A JCB has been mysteriously disabled which the council were seeking to use to clear a sizeable barricade which has been assembled to block an entrance to the site which contractors have planned to use. There is video and photographic evidence of heavyhanded treatment by baliffs, on protestors and members of the press. Protestors resisted eviction from the 3 acre sports ground in North Wembley by climbing in trees, d-locking onto fencing and sitting down and linking arms. One protestor remains in one of the trees, whilst twelve other campaigners have been physically removed with heavy force.
Press for video/stills of physical assault by Brent Council baliffs on protestors at eviction at wembley Sports Ground this morning:
Jason N. Parkinson
NUJ & IFJ Freelance Video & Print Journalist
Campaigners living in tents occupied the site on Sunday 27th July, halting construction work by Brent Council which was meant to have been started the following day, as Brent Council push to begin the construction of temporary accommodation for the first 60 pupils in the new Wembley School Academy. The action 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, a motorcycle training centre and a carwash are being evicted with haste despite recent offers by council officials to extend their lease until the end of August.
Wembley Sports Ground, which has been used by the local community for over 100 years, is currently used by over 150 young people each week. Local kids pay just £1 an hour to use the football training ground. Campaigners cite the fact that in 2006, Splash Football Training Academy also in Brent were charged £3,000 every 10 weeks by former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s flagship Capital City Academy in Stonebridge, South Brent – an unaffordable arrangement which they subsequently discontinued.
On 3rd June, Brent Council approved planning permission for an initial 'pre-academy' for 60 primary-school pupils to be housed in portacabins on one of the sports fields. This Pre-Academy school is a forerunner for the educational charity Ark's proposed 1,600 pupil Wembley Park Academy School. Ark are 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.
Brent Council have already promised several parents that their children have places in the unbuilt school, which is due to open at the beginning of the school year in September. With less than five weeks to go, it has become clear that the privately-owned and run academy will not be built in time. Sources say that the plan is for several portacabins to be laid out to start with, while the school itself will be built around the students during the school year.
The campaign by locals against the proposed School Academy and save Wembley Sports Ground has been going for the past two years. The site was occupied last summer for 6 months by a group of teachers opposed to the building of the proposed school academy on the site. On the 30th of June this year 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.
Though Brent Council has given a verbal guarantee 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).
The Wembley Ark Educational Charity 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.
On Friday 1st August, seven protestors occupied the Central London offices of ARK for an hour and a half.