A press release from our council’s dynamic press office slammed in to our email in-box just after 2pm today. Someone had thoughtfully passed it on to us, since the council’s press office seems to think they don’t need to deal with Inside Croydon.
The press release was to promote a public information event being held on… Monday. Yep, the next business day.
Having missed the newspaper deadlines for today’s Croydon Sadvertiser (which apparently is still bought by nearly 6,000 people each week) or for next week’s Croydon Guardian, and not even bothering to send the press release to the only independent news website based in the borough, it might almost seem as if the council was trying its hardest to make sure as few people as possible attend their important consultation event.
The event is about a new special school to be built in New Addington.
Ultimately responsible for this tardy issuing of publicity about Monday’s event is Alisa Flemming, who is supposed to be the council cabinet member for children, families and learning, but is probably best known for her role presiding over the disaster that is Croydon’s failing children’s services department.
And all on £43,339 a year council allowances, too.
There a sense of the council somehow pushing this through with a degree of urgency. Buried towards the end of the press release is the line: “A planning application for Addington Valley Academy is expected to be submitted to the council before the end of the year, and there will be formal consultation as part of the planning process.” There are now, officially, just 14 working days before 2019…
The press release also says, “Members of the public are invited to come find out about the proposals for Croydon’s new special free school at an information event on Monday (10 December).
“Due to open in September 2020, the Addington Valley Academy will be a new state-of-the-art school for 150 pupils aged from 2-19, with Autism Spectrum Disorder and learning difficulties.
“Monday’s event will take place on the proposed site of the new development, in the Timebridge Community Centre in Fieldway, New Addington CR0 9AZ, from 5.30pm-7.30pm. Attendees will be able to find out more about the proposals, ask council officers…” meaning council staff, “…questions and give feedback.
“The new school is being developed by Croydon Council with funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). Earlier this year the council and the ESFA appointed Orchard Hill College Academy Trust as the provider who will run the school.
“The proposals form part of a wider project, including the demolition of the existing Timebridge Community Centre, which will be replaced with a brand new community building.“
The press office flaks then attributed a badly written quote to Flemming (had she bothered to read it properly before signing off on it?): “This an exciting development.”
And in apparent defiance of the council giving so little notice of the event, Flemming is supposed to have said, “I would urge anyone with any interest to come along on Monday and find out more.”
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