Public meeting to take place on Towers School expansion after original date ‘not publicised’ to Hornchurch residents

Cllr Damian White

Cllr Damian White - Credit: Archant

A janitor had to hand-deliver invitations to a public consultation after Havering Council failed to publicise it to local residents, a councillor has alleged.

Cllr Damian White, who chairs the towns and communities overview and scrutiny committee, added householders around Towers School, Hornchurch, had only been informed of the public meeting on the day.

As a result, he arranged a further public meeting tonight (Thursday) to bring local residents up to speed on the plans to increase the capacity of the infant and junior schools by 90 places.

Cllr White (Conservative, Hylands) said he had had complaints from “four or five” residents that they did not know about the meeting organised for November 7 in time to attend. But he added the council had fulfilled its statutory responsibility by publicising the meeting in the local press and on the school gates.

“The school thought the council had delivered a notice to all local residents but it hadn’t,” he explained, “because they were just fulfilling the statutory requirements.

“So the head knocked up a flyer and asked the janitor to deliver it on the day.

“This led to quite a few residents contacting me saying they were upset they hadn’t received it in time and felt the school expansion was almost a done deal,” he said.

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School neighbour Martin Jacobs, 70, said the fact he hadn’t been told about the initial meeting in advance was “crazy”. He added he had received the school’s notification flyer three hours after the November meeting had taken place.

But the council insisted it had told about 100 local addresses about the meetings, which ended up attracting about 30 people, the day before the first one took place.

Council leader Cllr Michael White said: “We want to give all residents a chance to find out the details of our plans and to ask questions.

“Therefore, we were happy to arrange an additional information meeting for residents.”

If you wish to attend Cllr Damian White’s meeting and are a local householder or the parent of a Towers pupil, contact Cllr White on 07733 260 557 or e-mail