several times. David also managed to dredge up that long debunked nonsense about gold. You know they're stuck when they go for that. I spoke about cuts to the safer neighbourhood teams, blaming them on Boris, and excoriating him for damaging the most successful anti crime measure of the last 50 years. Barry Rawlings also did an excellent speech about the ambulance service.

The Tories accused us of scaremongering, and Barry reminded us that he had been accused of the same before he 2010 election, when he campaigned saying the Tories were going to close Friern Barnet Library.

After the interval was a motion about the contribution of Ugandan Asians, which was very positive, we restated our commitment to Jinja, our twinned town in Uganda. Best part was Agnes Slocombe, who left Brian Gordon whincing after she brought out an old quote of his saying it had been a mistake to allow the Ugandan Asians in.

Then the unexpected turn of the night. WE WON A VOTE! Cllr Coleman put down an vote on the names of the new directors. He said "Why has Pam Wharfe been given the title of Director of Place? why not haddock or cod? and what does the Director of Assurance do? go "there, there" to the auditors?!" His amendment said something along the lines of giving the directors proper names. When it came to the vote, the Lib Dems and us voted with him, 24 in all, and only 20 Tories voted against! Many keeping their hands down. This is the first vote loss since 2006.

The best speech of the night was from Andreas Tambourides. Chair of the licenseing committee, he simply got up and moved his report on gambling. If only David Longstaff and Daniel Thomas had done the same...

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Grange- Big Local Project

Alison and I met the project director for the Big Local Fund to give us an idea of what the £1 million grant to the Grange Estate and nearby areas will encompass.

The good thing is that it's essentially up to us. We form community groups to decide how to spend the money. We cna look at some short term wins, and a larger project running for years for example.

I know I have a number of items on a shopping list for the area covered, but it would have to be the community that asked for the money.

All in all, I think this is great news, and the flexibility in thier system (plus the amount) mean I think we can achieve some real positive outcomes for a very neglected area.

I will keep you updated!

Education Task and Finish Group

I sat on the newly established Task and Finish Group on Education strategy today. It was a very interesting session, because at the end we were asking ourselves whether we had a role at all in education after the Gove reforms.

I am increasingly worried about the long term effects of these reforms, and I fear that a completely free marked for admissions will leave people out of the system. I hope we will be able to look at how the admissions policy will work in the future, with no real education department to oversee the big picture.

On exculsions there are serious questions too. The Pupil Referral Unit was rated outstanding by ofsted recently, and I hope we are able to retain the service, because under the new Academies framework, the schools are required to find alternative education for excluded pupils. I really can't see that working.

I think it's a pity that the Government goes on about localism, then abolishes it education. We have fought hard to get local democratic accountabiliity for the Health services, against some serious resistance. We are now looking to go backwards in education. The only democratic accountability will be though the secretary of state, who will be dealing with 4,000 schools and fewer staff, whilst local authorities decimate their education departments anyway.

I hope we are not reduced to getting influence by exchanging capital investment for governor places at Academies.

All in all these sessions should be interesting and I look forward to the outcomes.

Holocaust Memorial Day

On Sunday I attended the Borough Holocaust Memorial Day at the Rickett's Quadrangle in Middlesex University.

Living in a Borough with a large and prominent Jewish community, especially in Finchley, I have many Jewish friends and neighbours. The history and horrors of the Holocaust are not new to me, but every time there is a discussion, there is always some horrific new aspect brought to bear. I'm glad Andrew Dismore whilst MP for Hendon managed to introduce this event, as it keeps the memory and understanding alive.

We are of course, not a million miles away from that kind of hate today. I have been surprised by the anti Semitic comments I hear around and about, and death and genocide are still very much in the news. I was heartened to hear from the Albanian Charge d'affairs about the positive role Albania played in saving Jewish people during WWII, especially as he is from a part of the world that saw serious ethnic volinence only in the last 15 years.

There were some excellent performances and speeches from some inspirational young people, and I'm glad that they too are developing an understanding of what happened.

East Finchley Festival update

Festival date in the diary
The organisers of the annual festival are pleased to announce that the 2013 East Finchley Festival will be held on Sunday 23 June in Cherry Tree Wood. As ever, there will be the usual mix of stalls, live entertainment and food & drink. The Festival starts at 12pm and finishes at 6pm and the organisers are hoping for a massive turn out this year, and have their fingers are crossed that we have fine weather.

East Finchley Has Talent
In the build up to the festival, the organisers are holding a "Battle of the Bands" on the 16th March at the East Finchley Constitutional Club between 2 and 8pm. We are looking for exceptional young local acts to come and perform their tunes with the chance of winning a coveted spot on the main stage of the Summer Festival. If you are interested or know of an act that might be, please contact: with details.

Festval stalls
Application forms for stallholders will go out  via email. If you are not on the regular database but are interested in a stall, please email for information.

