Posts Tagged ‘Skills Centre’

Council Tax being set tonight

March 2, 2010

Last week I attended an Executive Meeting of the Council.  Here was the agenda.  Item 5 was relevant to Feltham and I made the point about the massive importance of dealing with under-achievement, improving standards in schools and in increasing the profile of skills training.

Tonight is Borough Council and the big one for we are setting the Council Tax.  There are already two proposals.  I very much hope that we can continue with our successes in delivering no increase.  Here is the agenda.

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Two articles in the Chronicle

August 28, 2009

The news about Feltham Community School and its GCSE results is brilliant.  The Head Teacher at this school has impressed a lot of people with her very clear commitment to turnaround and the highest academic and personal standards.  Well done to everyone and those young people have done well throughout the Borough.

I have not yet read a hard copy of the Chronicle but am aware of the latest on the FCA Building.  There are two people I wish to speak with, both of whom are on leave but there are two things that I find odd about the article:

a) No reference to the word “temporary” in the article and this word is important – see the actual application.

b) The claim that the plans for a skills centre have fallen by the wayside.  We have had bad news that we cannot proceed now but that does not mean that this location cannot be used for this purpose in the future.

I want a new Skills Centre and NOT more flats

July 22, 2009

Just been alerted to this article.  Someone could take the impression that the site has actually been formally discussed since the Government decided that this application was not as high a priority for them as others.

The irony of the article stating that I have raised the prospect of flats on this site could not be under-estimated.  The thought of flats on this site is something I find very hard to stomach.

Whilst I maintain that this site was brilliant in terms of raising the profile of skills training, one of the other reasons I liked the use of a Skills Centre here is that it avoided the risk of more flats.

Maybe some who were critical of me previously now realise why the decision to forego a capital receipt on this site was a brave and good decision?  A big commitment to the people of Feltham.

I have serious doubts that the site is worth £5 million as claimed in the article.

Latest on Skills Centre

May 6, 2009

Whilst I was sitting in on a Stage 3 Complaint hearing, the Sustainable Development Committee were discussing the planning application for the above.  The vote was very tight indeed.  7 voted for and 6 voted against.

It was never going to be the perfect planning application with the footprint being relatively small but I have always been of the view that this is truly a winner because of location, location, location!

We have a really opportunity now – subject to the funding coming through – to increase the profile of skills training in the West Area of the Borough more than ever before.  This is surely good news for young people and for the local economy!

I wonder whether certain sections of the media will continue their negative stories.  For me, this is the right thing to do!

Visit from David Willets MP

March 30, 2009

David Willets MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, came to Feltham to listen to our concerns about the recent question mark over funding for a new skills centre in the Feltham area.  In attendance were me, Victoria Eadie (Head Teacher at Feltham Community College), Marjorie Semple (Principle West Thames College), Cllr Paul Lynch (Lead Member Children’s Services and Lifelong Learning) & Angela Rench (Officer from LBH).  We took a walk around the proposed site and had a very constructive discussion about the specific issues in Feltham.

This is the second time he has visited the constituency in as many years.  I am hugely grateful to him for his time – he offered some excellent advice!

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L to R:  Mark Bowen, Victoria Eadie, Marjorie Semple, David Willets MP, Cllr Paul Lynch

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Despite the acknowledgement that the footprint of the site has been a constraint, it does go further back than someone may expect when looking at it from the High Street.  I am pleased to hear of the college talking about further community benefit if this goes ahead e.g. voluntary groups, luncheon clubs etc.

No stone must be left unturned to achieve our goal of raising the profile of skills training in Feltham.

So much for the Front Page headline in last week’s Chronicle about us letting the site go to rot!

Skills Centre

March 13, 2009

Last night, there was an agenda item at the West Area Planning Meeting regarding the above (for consultation).   See agenda item 6.

As it came for consultation only, I participated.  There were a number of objectors and some good points were made.

Aside from Planning, I remain a strong supporter of this idea.    I also noted this about some of the financial issues

Alternative sites for Skills Centre?

March 1, 2009

I got a mention in the letters page in the Chronicle for the second time in as many weeks.  The author is a constituent of mine and he and I have exchanged emails in the past.  I very much hope that he reads my blog.

My view has not changed.  I cannot think of a better way to raise the profile of skills training in Feltham by relocating the Skills Centre to a High Street location.  I am already on record as having stated that I did not like the images that were presented to the West Area Monitoring Committee and expect something different as part of a planning application that has been submitted.  My constituent said, “so what will happen when the skills centre attracts additional students from surrounding boroughs?”  My response is that I expect a deliberate effort on the part of West Thames College to increase the proportion of local students i.e. from the Feltham, Bedfont & Hanworth area.  I also would expect it to be chepear for students to catch one of the many buses than to drive and pay to park.

However, and most crucially, reference was made to alternative sites near public transport and I would be interested to know where these are?

I hope that this discussions remains current as this scheme is being looked at by the Learning & Skills Council.

David Willetts MP visits Feltham

March 11, 2008

I was very pleased that David Willetts MP took time out of his busy schedule to visit the Skills Centre in Feltham.  What was most impressive was the very clear and deliberate way in which he was asking questions from everyone he met in order to assist his own “education” about this aspect of his portfolio.  The students seemed very pleased at his interest in them and the college.

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In the picture are:
Me, Jim Richardson (Brick work lecturer), David Willetts MP, Stuart Hasley, Councillor Lin Davies (Deputy Lead Member for Childrens Services and Lifelong Learning), Mary MacLeod (Conservative Parliamentary Candidate in Brentford & Isleworth), Petrina Hosier