Monday, 23 October 2017

Check the record of Laing O'Rourke winner of £700m Brent Cross pre-construction contract

--> It was announced today that Laing O’Rouke has been appointed under a pre-construction agreement as part of a two stage tender process for the main construction work of the Brent Cross  regeneration with an overall value of £700m.
Laing O’Rourke will work with Hammerson and Standard Life Investments to finalise the design and procurement in order to enable a start on site in 2018. 

The regeneration of Brent Cross London will double the size of the existing centre to 2 million sq ft of retail and leisure space. This will include up to 150 new retail stores and 50 new restaurants, a leisure and cinema offer, hotel accommodation and, it is claimed, improved public spaces including a new town square. The plans also include a relocated and enlarged bus station as well as, it is claimed, improved transport and highways infrastructure.

The regeneration has been opposed by residents in both Barnet and Brent concerned with over-development and and a significant increase in traffic. See Coalition for A Sustainable Brent Cross

O’Rourke hit problems earlier this year when it posted a £245m loss as a result of a PFI contract in Montreal. LINK

Earlier in October this year  two subsidaries of the company were fined a total of £3.8m after a worker was crushed by an 11 tonne concrete panelin Worksop in 2014. LINK

HSE inspector Stuart Pilkington said after the hearing: “This tragic incident led to the avoidable death of a young man, whose death could easily have been prevented if the companies had acted following previous warnings to identify and manage the risks involved, maintain the equipment, and put a safe system of work in place.”

Laing O’Rourke was fined £800,000 in March of this year over an incident in which, again in 2014, a worker crushed his own brother to death while driving a dumper at a building site for a multi-storey car park at Heathrow Terminal 2. LINK

'Alice in the Cuckoo's Nest' Barham Community Library December 12th and 20th

From Barham Community Library

Live Theatre is coming back to Barham Community Library.

Our friends at the Librarian Theatre are performing their version of Alice. 

We offer a choice of two evening performances on Tuesday 12 December or Wednesday 20 December both starting at 7:30p.m.  

As we have options for more performances we are encouraging early orders so we can decide on possible extra performances (including an afternoon Matinee) just before Xmas on 22nd and 23rd December.

Please help us out by ordering your tickets as early as you can.

Note from the Wembley Matters Editor: 

Alice in the Cuckoo’s Nest re-imagines Lewis Carroll’s classic story in the setting of a modern day mental institution. Although the show is family friendly, it is a far cry from the innocent adventure portrayed in Walt Disney’s 1951 film.

Please note that this is not a children’s show, and the production explores adult themes of mental health.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Sink the Ark! Hendon Town Hall October 25th

From Barnet Parents Defending Education

ARK want the old Barnet football ground at Underhill, for a computer-based learning system which reduces the need for teachers so the academy chain makes savings by staffing cuts and supersize classrooms. 

Blended learning technology was commissioned by venture capitalists in the USA who hope to see ARK trial it in a London school. 

Is this what we want for our young people and staff?
  • Residents are seriously concerned about the narrow, bendy, country roads around Barnet Lane and Mays Lane which become congested as it is.
  • Two large secondary schools opposite each other is unwelcome. The Totteridge Academy is rapidly improving and is linked to the community.

Why sell our Greenbelt? 
  • Barnet Council sold our Greenbelt land, to Tony Kleanthous, of Barnet Football Club for the price of a basic car - 14 years ago.
Government Education Dept. paid Tony £14.2 Million to buy it!

  • Why was public money spent before planning permission was granted and at a time when existing schools are suffering cuts and have had cuts year on year, to their education budgets?

  • Now ARK Pioneer propose to change the roads to two lanes which overall is unlikely to help and costs Millions from the Education budget and Barnet Council will have to pay almost half of the costs. Is this what local residents want? Is this best for our Borough?
Come to Hendon Town Hall on Wed. 25th Oct

The ARK PIONEER planning permission meeting is
on: Wednesday 25th Oct. 2017.
Start:7.00pm. But even 8ish will show you care. All Welcome. 

It is your right to attend and hear what is planned.

They Hoped YOU would not find out that this was coming to the Town Hall on Wed.
Even the local Councillors were only informed a few days ago about Wed. 25th Oct

Show you care about a residents voice and education across the whole borough.
500 responses to the consultation on Ark Pioneer only 35 in support.

Contact: Barnet Parents Defending Education at:

 The Council are proclaiming a need for more school places but this is related to the whole Borough in the future.

There is no need for a new school in Underhill and the seven surrounding Wards.