The organisers of the festival have managed to keep it a free event for over 35 years. It has never been grant aided by Barnet Council and is run entirely by  local volunteers. On the day, at  least 50 volunteers are needed to sell raffle tickets, steward the event or help in the bar. If you can spare an hour during the day and make a contribution to the success of the festival, ring 07983 360 834 or email the same address:

Prospect Ring

I was asked by a resident about being charged £350 by tenants for changings doors on the tower blocks on Prospect Ring, and about the cost of the works on the refuse chutes. This was the reply I recieved from Barnet Homes:

Thank you for your enquiry below on behalf of the residents of Prospect Ring.
I can confirm that Barnet Homes are carrying out works at Prospect Ring as required to do following fire risk assessments carried out in line with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. In blocks such as Prospect Ring, the most important thing when fire occurs is that it is contained and 30 minute fire resistant doors enable this. As you may have seen in this week’s news coverage (regarding the tragic events of the fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell in 2009), this is a high profile area and non compliance with the actions from risk assessments may have devastating consequences. This area of work is extremely important to the Council, the Board and the Barnet Homes senior management team.

There are a total of 53 leaseholders at Prospect Ring (it is only leaseholders that are required to contribute towards the cost of these works) of which only six need to have their front entrance doors replaced. This is because they are currently not in compliance with fire safety requirements putting their own households and other residents of the block/s at risk.

Leaseholders are required to contribute towards the cost of this work according to the lease percentage defined under the terms of the lease.  If this cost is not passed on to and met by the leaseholders it then becomes a direct cost to the Housing Revenue Account. It is important that we recover costs from leaseholders to avoid this and we do make every effort to be fair when doing so.

Whilst I understand the point you make about the non-compliant doors not being the fault of the affected leaseholders the requirement for 30-minute fire resistant doors was not recognised when the properties were built. Compliant doors enable residents to remain safely in their flats until a fire is put out or help reaches them if it is outside the flat or for a fire to be contained within the flat again until the fire is put or help arrives. Barnet Homes have a duty of care to take the necessary steps to minimise the risk to all residents and the leaseholders are required to contribute towards the cost of it doing so under the terms of the lease. 

The leaseholders are invited to contact their Leasehold Housing Officers if they are in financial difficulty where every effort will be made to support them. This may be in agreeing a time to pay arrangement or with a referral to free independent debt advice for example.

Ploughman's walk

Residents on Maddison Close have expressed concerns to me about people climbing over their back walls from Ploughman's walk, and have asked for anti climb paint. I have been following this up with officers to see if this can be done. I am looking at looking for funding through the big local project.

Needless to say, I will follow up on any news I get.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

One Barnet Forum

At the residents forum tonight, it was announced that the deputy Mayor, Cllr Kate Salinger will hold a One Barnet residents forum. As yet there are no details.

Whilst I welcome the chance for residents to express their views on this ghastly deal, I fear it is too little too late. I appreciate the sentiment from my former primary school teacher, and she is allowed to be a little more political than the mayor, but there should have been a proper consultation last year. It's too late to ask people what they think about one contract that has already been outsourced, and another that is due to be in a matter of weeks.

The Council should have commissioned a proper consultation and really listened to people's views, rather than ram this through without telling anyone.

That we have no times, dates or venues also say this has been done last minute. It should not be up to the Deputy Mayor to conduct a resident's forum on something so important and such a fundamental change to the way the council is run.

I look forward tot he event (and I can probably guess what Cllr Salinger thinks about One Barnet!) but it's too little too late.

We can all improve ourselves

I am very proud of my mum who took her English GCSE today. It is a pleasant reminder that we can always improve ourselves and learn more.

She is due to take her maths GCSE soon as well, for which the Lord has made us all truly grateful. I suppose that with exams, you shouldn't care too much what grade you get, but how much effort you put in.

Well done to all those who take courses later on in life.

Horace White memorial bench - update

My motion to the Finchley and Golders Green Area Environment Sub Committee regarding the Bench for Horace white was passed. In effect we delegated officers to look into our request and report back on the feasibility.

It is likely that the Mayor's outer London Fund will pay for it, through the review of North Finchley. It needs to be sited in a viable location, there needs to be clarity about it's maintenance, and it needs to discourage anti social behaviour.

I hope the officers will report back as soon as possible, and I will report back here what happens.

I must add my thanks to Cllr Lord Palmer, who was very helpful and encouraging throughout the debate. (as he usually is in any debate).

Monday, 14 January 2013

Horace Bench- Wednesday at St Michaels Church, Golders Green

My motion calling for a bench in North Finchley to be dedicated to Horace White is to be debated at the Finchley and Golders Green Area Environment Sub Committee on Wednesday night from 7 at St Michaels Church Hall, The Riding off Golders Green Road NW11 8HL.

Please come along to support my motion.

