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Government investigation launched into Enfield Borough Council spending school cash on CCTV cameras and road works
The Government will investigate Enfield Borough Council’s plans to spend money allocated to pay for new schools on CCTV and road works.
The Cuckoo Hall Academies Trust received thousands of pounds from the Government to help pay for the creation of Kingfisher Hall Primary Academy in Cuckoo Hall Lane in Edmonton.
However, Enfield North MP Nick de Bois asked in Parliament why some of the money – which the council claims to be approximately £50,000 - will be spent on CCTV for parking control, footway improvements and traffic management.
The Conservative MP asked Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles: “All the money awarded for the building of a new free school in my constituency should go to benefit our children’s education, so is the Secretary of State surprised to learn that Enfield council is demanding tens of thousands of pounds of that budget for section 106 costs, providing no educational support?”
The secretary of state said Mr de Bois made a “reasonable point,” which the Government are looking into it as a “matter of urgency.”
However, Enfield’s cabinet member for children and young people, Councillor Ayfer Orhan, defended the council’s actions.
He said a report requested during a planning committee that approximately £50,000 was spent on improving highways relating to the development of the schools.
He also said there had been a request for "minor landscaping" and "tree planting."
Cllr Orhan said: "These have been discussed with the applicant and are no different to the sort of measures and costs required if the local authority was locating or expanding a maintained school there.
"Any new educational provision, be it free school, academy or maintained will have an impact on traffic and the environment and ameliorating the impact of these issues costs money and there is no differentiation between different types of schools."
However, Mr de Bois told the Enfield Independent: “With Enfield suffering a shortage of primary school places in the borough, this news will anger parents who will question why the council has prioritised CCTV installation instead of funding school places.”