Harrow Borough Council hits back at claims it did not treat Vaughan School campaigners with respect

Harrow Times: Rosalyn Neale believes the councillors did not answer her questions properly Rosalyn Neale believes the councillors did not answer her questions properly

Harrow Borough Council has hit back at claims that it is not treating campaigners with respect.

The council has responded to suggestions that councillors did not answer public questions about a primary school expansion properly.

Mitzi Green, portfolio holder for children, schools and families, said: “We do take residents' concerns seriously.

“We have given full answers to all questions and have done so throughout the process.

“Extra time at both cabinet and full council was given for residents to ask questions and these questions were answered fully. 

“There has been an unprecedented rise in the number of children needing primary school places in Harrow.

“The council has an obligation to provide school places for all children in the borough and has a duty to find a way of meeting this challenge.”

Councillor Green’s comments come after neighbours of Vaughan Primary School, in The Gardens, complained that councillors did not answer their questions properly at Thursday’s council meeting.

Rosalyn Neale, who lives in Dorchester Avenue, said: “We didn’t get proper answers.

“We don’t want this built at the bottom of our gardens and we went to the meeting to ask public questions.

“They didn’t answer what was asked – they must know the answers as we submitted the questions in advance so they had time to look into it.

“I think they don’t answer because they know we are right.

“We are not treated with respect. It is not easy to stand up in public and we give up our evenings but they don’t respect us.”

She added: “It’s not right. What can you do to make them give you a proper answer? Surely we are entitled to one.”

Ms Neale, and her neighbours, are fighting the expansion plans as they feel it will spoil the view from their houses, reduce the value of their properties and increase traffic and congestion in the area.

They also argue that the location is not appropriate for a new school building as it would mean more children having to cross dangerous roads.

Ms Neale said: “We have serious safety concerns for the children.

“The school is on a very busy junction and this would create a lot of extra traffic.

“This junction just wasn’t built for this volume of traffic.”

Harrow Council is currently considering plans to build a two-story building on Vaughan Primary School’s playing fields.

The building would house 12 classrooms and two halls and allow the school to accommodate an extra 210 children by September 2018.
 

Comments (7)

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5:59pm Tue 27 Nov 12

HarrowRes says...

Mitzi Green should be ashamed of herself. Did she not hear the cries of ‘Answer the question’ from other councillors and residents at last weeks meeting ? Does she not recall answering one residents question with a dismissive “That’s a question for planning” and then refusing to pass the question to her planning colleague 2 seats away ? These are just two of many instances of unanswered questions.

It just proves the disrespect she and her council colleagues have for the residents.
Mitzi Green should be ashamed of herself. Did she not hear the cries of ‘Answer the question’ from other councillors and residents at last weeks meeting ? Does she not recall answering one residents question with a dismissive “That’s a question for planning” and then refusing to pass the question to her planning colleague 2 seats away ? These are just two of many instances of unanswered questions. It just proves the disrespect she and her council colleagues have for the residents. HarrowRes
  • Score: 0

7:29pm Tue 27 Nov 12

4democracy says...

Mitzi Green is incorrect and to make out residents are lying is despicable.

If full answers have been given to all questions then why is the following action from the Council's Overview and Scrutiny meeting of the 24th October still outstanding ?

"RESOLVED: That the report be noted and that answers to residents unanswered questions would be provided to those residents with a copy Circulated to Members of the Committee."

Residents are still waiting answers !

She should get her facts straight before trying to undermine the residents.
Mitzi Green is incorrect and to make out residents are lying is despicable. If full answers have been given to all questions then why is the following action from the Council's Overview and Scrutiny meeting of the 24th October still outstanding ? "RESOLVED: That the report be noted and that answers to residents unanswered questions would be provided to those residents with a copy Circulated to Members of the Committee." Residents are still waiting answers ! She should get her facts straight before trying to undermine the residents. 4democracy
  • Score: 0

8:03pm Tue 27 Nov 12

FightInjustice says...

The council clearly has a warped idea of what answering a question is. If they think dodging questions and claiming they will eventually answer questions after months have already past, is what is meant by answering a question, then perhaps they are right. Unfortunately that is not what is meant by answering a question, there's lots of places dictionaries can be accessed nowadays...

It is clear that the council is either lying in their answer to questions or perhaps they are just ill-informed. Either way, incompetence is obvious.

And as for respect, here's a dictionary definition, "...due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others." - Well that's clearly not the case, is it?

It's clear the council have their agenda sorted out and as long as it's legal, they don't care if residents aren't happy. Just remember who elects you...

It's frankly dispacable the way in which the council treats residents, the UK prides itself on being a democracy but that clearly doesn't include Harrow.
The council clearly has a warped idea of what answering a question is. If they think dodging questions and claiming they will eventually answer questions after months have already past, is what is meant by answering a question, then perhaps they are right. Unfortunately that is not what is meant by answering a question, there's lots of places dictionaries can be accessed nowadays... It is clear that the council is either lying in their answer to questions or perhaps they are just ill-informed. Either way, incompetence is obvious. And as for respect, here's a dictionary definition, "...due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others." - Well that's clearly not the case, is it? It's clear the council have their agenda sorted out and as long as it's legal, they don't care if residents aren't happy. Just remember who elects you... It's frankly dispacable the way in which the council treats residents, the UK prides itself on being a democracy but that clearly doesn't include Harrow. FightInjustice
  • Score: 0

2:33am Wed 28 Nov 12

starbright says...

