Published: 6 July, 2012
• IT is sad to see the chairman of governors of Ashmount Primary School, David Barry, still determined to fight a battle that he has already won (School move was backed by two-thirds of residents, June 29).
Ashmount Primary School is in the process of moving to another site.
The decision was actually made by Islington Council some time ago.
The Ashmount Site Action Group (ASAG) is now solely concerned with what use that site will be put to when vacated.
So far as the council executive meeting of June 12 was concerned, that, too, has been decided.
The executive is now hoping that the Department for Education will approve its plan to sell the site to a housing developer.
ASAG is dealing with the current situation but Mr Barry appears to have such a “bee in his bonnet” that he even attacks ASAG for paying his school a compliment over its improved Ofsted reports, a fact mentioned by ASAG chairman, Francis Wilkinson, in his presentation to the executive.
His reference was also curiously misinterpreted by council leader Councillor Catherine West and I corrected this in my letter (Housing policy backlash behind ‘spat on the steps’, June 22).
But, still dwelling in the past, Mr Barry assures readers that two-thirds of local residents voted for the school move.
If ever such a significant number of local residents had approved that proposal, it is a wonder that ASAG was ever formed and received such support and attendances at its meetings over the years.
But the fact is that Ashmount Primary School is moving and now ASAG is dealing with the present reality.
Although Mr Barry would apparently deny it, the majority of local residents are still opposed to the council’s plan for a housing estate on this site and that is why ASAG was able to present a petition, signed by some 1,200 local residents, to the council executive on June 12.
As of this time of writing, that petition has simply been studiously ignored.
Mr Barry should have read my letter carefully before making his grandiloquent misinterpretations of what I said.
I did not criticise Cllr West for disagreeing with me.
She has as much right to change her policies when in office as I have a right to maintain my views. I corrected a statement made in the Tribune as to the reason why she had lost her temper on the Town Hall steps. I know she now regrets this “spat” and, as she has stated, it was “unedifying” for all parties.
Had Mr Barry felt able to attend any of the various public meetings of ASAG since 2009, held in a hall only two minutes from his house, he would have learnt just how widespread the opposition of local residents was to the council’s proposals for a housing estate to be built on the site. He did attend a public ASAG meeting in July 2009, but left after the meeting voted its overwhelming opposition to the plans.
I would simply now urge him to forget his past battles and become more concerned in his current local community and the inevitable problems that will have to be endured by them if the June 12 decision is confirmed by the Department for Education.
PETER BERRESFORD ELLIS
• I WAS intrigued to hear from Peter Berresford Ellis about the proposal to close Ashmount School and, therefore, peripherally about the Holly Park development plans.
Some six or so years ago, I joined council leader Catherine West and other Labour Party stalwarts at a demo to protest at the closure of Boleyn Road Neighbourhood Office.
The neighbourhood office was being closed to make way for new housing for the homeless or overcrowded.
Then the Labour group and I were protesting at the loss of a community amenity. I’m still protesting at losing community amenities.
Highbury New Park, N5