by John Walton

FORMER Surrey Heath Mayor Roy Lilley danced into the attack this week, accusing local MP Nick Hawkins, the borough's planning department and the chairman of the Elmhurst Ballet School governors, Canon Robert Crossley, of "a conspiracy of silence" over the school's projected move to Birmingham.

The veil on the school plans was lifted by the Star last week, but MP Hawkins told another local paper this week that he had been aware of the move for some time and had been in discussions with the college.

Mr Lilley said that councillors had not known about the plans.

"Is this town being run by a vicar, an MP and a planning officer or by elected members?" he demanded.

He said that the borough had been forced to pass other housing schemes in order to meet Government quotas because they did not know that the three-and-a-half acre site was going to be available for housing.

"The MP should have told members and so should the planning officer," he said. "There has been a conspiracy of silence to keep members in the dark."

Mr Lilley said that he would not personally be sorry to see Elmhurst go as it did very little for the local community.

Canon Crossley said talk of a conspiracy theory was sadly misplaced. There had been no secret negotiations and negotiations for the relocation to Birmingham had been concluded just two weeks ago.

The school was a registered charity and as trustees the governors would be putting the property on the open market in the next few months and it had to go to the highest bidder. No planning application had been submitted yet and possession of the land would not be given until August.

Canon Crossley said Mr Hawkins had long been a helpful adviser and friend to the school. Elmhurst would be sad to leave Camberley after so long but the opportunity to become an official associate school of the Birmingham Royal Ballet was an irresistible attraction.