Over the whole borough, several schools have spare places, including Bishop Douglas and Christ College in Finchley as well as Whitefields and others.
Saracens have land and will shortly open through school in Mill Hill/Colindale area.

The Totteridge Academy last year raised exam results by 20% so that 67% of pupils got 5 A - C grades. But this school needs continued support NOT competition from ARK pioneer.

The Borough of Barnet has 10 academy companies currently. Most are small and some have excellent policies. But Ark are so powerful it will greatly distort and damage current and future relationships between schools and the Council.

Let us know if you want info regarding how ARK plough extra private funding currently into some of their Ark schools to raise exam results. Additionally exclusions are higher than usual in Ark schools. 

But Ark Pioneer is not related to extra private funds but starts a trend towards fewer teachers and the disruption of classroom structure..

Surely, Barnet would  be better off without an 11th Academy Company.

STOP THE HDV: High Court, Oct 25/26 Public vs privatisers of public property

From Stop HDV

The Judicial Review on the Haringey Development Vehicle takes place in the High Court , Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London WC2A 2LL on 25 and 26 October, we hope supporters can come and join us in demonstrating support from 9 to 10 am particularly on the first day 25 October.

There will also be some public seating from 10 am.

The challenge is to Haringey Council setting up a supposedly 50/50 partnership with the Australian multi-national corporation, Lendlease, to take over land and property belonging to the Council, involving demolition and regeneration of estates as well as business premises and private houses in 'red-lined areas’. If it goes ahead it will be the biggest such transfer of local authority resources to a private entity in UK history. Lendlease have now joined Haringey as a defendant of the HDV in court.
 And all this
 without consulting the public on the HDV
  • or taking it to a full Council meeting
  • or sharing any of the financial risks to the public purse and assessment of viability
  • or considering the consequences for the very diverse population and for vulnerable people through equalities impact
  • or due consideration of partnership or company status.
Just ten years after the sell off of Alexandra Palace in Haringey was averted in court, with David Wolfe, QC acting for the claimants in that case, he will lead the legal team in court on 25 October in the attempt to stop the HDV.

None of this would have been possible without the amazing support from the several hundred people who have contributed through our crowdfunding to raise £25,000. £20,000 of this is required for our community cap on any awards which will be requested of the judge. The solicitors for the case, Leigh Day, and the barristers have put a great deal of work in to it, and as a result We are now asking for another £5,000 to make up the fees and costs accruing.

We hope you will make another donation, small or large, if you possibly can. You can donate to the crowdfunder at

This case has implications for the future of social housing in London and beyond, and at a time of acute crisis in that and the need for alternatives to corporate control of housing, for the creation of a fairer system and an end to decanting poorer people, it could be a landmark in helping local authorities change course.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Rally Against School Cuts October 24th

From the National Education Union

Join parents, heads, teachers and support staff and community leaders at a rally to call on the government to reverse school cuts and fairly fund schools. Show your support for the mass lobby of MPs which has been organised to put pressure on the chancellor to take action on funding ahead of next month's budget. The rally starts at 10.30 but if you simply want to show your support at the rally, there will be further events at 12.30.

The Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3DW 

At the morning rally we have the following speakers:
- Angela Rayner MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Education
- Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Education
- Vix Lowthion, Green Party Education Spokesperson
- Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary, National Education
- Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary, National Education Union
- Paul Whiteman, General Secretary, NAHT

At 1pm, the programme of speakers will include:
- John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
- Sir Vince Cable MP
- Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary, National Education
- Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary, National Education Union
- Paul Whiteman, General Secretary, NAHT
- Vix Lowthion, Green Party Education Spokesperson
More TBC

Because of shortfalls in funding, 88% of schools are still facing real-terms cuts despite Government announcements about more money going into the system.

That means less for our children and young people, bigger classes, fewer teachers and staff, a reduced curriculum and parents plugging the gaps.

Hundreds of parents and school staff will be lobbying their MP on the day. To find out how, see

Friday, 20 October 2017

Moth & Bat Night at Welsh Harp October 26th 6.30pm-8.30pm

Booking essential as numbers limited: or

WAKE UP CALL: Nearly half of Londoners worried about city's dangerous air pollution

From the British Heart Foundation

Londoners welcome T-Charge, as BHF warns of dangers of air pollution for capital’s heart health

Nearly half (45%) of Londoners are worried about living in the city due to dangerous levels of air pollution, according to a new poll from the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

The statistics reveal that 81% of Londoners believe the current air pollution levels are putting their health at risk and over a third are put off running (37%) or cycling (38%) in the city because of the potentially deadly air.

