Chakra:
News

In the News:
Fight to Stop School Heats Up

by Sukhi Anand

Posted November 1, 2006

PROTESTS against the proposed site for a Hindu school stepped up a gear this week.

Residents living near the William Ellis playing fields off Camrose Avenue in Edgware, are unhappy that Harrow Council has agreed in principle to the development on the site.

Holding placards reading "Leave our green fields green" and "Save William Ellis playing field", some made their feelings clear as councillors arrived for a meeting of the full council on Thursday last week. continued...

Lilian Fox, 81, of Broomgrove Gardens said: "They shouldn't be building on it, it is for sports only.

"They don't know what they are letting themselves in for."

Residents' primary concern is that increased traffic will clog up the already congested roads.

Polly Bhowmik, 63, of Broomgrove Gardens, said: "We don't want the school because there are lots of schools here already. This is a residential area, parking will be a problem."

Handing in a petition of 120 signatures, the protestors were fuming when the Mayor refused to hear their grievances at the meeting, saying they were too late submitting their request.

Desmond Tighe, of Biddiford Close, said: "The question would have taken just 30 seconds and they wouldn't even give us that much of their time. It seems very unfair."

The Krishna Avanti Primary, the UK's first state-funded Hindu school, would be run by the charity the I-foundation, which won 9.8 million funding from the Department for Education and Skills last year.

The campaign against the development has been dogged by anonymous letters sent to residents and councillors.

The libellous letters bring up claims of child abuse that allegedly occurred within the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon), with which the I-foundation is associated, in America nearly 30 years ago.

The allegations were investigated but no charges were ever brought against any Iskcon members.

Colin Ricks, 68, of Biddiford Close, and fellow residents have formed the William Ellis Action Group to oppose the development.

He said: "We want nothing to do with any allegations of the fitness or otherwise of the organisation to run a school."

At 6.30pm on Tuesday next week (October 31), councillors, council officers and residents will meet at Canons High School in Shaldon Road, Canons Park, for a public meeting.

sanand@london.newsquest.co.uk

Click Here for the article in Harrow Times