The eco-squatters, calling themselves ‘Alternative Energies’ have now been occupying the old Harland First School site for almost 2 months, claiming that they are protecting the land for educational use for future generations, despite there being sufficient primary school places in the area.
Councillor Geraldine Stanford, Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, said:
“The closure of Harland First School, was an integral part of the Schools Reorganisation project completed in 2003. It was sold to KingsOak in January this year, with the capital being reinvested into schools in Merton. Children attending Harland First School were not disadvantaged in any way by the closure of their school as each child in Merton had to re-apply for a place in their preferred school.
“It concerns me that the group calling themselves ‘Alternative Energies’ have been running the old school building as a learning establishment, allowing and encouraging local children to trespass onto the property to use the facilities. They are not educational professionals, so should not be attempting to provide any type of schooling to children at such an impressionable age.
“We manage school places on a yearly basis in the borough, with places being either created or removed from schools according to demand. There are at present more than sufficient primary school places in the area. No child in the area surrounding the old Harland First School would be without a primary school place.”