I was rubbing my eyes in disbelief as I watched Labour councillors block the construction of a new state school in the heart of Burnt Oak.

We had a vote at Barnet council’s assets, regeneration and growth committee on Monday, June 1, for the Watling Park Academy. Barnet schools are massively popular, and dozens of local parents are looking forward to sending their children to Watling Park this autumn.

This vote was crucial. Once we said yes, it would go to planning committee next month, allowing temporary buildings to go up in time for September. It was a tight deadline, so the Conservatives had everything lined up, ready to go.

The four Labour councillors didn’t even bother to vote. Instead, they used a procedural device to freeze the decision until it could be approved at full council – which isn’t due to meet until the end of July. Since there’s no planning committee meeting in August, it will be completely impossible to construct a temporary building on site in time for the start of the new school year. We told them this at the meeting but they ignored us.

Some 41 children have already signed up for Watling Park Academy. I have no idea where Barnet Labour thinks these children are supposed to be taught this autumn. These councillors have trampled on their plans, and their parents will be frantic with worry. I think Labour owes the whole borough an explanation.

Cllr Gabriel Rozenberg

Con/ Garden Suburb Barnet council