I sympathise with the people above! Harrow Council has a history of being arrogant, disregarding local residents, and not answering simple questions!
I sympathise with the people above! Harrow Council has a history of being arrogant, disregarding local residents, and not answering simple questions! starbright
  • Score: 0

8:18pm Wed 28 Nov 12

YellLab says...

I have been to a number of Council meetings where residents have asked questions and raised genuine concerns about the proposals to build a massive structure at the back of our small gardens. The extra time allowed at one of the council meeting that the Councilor mentions was due to the number of residents who asked the questions and not due to the quality of answers. The answers have usually been standard, as repeated here, about the need to provide more spaces for children in Harrow. Surely, there are other options to do this without sticking to the current proposal.
I have been to a number of Council meetings where residents have asked questions and raised genuine concerns about the proposals to build a massive structure at the back of our small gardens. The extra time allowed at one of the council meeting that the Councilor mentions was due to the number of residents who asked the questions and not due to the quality of answers. The answers have usually been standard, as repeated here, about the need to provide more spaces for children in Harrow. Surely, there are other options to do this without sticking to the current proposal. YellLab
  • Score: 0

10:48am Thu 29 Nov 12

TownVoice says...

I now have very little faith in the Vaughan School project because what could have been a reasonable proposal for expansion has now turned into a complete sham by the planners' lack of concern to public questioning.
Direct and specific answers need to be provided and from my attendance to recent Cabinet meetings it clearly shows that this has not been the case.
The questions now to be raised are...who are we to turn to and trust?
Does this democratic process we have of electing council members for our own representation have any real benefit to our social needs and genuine concerns?
We need answers!...but for now incompetence seems to prevail.
I now have very little faith in the Vaughan School project because what could have been a reasonable proposal for expansion has now turned into a complete sham by the planners' lack of concern to public questioning. Direct and specific answers need to be provided and from my attendance to recent Cabinet meetings it clearly shows that this has not been the case. The questions now to be raised are...who are we to turn to and trust? Does this democratic process we have of electing council members for our own representation have any real benefit to our social needs and genuine concerns? We need answers!...but for now incompetence seems to prevail. TownVoice
  • Score: 0

12:12am Sun 2 Dec 12

Our rights? says...

We understand the need for expansion of the schools within the Borough but the consultation process with residents has been appalling. Not all local residents were informed accordingly. . Campaigners against the Vaughan School expansion have now asked public questions at 4 council meetings and have not been treated with respect and full answers have NOT been given. Some of their concerns are a full flood assessment has not been undertaken on the playing field where they propose building, there are real issues if the grass is built on as this is a flood plain. Residents have fears for their properties flooding once the new building will be built so close to their boundaries. No answers have been provided. The safety issues for 50% more children coming to and from the school at an already busy junction (total of 630 children). The children are to be encouraged to cycle but the school does not have a cycle policy as it considers the roads are too dangerous, how will this change if there are more children? Do we have to wait for accident to happen? Why is there to be only 1 additional parking space when there will be 50% more teachers? Where will they park their cars as there is already insufficient parking at the school. It's all very well to have a new school for the children but they will be squeezed in and have insufficient room to play/sports. The school will become more noisy with the considerable increase in children, the lives of those residents who back onto the playing field where 12 new classrooms are to be built will have their lives blighted. No one cares, no one listens and Councillor certainly doesn't answer our questions. Total disrespect is shown to the residents. If only all residents of Harrow attended just one Council meeting and saw what went on they would be shocked and appalled as I have been.
We understand the need for expansion of the schools within the Borough but the consultation process with residents has been appalling. Not all local residents were informed accordingly. . Campaigners against the Vaughan School expansion have now asked public questions at 4 council meetings and have not been treated with respect and full answers have NOT been given. Some of their concerns are a full flood assessment has not been undertaken on the playing field where they propose building, there are real issues if the grass is built on as this is a flood plain. Residents have fears for their properties flooding once the new building will be built so close to their boundaries. No answers have been provided. The safety issues for 50% more children coming to and from the school at an already busy junction (total of 630 children). The children are to be encouraged to cycle but the school does not have a cycle policy as it considers the roads are too dangerous, how will this change if there are more children? Do we have to wait for accident to happen? Why is there to be only 1 additional parking space when there will be 50% more teachers? Where will they park their cars as there is already insufficient parking at the school. It's all very well to have a new school for the children but they will be squeezed in and have insufficient room to play/sports. The school will become more noisy with the considerable increase in children, the lives of those residents who back onto the playing field where 12 new classrooms are to be built will have their lives blighted. No one cares, no one listens and Councillor certainly doesn't answer our questions. Total disrespect is shown to the residents. If only all residents of Harrow attended just one Council meeting and saw what went on they would be shocked and appalled as I have been. Our rights?
  • Score: 0

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