Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Mass vaccination at Bridge Park on Saturday - booking details (AstraZeneca & Pfizer available)


Massive vaccination event at Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre, Harrow Road, London. NW10 0RG

About this event

On Saturday, Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre will be turned into a mass vaccination venue so far for residents of North West London, with up to 2700 vaccinations ready to be administered on the day.

The event will take place from 10am to 17:30pm on Saturday 19 June 2021

IMPORTANT NOTICE: clients with bookings will be prioritised for vaccination, walk-ins will be managed based on vaccine availability

Remember to bring water with you, and keep an eye on the weather to plan what you need to bring with you.

If you have one, remember to bring your NHS number with you. This makes registration faster if you have it. You can find your NHS number at https://nhs.uk/nhs-services/online-services/find-nhs-number/ 


Grants for Brent businesses impacted by Covid19 restrictions

 From Brent Council

Apply for the Back to Business Grant  APPLY

If the Covid-19 restrictions have affected your business, you may be eligible for a one-off discretionary grant.

The Back to Business Additional Restrictions Grant is for Brent businesses that have not been supported by the Restart Grant or the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG).

The scheme will open for applications at 9am on Monday 14 June 2021. The scheme closes at 5pm on Wednesday 14 July 2021.

There is a limited amount of funding available.  If demand is high, the scheme may close before this date.

Please check that your businesses is eligible before you apply.

Who is eligible?

This grant is for Brent businesses who:  

  • have been impacted by covid-19
  • have not received the Local Restrictions Support Grant or the Restart Grant
  • are trading in Brent
  • do not have a rateable value over £51,000 or annual commercial rent over £102,000
  • either:
    • operate from home
    • operate from a commercial premises (including shared workspaces)

Who is not eligible?

Your business is not eligible if it has:

  • gone into administration, been declared insolvent or received a striking-off notice
  • a rateable value over £51,000 or annual commercial rent over £102,000
  • already received the Local Restrictions Support Grant or the Restart Grant

How much you could get

  • If you have a business that operates from home you could get £1,000
  • If you have a business with a rateable value less than £15,000 or annual rent less than £30,000, you could get £3,000
  • If your business has a rateable value more than £15,000 but less than £51,000 OR Annual rent of more than £30,000 and less than £102,000, you could get £6,000 


Apply for Restart Grant  APPLY

The Restart Grant scheme has replaced the previous Local Restrictions Grants (closed) and Local Restrictions Grants (open). 

This grant:

  • will be made available to qualifying (rated) non-essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses.
  • will only be paid once applications have been received and verified.
What you could receive

Non-essential retail businesses with a rateable value of:

  • £15,000 or less, will be eligible for a one-off grant of £2,667
  • More than £15,000 and less than £51,000, will be eligible for a one-off grant of £4,000
  • £51,000 or more, will be eligible for a one-off grant of £6,000

Qualifying Hospitality and Leisure properties with a rateable value of:

  • £15,000 or less, will be eligible for a one-off grant of £8,000
  • More than £15,000 and less than £51,000, will be eligible for a one-off grant of £12,000
  • £51,000 or above, will be eligible for a one-off grant of £18,000

Sunday, 13 June 2021

New North End Road/Bridge Road junction at Wembley Park now in operation


North End Road junction with Bridge Road

I was alerted to the opening of the North End Road/Bridge Road connection yesterday (thank you Amanda) and popped down this morning to check it out before the football crowds got going. There are no lights at the junction at the moment so ard drivers and pedestrians were a little confused. It may have got more confusing at later when the crowds and cars arrived.

You will see that there is a 7.5tonne weight limit at the junction. My questions to Brent Council Highways and Transport for London on how that will affect plans to divert buses down North End Road on event days have gone unanswered,

Asd you will see the gradient of the new section of North End Road is steep and the view from the lower section of North End Road towards Bridge Road is quite restricted at driver height so difficult to see vehicles turning right from Bridge Road.



The Hostile Vehicle Mitigation Measures (concrete blocks covered in mock greenery) are very much in evidenc and being used as resting perches by visitors.


The steps and ramps which used to serve North End Road now just lead from Bridge Road to Olympic Way. Michaela staff and students and local residents residents now have direct pedestrian access to North End Road.


The former busy bus stop opposite Wembley Park station has been removed along with the bus stopping place. As you can see more Hostile Vehicle blocks have been installed where the buses used to stop.  This means that passengers will continue to have to wait on the narrow strip of pavement outside the Bridge Road shops - not ideal for social distancing.

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Brent Council's Utopian plans for Neasden at Cabinet on Monday


Brent Council's Cabinet will decide on Monday to go out to consultation on far-reaching plans for the Neasden Stations Growth Area (NSGA) Draft Masterplan.

The Masterpan envisages the long-term transformation of the often derided (particularly by Private Eye LINK) area with co-location (housing and industrial/commercial) development on 5 sites including that of the College of North West London on Dudden Hill. There will be a total of 2,338 new homes plus commercial and light industrial spaces.

"This Masterplan Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) seeks to unlock the massive potential that the Neasden Stations Growth Area (NSGA) has to offer, and define a new place for the post-pandemic world that balances local choices within the wider metropolitan context. The delivery of new workspace, improved accessibility to the wider area, an interconnected network of green open spaces, enhanced public realm and a permeable movement network will create an inclusive neighbourhood that can support at least 2,000 new homes, and also serve as a distinctive gateway to Neasden. This Masterplan SPD sets out the overarching vision for NSGA, and the underpinning urban design framework, to help ensure that the transformation of the existing poor quality environment brings forward physical, social and economic regeneration for all the community."

