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Call-Out 2 Climate Campers: on route, visit Wembley Sports Ground Occupation

GRASS | 31.07.2008 06:20 | Education | Free Spaces | Social Struggles | London

If you are on yr way to the Climate camp, why not stop off at the wembley recreation ground tent occupation that is already up and running. Support needed.
A short video of one GRASS campaigner can be seen here.

Wembley Tent City Occupation, Forty Avenue, Wembley:
Nearest Tube: Wembley Park (Metropolitan Line)
Turn left out the station, walk up the hill to main junction on Bridge Rd, turn left, walk 100 metres, turn left into the gate way to Wembley Park Sports Ground and you're there.

Buses: From Central London: 18 from Euston to Sudbury and then the 182 to
Wembley Park Station (the N18 runs past Sudbury. Get off at Wembley
triangle from which Bridge Road is a 15 minute walk past Wembley Arena).
Other routes: 83 from Golders Green Stn, 302 from Kensal Rise Stn, 297
from Willesden Bus Garage.

The Latest:

Some of you may have caught the latest on the BBC London news today at
6.30. The businesses in the community building on the site have refused to go despite being told by the Council that they had to leave by 9.00 am yesturday. The place was really buzzing this morning with Louis Eden from the Council being chased by camera crews as well as angry tenants. Despite trying to look cool he was clearly rattled and called for back up. The way that the businesses carried on showed their determination
not to be bullied. The current GRASS (Grass Roots Alliance for Social Spaces) occupiers could be served with an eviction at any time by virtue of the fact that it is considered a 2nd eviction (Council got a Warrant of restitution on previous possession Order at County Court)

Thanks to those who have popped in. The group really appreciates your support. If you haven't made it over there yet please try if you have the time.

Last Stand against threat to Football pitches in shadow of Wembley Stadium:

The fight to save local children's access to a sports ground in the shadow
of Wembley Stadium recontinued this week as protestors reoccupied the site
for the third time in a year.

Campaigners are occupying the site to raise the issue of the threat to local children's access to the recreation ground. These football grounds have been used by local people for over 100 years, and by local schools and residents for decades. It is used by over a hundred and fifty different youngsters and teenagers from the local area each week - some of whom come from the local Chalk-Hill estate, who pay as little as £1 per training session.

Though Brent Council had guaranteed that access to play on the football pitches will remain for the next two years, the developers - ARK - the school charity who plan to
build the new Wembley Academy school on the site - have so far not made
any commitment to retain the local youth community's affordable access to
this local recreation facility. (Brent Council currently own the land; they are in the process of transferring it to ARK).

Campaigners living in tents reoccupied the site in the early hours of Sunday morning. However, the action has provoked Brent Council into issuing all local businesses on the site - including a children's nursery - with an immediate eviction order to leave by Wednesday 30th July 2008. Sunflower Children's Nursery, a church group, and four businesses are being evicted with haste despite recent offers by council officials to
extend their lease until the end of August, as Brent Council push to begin the construction of temporary accomodation for the first 60 pupils in the new Wembley School Academy. Brent Council members approved the planning application on 3rd June for an initial 'pre-academy' for 200 primary-school pupils as a forerunner for the proposed 1,600 pupil Wembley Academy school.

So far, Brent Council have not indicated whether their initial agreement to retain local access to the sports ground and facilities in the Sports Hall will also now cease.

At one of the entrances to the recreation ground where work was to begin this week, barricades have gone up, blocking the only entrance available for construction vehicles to enter the site. The construction of temporary accomodation for the new classrooms had been expected to begin this week. The tent occupation and barricades have delayed Brent Council from proceeding.

The eviction order to the children's nursery and local businesses comes after all leaseholders were originally promised relocation which subsequently did not materialise. Last year, the local businesses signed a "tenancy at will" lease - giving the council the opportunity to evict the businesses with 4 weeks' notice at any time, which was served on June 23rd. Last week, the council offered a new "tenancy at will" lease agreement to extend this until the end of August with conditions attached or face immediate eviction. Businesses refused, yet talks continued into extending their time till the end of August.

For the next academic year, 60 pupils will either be housed in portacabins on one of the sports fields or in the sports hall, a leaking dilapidated building that needs some serious work. Both options, to be fully funded by the local taxpayer and not by Ark, the private investor in the Wembley Academy school, have been criticised by local MP Barry Gardener. Even if the building is refurbished, it will then have to be subsequently knocked down for the new school academy proposed for the site.

Meanwhile, evidence has emerged that neighbouring primary schools have not filled their places for reception classes in September whilst the council has actively encouraged parents to change their school selection preferences in favour of the new academy school. Just two schools shortfall (Wembley Primary and Preston Park - both very near the proposed school) nearly make up the 60 places to be offered in the temporary academy buildings proposed to open in September 08.

Wembley Recreation Ground was occupied last summer for several months by a groups of teachers opposed to the building of the proposed school academy on part of the site. On the 30th of June it was reoccupied; an eviction notice was promptly served, leading to Brent NUT Secretary Hank Roberts having to be removed from the roof of the sports hall on the early morning of Friday 18th having courageously taken a last stand against Brent Council and the Ark Academy.

For more Information, contact: Sam 07533 192116, Hank 0776 2737 306, Jean
0784 3282450, Mark 07835 921708.

More coverage.

The Wembley Ark Academy is an American and British educational charity sponsored and run by a group of millionaire merchant bankers and currency speculators, led by french/swiss and multimillionaire Arpad Busson. Arpad "Arki" Busson is senior partner of EIM fund management company (with assets reported as ranging from £5 billion to £10 billion). The Ark Academy is estimated to cost around £30 million of public money yet would be privately run. Unlike PFI in the NHS, the taxpayer puts up virtually all of the initial capital cost. The UK school academy scheme itself is largely financed the UK taxpayer, which the private investors are then able to make a profit from. Sponsors receive the entire school budget directly from the Government.

Ark is set to run 12 Academy schools throughout the UK, six of which will be opened by September 2008. One reason the Wembley Academy opening date was moved forward from September 2009 to 2008 was because local opposition against the Academy has been so massive in Brent, Ark thought that advancing the school start date would crush the resistance.

Last year, teachers protesting against the academy occupied the site for six months. The site was vacated when the protestors secured a year's extension for all leaseholders on the site. However, Brent Council issued eviction notices, as was their right in accordance with the terms of the agreement of their "Tenancy-at-Will" leasehold agreement, to all businesses on the site to leave by 31st July. This high handed threat was issued after the council had promised in writing to help with ensuring all businesses would be relocated, including the Sunflower nursery children. No assistance was subsequently offered.

Previous posts:
Smash School Privatisation: Wembley Sports Ground Re-Occupied - Support Needed

Wembley Sports Ground: GRASS Call Out:

ITV London Tonight Report: