Monday, 16 October 2017

Cricklewood Super Hub - 2 days left to object to dirt, dust and devastation

Timely reminder to object to the aggregate superhub by 18th October.

Noise, dust and traffic is not what we need in Cricklewood.

If you’ve already objected, have your neighbours and the rest of your household?

It’s a huge deal, don’t just assume others will object.

The effect on air quality and traffic on the A5 and surrounding roads will be horrendous, dangerous even, and it is going to impact our health and quality of life.

This kind of thing doesnt belong in a residential area, especially one with two schools.

You can email the case officer to object using he case reference below.

Clean Air for Brent volunteers ready and willing to improve air quality in the borough

The volunteers
Update from Clean Air for Brent

New voluntary body, Clean Air for Brent (CAfB), formally launched at Willesden Library on the evening of Wednesday 11 October 2017. Fiona Mulaisho of Kensal Rise chaired an enthusiastic meeting of some 30 people who enrolled as members and elected a Steering Group to take the organisation forward. Priorities for action were identified.
Clean Air for Brent is a coalition of residents’ associations, community groups and individuals in Brent focused on raising awareness, changing behaviours and lobbying for better measures to tackle air pollution to improve public health outcomes.  
Tulip Siddiq MP had hoped to attend but was detained by Parliamentary duties. In a message to the meeting she said:
“I believe Sadiq Khan is saying the right things about air quality in London and it is high time local authority action plans’ ambition matched his own. Ultimately, however, it will be down to government to introduce the sweeping changes needed to make local air cleaner and within legal limits… I look forward to working closely with Clean Air for Brent in the coming months to advance their campaigning objectives.”
Cllr Ellie Southwood, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, explained that Brent’s Air Quality Action Plan will go to Council for approval in November but there are many initiatives already underway. Recently all Brent schools had been sent an anti-idling toolkit to promote efforts to reduce pollution from vehicles outside schools, including from school runs.  Clean Air for Brent is ready to support any actions the Council can take to clear the air we breathe.
Clean Air for Brent reported on a range of activities they have undertaken during their formation process. These included monitoring air pollution in local streets as part of a citizen science project across London, holding “The Air We Breathe” event in Brent Civic Centre in July, attended by 80 people, setting up a website and responding in depth to local, regional and national consultations.
A lively action planning session brought forward numerous ideas for priority actions for Clean Air for Brent which the Steering Group welcomed as guidance for its next steps. There are volunteering opportunities both for experts and those with little knowledge but with enthusiasm to tackle air pollution projects individually and together. 
As Cllr Ellie Southwood said: 
“We know there is an army of people out there who are really passionate about this and can help us make a difference.”
For Clean Air for Brent Fiona Mulaisho thanked people for attending and said :
“We are ready to go and looking for more volunteers.”

You can volunteer  via the contact page on the website or by emailing the .

The more people that can respond to the Mayor's London Environment Strategy consultation (or at least the air quality section) the more our voices will be heard.  It closes on 17th November and here is a link:

Welcome progress on Climate Change at TUC Congress

Welcome progress on climate change was made at this year's TUC Congress. The latest Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter for October 2017 LINK contains the following reports.
Unions want power sector back!
This year’s TUC Congress in Brighton unanimously agreed new, far reaching policies demanding the democratic control of energy and a modern low carbon industrial strategy. An ambitious motion from the Bakers’ Union brings the trade union movement much closer to the vision set out in Labour’s election manifesto. It also brought a dozen delegates to the rostrum, urging the TUC to campaign for the UK’s rigged energy system to return to democratic control, and to work with unions on a cross-sector industrial strategy to tackle ‘the irrefutable evidence that dangerous climate change is driving unprecedented changes to our environment’ 
Addressing TUC Congress: Sarah Woolley, Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union
The TUC motion LINK proposed in a speech by Sarah Woolley from the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU – see picture), has five key demands for the TUC to:
   Campaign to bring the UK’s rigged energy system under democratic control. 

   Back a mass programme of homes insulation 

   Demand rights for workplace environmental reps 

   Demand that Just Transition in integral to industrial strategy 

   Consult with unions on a cross-sector industrial strategy focused on our internationally agreed carbon emission reduction targets. 
Sarah Woolley argued that the breakdown of the planet’s climate is a core issue for her union, with its global impacts on food production and distribution. Agriculture and food manufacture, processing and transport accounted for a tenth of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, hurricanes were devastating the Caribbean, while floods in India had caused massive damage to its infrastructure. And the UK’s rigged energy market would not deliver secure, low carbon and affordable energy for all. ‘We need an industrial strategy to confront the realities of climate change. All sectors need their just transition strategies,’ Sarah argued. 
See the full text of the TUC motion on page 7
Best ever green fringe at TUC?
At one of the best attended green fringe meetings at this year’s TUC, Suzanne Jeffrey, chair of the Campaign Against Climate Change, announced that her organisation was planning a national conference on Climate and Jobs - another world is possible on 10 March 2018 (note date in your diary!). She said the new TUC commitments provided an opportunity for progressive new policies for the labour movement. 

CACC speakers: Chris Baugh, Sarah Woolley, Suzanne Jeffrey, Diana Holland 
The Campaign Against Climate Change meeting was backed by the Greener Jobs Alliance. Here’s how union leaders spoke of the need to tackle climate change:
   Sarah Woolley, BFAWU regional secretary: ‘We need to know much more about the impacts of climate change and explain it to our members. We need to be at the forefront, getting our members trained as environmental reps in the workplace.’ Tackling fuel poverty and bringing energy back into our ownership were two key priorities. 

   Diana Holland, Unite’s Assistant General Secretary: ‘Jobs and a safe climate...We have to deal with both...we have to make those words Just Transition really mean something for union members.’ We cannot protect transport workers’ jobs without acknowledging the impacts of transport on the environment. For example, Unite is tackling diesel emissions as a workplace health and safety issue through its Diesel Emissions Exposure register LINK  ‘Because we work in so-called environmentally damaging industries, doesn’t mean we aren’t in the game,’ she said. The union is taking various steps to raise awareness among union members and engaging them in consultations with employers. 

   Chris Baugh, Assistant General Secretary PCS: 
‘We have come a long way in the past year, by focussing on the core issues of just transition and energy democracy.’ In PCS, in Lancashire, PCS members are challenging claims that fracking will create a jobs bonanza, when there are abundant opportunities in other sectors. And at Heathrow, a PCS study on jobs in aviation LINK  has helped inform the debate on the real economic benefits of expanding aviation capacity. 

   Graham Petersen said the online environmental education courses provided by the Greener Jobs Alliance, including a new unit on air quality, was filling a gap in mainstream trade union education programmes. 

   Sean Sweeney from Trade Unions for Energy Democracy said that there’s a growing community of unions pushing for public ownership and control of energy as a means of controlling climate breakdown LINK 

Friday, 13 October 2017

Planning Committee raises issues on Colin Road, Dennis Jackson Centre and Queensbury redevelopment proposals

The Planning Committee heard three pre-application presentations at their meeting on October 9th and the Minutes of the meeting have been published.  All three have featured onWembley Matters. LINK

The Committee received a briefing on a pre-application scheme for a mixed use development consisting of 224 residential units, a supermarket, nursery, gym, café, workshops and amenity space.

Peter Mahoney and Nick Francis (R55) presented the scheme and answered members questions. Members then went into a session during which they examined the proposal and raised the following issues for further consideration prior to submission of a planning application.
The main issues raised at the meeting were:

Issue 1 – Locally Significant Industrial Site
·         Concern about loss of existing shopping parade and jobs.

Issue 2 – Affordable Housing and Workspace
·         Advocate 25% family housing.
·         Ensure no ‘poor doors’ for affordable housing provision.
·         Questioned reduction from initial proposal in terms of level of affordable housing provision from 65% to 50%.
·         Queried tenure split not following policy.
Issue 3 – A1 retail use in out of town location
·         Concerns about large servicing vehicles and impact on residential amenity.

Issue 4 – Scale, massing, height and impact on daylight/sunlight
·         Concern raised about the amount of development on the site.
·         Potential for public space to attract ant-social behaviour.
·         Difficult to provide detailed comments without full information (i.e. daylight sunlight report) for analysis.

Issue 5 – Public Realm
·         No further comments.

Other Comments
·         Question whether adequate servicing and parking provided.
·         Assurance pre-application consultation carried out.
·         There should be an extra pedestrian crossing and traffic calming (particularly in view of proposed nursery).
·         Should be crossings at both ends of development.
·         Not clear on need for pedestrian route through development as other quicker alternative routes.
·         Question how parking for LIDL shop would be managed.      

The Committee received a briefing on a pre-application scheme which proposed thedemolition of existing community centre and erection of three buildings ranging in height from 3- to 6-storeys containing 150 residential units (including private, temporary and NAIL tenure housing), including a replacement community centre.

Stephen Martin and Charlotte Pollard (PRP Architects) presented the scheme and answered members questions. Members then went into a session during which they examined the proposal and raised the following issues for further consideration prior to submission of a planning application.
The main issues raised at the meeting were:

Issue 1 – Principle of development
·         Full detail of community centre would be required.
·         Queried rationale behind loss of open space.

Issue 2 – Housing, tenure mix, including Affordable Housing
·         Council own development should be 100% affordable housing.

Issue 3 – Design, height and massing of development within its local context.
Queried rationale behind building heights.

Issue 4 – Impact on amenity of neighbouring properties
·         Need clarification on daylight/sunlight.

Issue 5 – Quality of residential accommodation
·         Concern over stacking of units.
·         Concern as to whether sufficient amenity space is being provided.
·         A compromise on quality for temporary accommodation should not be accepted (temporary can be for a fairly long period). E.g. Lack of windows to kitchens not considered acceptable.
·         Queried whether space would be provided in the NAIL accommodation for visitors to stay.
·         Provision should be made in NAIL accommodation to store mobility vehicles.

Issue 6 – Transport
·         Need to consider ‘no right turn’ to London Rd from Wembley High Rd.
·         Over provision of cycle parking?
·         Concern over additional activity on London Road, particularly on event days.

Other Comments
·         Detailed construction plan required to include routes for vehicles, hours operation etc to ensure impact on residents minimised. 
·         Queried level of community engagement.

(Queensbury pub)
The Committee received a briefing on a pre-application for a scheme for the replacement of existing building (containing a public house and former members club) with a mixed use development comprising a public house and function room (A4) and 48 residential flats (C3)..

Luke Raistrick, Nick Mokasis and John Losi (Martin Robeson Planning Practice) presented the scheme and answered members questions. Members then went into a session during which they examined the proposal and raised the following issues for further consideration prior to submission of a planning application.
The main issues raised at the meeting were:

Issue 1 – Principle
·         Need to ensure that the community space is not just finished to ‘shell and core’ standard.

Issue 2 – Design, Heritage and Impact on Conservation Area
·         Concern regarding massing and density.
·         Concern regarding modern design.
·         Concern over loss of existing building- consider façade retention?
·         Queried how it can be demonstrated that the building will be of high quality.
·         Queried depth of frontage.
·         Restrictions should be placed on use of balconies to avoid clutter.

Issue 3 – Scale, massing, height and impact on daylight/sunlight
·         Would require confirmation that complies with Council’s standards.

Issue 4 – Public Realm
·         No further comments. 

Issue 5 – Affordable Housing
·         Require up to date financial modelling. 

Issue 6 – Standard of Accommodation
·         Noise mitigation needed in view of proximity to railway line.

Other Comments
·         Queried response to consultation.
·         Comments have not suggested that the proposed building is exceptional.
·         Queried licencing for existing pub and if there is a special arrangement.
·         Noted the servicing bay – need to consider bus stop opposite. 
·         Blenheim Gardens Residents should be added to the consultation list

Thursday, 12 October 2017

HGV and dust nightmare on Wembley High Road

In a comment on the Heron House development local resident Jaine Lunn also commented on the impact of redevelopment works on High Road Wembley on residents and provided photographic evidence:
The work at Brent House development is causing a massive amount of chaos. The traffic management plan is bloody useless. We have HGV's parked on both sides of the High Road, and in the bus lane, on the pavements, last week I had 3 parked in my street, on the pavement engines running idling for over 30 minutes at a time. The footprint of the site is so small, they have a huge crane, piling thing, and a minimum of 20 lorries a day picking up rubbish and delivering plant and cement. When Chesterfield House gets going God knows how the High Road is going to cope. As I stated before 8 sites within 500 metres of my house. The dust and pollution is so bad I cannot open the windows.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Fish and chips for the Prince of Wales?

The function room - it would have an external entrance as well as an internal one into the pub
As part of the refurbishment of the Prince of Wales pub at 97-101 Willesden Lane, an application has been made to convert the pub function room into a kitchen and fish and chip shop serving the public.

The application will be heard at the October 18th Planning Committee. Only 4 comments have been made on the proposal: three against and one in favour.

It rather reminds me of the old Jug and Bottles that used to be attached to pubs.

Add caption

The "Green Man" and its off licence, at the corner of Slough Lane and Old Kenton Lane, Kingsbury, around 1930.
(from the Wembley History Society Collection at Brent Archives)

Brent Council agrees 7.5% 'affordable' housing for Heron House development

Views of proposed development - current building outlined in red

Brent Planning Officers have recommended approval of the Heron House development at 109-115 Wembley Hill Road despite it offering only 7.5% 'affordable housing' and opposition from local residents.The development will have 40 housing units: 23 one bedroom, 7 2 bedrooms and 10 3 bedrooms of which only three are designated as affordable.

On the affordable housing issue officers' report (my emphasis highlighted):
London Plan Policy 3.12 requires boroughs to seek the maximum reasonable amount of affordable housing, having regard to a number of factors including development viability. Core Strategy Policy CP2 sets a strategic target that 50% of new homes delivered in the borough should be affordable. Policy DMP15 reinforces this target and specifies that 70% of new affordable housing across the Borough should be social/affordable rented housing and 30% intermediate housing. However, this tenure mix can be varied on individual developments where this is justified by the viability of the scheme and other site-specific characteristics. Objections have been received regarding the level and tenure mix of Affordable housing. 

A total of three affordable homes are proposed, all 3bed Intermediate Shared Ownership units. This represents 7.5% of the development if calculated by unit or 13.3% by habitable room. The use of habitable rooms as a measure of affordable housing provision is typically considered to be appropriate as it gives weight to the provision of family sized affordable homes for which there is a significant identified need within the borough. 

The applicant submitted a Financial Viability Assessment (FVA) to support the application. This has been assessed by consultants on behalf of the Council. The FVA demonstrates that the scheme would generate a land value £1.48mbelow the benchmark land value for the site. Sensitivity analysis was undertaken by the Council’s consultants to assess the impact on viability of a scheme which also included Affordable Rented homes. This showed that including a 50/50 split between Affordable Rented and Intermediate housing units (as opposed to the current proposal including only intermediate housing) would generate an even greater deficit of £1.78m below benchmark land value. As such, the inclusion of Affordable Rented units is not considered to be viable in this instance, and consequently the proposal for only Intermediate Shared Ownership is acceptable within the terms of Policy DMP15. Given the existing use value of the site and high construction costs associated with the basement construction and ground level changes, the proposed scheme cannot support more than the proposed level of Affordable housing. 

It appears that the CP2 and DMP15 targets are now meaningless,

15 residents attended the consultation about the scheme, 20 have objected and 42 signed a petition against it.  As is usual (except in Cllr Sheth's and Butts' intervention in the Spurs-Wembley Stadium application) councillors for Tokyngton ward, in which the development is situated, made no comment on the application.

Many objections were about the development of 2-6 storeys being out of keeping with the two storey suburban houses in the neighbouring area and the compact houses in the High Street (not High Road) Conservation area. There was a wider comment that the area was becoming a 'concrete jungle'.

The application is on the agenda for the October 18th meeting of the Planning Committee LINK

For those unsure of the difference between the High Road Wembley and Wembley High Street this is a picture of High Street:

From Brent Council Wembley High Street Conservation Area Appraisal LINK