Islington Council leader in ugly spat with Archway campaigners outside town hall

The leader of Islington Council had an ugly spat with campaigners who questioned the reputation of her daughter’s school in front of the town hall.

Tensions flared between Cllr Catherine West and members of the Ashmount Site Action Group (ASAG) following a meeting of the Labour-run executive on Tuesday night which included a planning brief of the site being approved.

In a heated row, she was heard to say: “You’d rather have a private school and posh people living there. Is that what you want?”

ASAG members mentioned that Ashmount Primary School in Hornsey Lane, Archway, which is moving into a new site off Crouch Hill in October, does not have the best reputation, despite being rated “good” by Ofsted.

The group is fighting to keep the site for educational use and is supportive of “free school” applications. The council wants it converted for housing.

Speaking to the Gazette, Cllr West said: “Unfortunately there were some angry exchanges which is down to the fact what we’re doing is difficult. It’s difficult for some people to understand just how pressing the housing crisis is. I hate bringing things down to class, but people just don’t understand some of the decisions an inner city council like ours has to make. There’s a fundamental lack of understanding about the level of crisis in housing.”

ASAG says there will be a crisis in primary school places in the near future if the building is lost, which the council denies.