The BHF is today highlighting the need for bold action to clean up London’s air, as estimates show that globally, 80 per cent of all premature deaths from air pollution are caused by heart and circulatory disease.

Research shows that both long-term and short-term exposure to air pollution can make existing heart conditions worse and can increase the risk of a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke amongst vulnerable groups.

The poll also found:
• 94% of people in the capital think cleaning up London’s current level of air pollution is important
• Nearly a third (28%) of Londoners don’t want to sit outside in the city
• One in five (19%) Londoners are put off shopping on London High Streets because of air pollution
• 17% of Londoners are put off visiting local parks
• And 12% said the pollution puts them off visiting London’s iconic landmarks

On Monday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan introduces a new daily Toxicity charge or ‘T-charge’ in central London in order to reduce dangerous fumes from polluting vehicles and make London’s air safer.

The air pollution in London has breached legal limits for years and it’s estimated that in 2010 there were nearly 9,500 deaths across London associated with air pollution exposure3, many of which would have been caused by heart and circulatory conditions.

The charge will affect vehicles every week day that don’t meet the minimum exhaust emission standard, or were registered pre-2006.

The BHF’s poll found that over 70% of Londoners support the daily charge of £10 which will operate on top of, and during the same times, as the congestion charge.

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation, said:
“Dangerous levels of air pollution in London are putting the heart health of the general public - particularly those with heart disease - at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke.
“We urgently need to protect Londoners from inhaling deadly air – particularly from small particles in diesel fumes, which our research shows increase the risk of a potentially deadly cardiac event. 
“It’s extremely concerning that London’s toxic air could now force people to consider relocating, or avoid being outside.
“This is a wakeup call to how concerned the people of London are about the air they breathe. The Mayor’s toxicity charge is a step in the right direction, and we look forward to the introduction of a full Ultra Low Emissions Zone in 2019 which will help to further clean up London’s air.” 
Air pollution contributes to around 40,000 premature deaths in the UK each year, many of which are from heart attack and stroke.

BHF researchers have found that tiny particles in diesel and petrol fumes can damage our heart and circulatory systems.

These particles stop blood vessels relaxing and contracting, which increases the risk of clots, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. However, worryingly nearly half (44%) of Londoners are unaware of the danger air pollution poses to the heart.

The BHF is committed to working with the Government to ensure that the most effective measures to clean up the UK’s toxic air are implemented.

Find out how the BHF is fighting back against heart disease at

Hampstead & Kilburn CLP 'outraged' over expulsion of Moshe Machover

Hampstead and Kilburn Constituency Labour Party have strongly backed demands for the reinstatement of Moshe Machover who was expelled from the party for alleged anti-semitism and support for another party.

Hampstead & Kilburn CLP  passed  the motion below overwhelmingly on October 18th: 58 for, none against and 8 abstentions.
The motion is to be sent to the leader of the Labour Party, the National Executive Committee (individually), the National Constitutional Committee (individually), the Head of Disputes and Professor Machover.
This CLP is outraged that:
·         Professor Emeritus Moshe Machover has been expelled from the Party.  Professor Machover is Jewish and Israeli, the distinguished co-founder of Matzpen, the socialist organisation which from the 60s to the 80s brought together Arab and Jewish opposition to the illegal occupation of Palestine;
·         the Head of Disputes has accused Prof Machover of writing an “apparently antisemitic article” according to the new IHRA definition, and further accused him of “membership or support for another political party, or a political organisation with incompatible aims to the Labour Party”.
This CLP notes that:
·         The Chakrabarti Inquiry found that the party’s “. . . complaints and disciplinary procedures . . . lacked sufficient transparency, uniformity and expertise . . .” and called for “the vital legal principles of due process (or natural justice) and proportionality”.
·         The IHRA definition is being monitored by Camden Council to ensure that it is not used to stifle free expression and criticism of Israeli policies.
·         Prof Machover who denies the accusations, has not been given the opportunity to challenge neither the accusation of antisemitism nor his alleged support for another party or organisation.
·         This expulsion is a frightening precedent in a party which is working to be more democratic and called for, in the words of its leader Jeremy Corbyn, ‘support to end the oppression of the Palestinian people, the 50-year occupation and the illegal settlement expansion’.
This CLP therefore calls for:
·         Prof Machover’s expulsion to be immediately rescinded; the letter informing him of his expulsion to be immediately rescinded; and for any allegations against him to be investigated in accordance with due process to take place so that he is given the opportunity to challenge the claims of the Head of Disputes.
·         And further calls on the Labour party to protect the right of members to contribute to the political debate across numerous platforms, without expressing support for other political parties or views contrary to the values of the Labour party.