Visit to vigil for rape victims

Ansuya Sodha, Alison Moore, Barry Rawlings and I attended a function at the Hindu Cultural Society Centre in Friern Barnet for the victims of rape, after the appaling gang rape case in Delhi.

The details of the case are just shocking, and I hope that the anger of young people in India transforms into something a lot more substantial. Last year there were protests against corruption, but little has really been done.

What was good to see about the event on Friday night was that there were people from the Hindu community here, of all ages, men and women, who came to ask or a change of attitude. It doesn't take much effort to change attitudes to women, It involves small things like not telling your granddaughter to do the washing up "because you're a girl, i's your job" which was not infrequent in my own home.

A good point that was raised was that this isn't just about teaching or how to treat women, it's also about how to educate young boys, and telling them they should respect women. I think this is vital, I have just come back from India, and I saw for myself how rudely people at airports were to my own relatives. Needless to say I put that right, but there won't always be bolshy people like me to go around rebuking people, it's a change in attitude.

While I was in India, one of the most disturbing details apart from the case was of the reaction by male figures in society, such as the MP son of the president, who said that protesters were "painted and dented", or the Communist MLA who said the Chief Minister of West Bengal would enjoy being raped beause it would feed her victim mentality. (Not the first time idiots of the far left have talked crap on rape allegations). One religious figure even said the victim should have dropped to her knees and prayed to god and that would have saved her.

10 years ago, this would have been met with a short spell of anger, but no real repercussions. I am glad that things have moved on.

Asking people what they think is revolutionary

Just when things couldn't get more farcical at Barnet Council, you hear they they will not hold a sceduled consultation on policing, booked by Barnet and Camden GLA rep Andrew Dismore. Apparently, they informed our group on friday evening. Why is the Tory Mayor's man allowed to come hear and "consult" but our own representative isn't? You don't think what they are doing is "politically motivated"?

I suspect in reality it's the word "consult" that has Barnet's Tory administration worried. They can only deal with one view at a time. Barnet is being shortchanged by Boris Johnson's Police station cuts, and won't be held to account.

View photo 2.PNG in slide show

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Scrutiny training

this evening I attended some scrutiny training at the Town hall.

We had an interesting discussion about skills, the type of questions you ask, how to approach scrutiny and what it's for. We had a good moan about how ineffective it is in Barnet when the Tory administration do bugger all to listen to anything anyone has to say.

Talking about Tories, it was fascinating that 10 Labour Councillors out of 22 were there, just 2 Tories out of 37 were. Alison, myself, Jim, Anne, Ansuya, Agnes, Julie, Geoff, Andreas and Gill were the Labour members. Just Brian Salinger and David Longstaff for the Tories. Says it all really.

There were some useful tips, and it's clear to me that our attitude to commissioning is all wrong in Barnet, we put little emphasis on pre decision scrutiny and too much on post service evaluation. Needs to be the other way round!

 There were some funny bits too.

We were talking about a study in Haringey which cost £20,400 to help stop 40 men from smoking. We were told that the net financial earnings that had been made by the extended lifetime of these men was £233,794 per person. There was a bit of an argument that broke out as people pointed out there were added costs as well of people living longer, and questions about how much these people would work, assumptions about missing days etc, to which Julie Johnson said that these people "were strivers!". you had to be there, it was perfectly timed.

When we broke into plenary sessions, we looked at how to approach scrutiny, and Anne Hutton and I had a chat about when you look at services, does monitoring come before management or vice versa? I'm pleased to announce that we have invented management gobbledegook. The Manager/Monitor continuum. One constantly leads to the other. I patent this idea, and claim all credit for it. All the other attendees were blown away by our brilliance, and I could see some were visibly moved. Astar was born tonight in management speak.


Barnet staff are going through some difficult times right now, and morale isn't good. So I was sad to hear on my first surgery back in 2013 in the library that staff were not being given much time to prepare for some competency based tests.

I have submitted written questions to council about this to ascertain what these tests were about. I don't think it was felt that enough time has been given in preparation. I know that feeling, having only been given a week with the NSCSO papers before scrutiny.

There is a major restructuring going on, as budgets are being squeezed. This is not the friendliest way of saying goodbye to staff, and I hope we can clear the picture.After the "omnishambles" with the landmark library in the Arts Depot, and Friern Barnet having been in disarray for 6 months, some basic competency is needed in the political leadership of libraries.

I have a special affection for the helpful and hard working staff at East Finchley Library, and I hope more effort is made in the future to make sure all staff are valued.

Martin School expansion

I visited Martin School in the ward today to see the expansion plans. it seems to be taking shape, and the school will have a more coherent internal structure, with year groups together. There are outstanding issues, such as a storage space, a space for bins, asbestos in a wall. some resolution seem to have been found on finishing the resurfacing, plane tree walk and parking spaces, but clearly there is more the school want done.

I hope to keep you informed about progress.