At times the Masterplan is almost Utopian in its vision:

"A diverse Neasden will be a place that is used and enjoyed by all people, irrespective of gender, age, ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation or social background. The natural and built environment will be fairer and more inclusive, reflecting best practice through design to ensure the area is welcoming, responsive, intuitive, flexible, varied and convenient.

With around 25% of the local population aged under 18, Neasden will represent the needs of children and young people, and reflect London’s status as an increasingly youthful city. Children and young people will be able to access social and physical infrastructure and move around the area safely, independently, and without adult supervision, benefitting their physical, social and mental development and health.

Development at Neasden will be child-friendly, maximising opportunities for safe play and outdoor activities. Open spaces will support formal and informal play, exercise and rest, and be accessible to all with no segregation. Open spaces will be well-overlooked by homes and other active uses to ensure they are welcoming and benefit from natural surveillance, overcoming crime and the fear of crime.

With around 55% of the local population identifying as belonging to Black, Asian or minority ethnic groups, Neasden will represent both the needs and cultures of all people. Protected groups will be considered from the outset and given a greater participatory role in shaping how the area evolves through meaningful stakeholder engagement.

Development at Neasden will support different modes of living, catering for multi-generational households, young families, and over 60s, alongside a range of different domestic cultures. Buildings and landscapes will be as much for local people as for new residents, allowing the establishment of a mixed and balanced community that reflects the diversity of the area."


The summary for the preferred option is rather more down to earth:

Option 3 proposes vertical stacking of residential uses on podium floors with industrial below and some commercial/retail fronting Neasden Lane is proposed on Site 1 (LSIS) and Site 2 (LSIS). On site 3 (CNWL), proposes predominantly residential development with some commercial/ retail/community uses and retention of the existing housing estate adjacent. On Site 4 (LSIS), vertical co-location of residential uses with industrial uses is proposed. On Site 5, predominantly residential use with some light industrial use is proposed. Site 6 is proposed to be retained as existing and is deemed unviable for development.

The Masterplan is long-term. In Option 3 the estate next to the College of North West London (Severn Way and Selbie Avenue) is not down for redevelopment but it is within the development area and could come forward at a later stage. It does look rather vulnerable in the illustration between the two masses of tower blocks. A further possibility is a new station in the area on the potential West London Orbital line.

The existing green space beside the college at the foot of Dudden Hill/Denzil Road appears unlikely to be retained but instead space will be integrated into the new housing.

Details for each site:

 The 5 Sites


It is a huge document and the Cabinet is unlikely to discuss it in any great detail. I have uploaded it on One Drive for readers who wish to read further. Click on the bottom right square for full size version.

Former Ofsted chief Michael Wilshaw takes over at Jewish Free School following departure of the headteacher & safeguarding concerns

 Sir Michael Wilshaw

Sir Michael Wilshaw, former Chief Inspector at Ofsted (2012-2016), has stepped in as temporary interim executive principal of the Jewish Free School (JFS) in Kenton following the sudden departure of headteacher Mrs Rachel Fink.

Dame Joan McVittie

Sir Michael will be advised by Dame Joan McVittie a former London headteacher, senior Ofsted inspector and an expert in safeguarding.

JFS is tha largest Jewish secondary school in Europe and, although in Brent ,takes pupils from a much wider area.

The Jewish Chronicle reported LINK:

Parents have voiced concern about the situation at the school, highlighting disciplinary and safeguarding issues. Speculation is rife about the findings of a supposedly negative Ofsted inspection last month, which have yet to be published.

The school had been named on the Everyone's Invited website where pupils reported peer-on-peer sexual misconduct. The Daily Telegraph  LINK reported on the tesimonies:

“I was in the lunch queue and he put his hand up my skirt and groped me [and] no one said anything,” one account allegedly about JFS read. Another said it was “normal for boys of any age to grope girls”.

At the time Mrs Fink write to parents about the 'disturbing' testimonies:

There are those who might suggest that it is impossible to verify the truth of these allegations, or that the naming of different schools and universities is inconsistent.

Others will argue that when you read the testimonies it is clear that most of them reference incidents that take place out of school, at parties and on the weekend; that they are nothing to do with school.

My view, both as an educator and as a woman, is that we have a responsibility to have an open and honest discussion and once again partner with students and parents to really understand what is taking place in our community, a microcosm of society, and how do we collectively create change.

Andrew Moss, Chair of Governors said:

We appreciate that changes of this nature cause concern. We have full confidence in the team along with the entire staff body to deliver the education priorties and maintain the Jewish ethos of the school. 

Although JFS is not a local authority school, Brent Council has an overall responsibility for the wellbeing and safeguarding of all children in the borough.

There was much disappointment in 2014 when Ofsted downgraded JFS from 'Good' to 'Requires Improvement' based on the behaviour and safety of pupils and the school's leadership and management. Action taken at the school enabled it to reurn to the 'Good' category in all areas in 2016.

The report on the latest Ofsted inspection has not yet been published.




Another of Brent’s beautiful tile murals – in Neasden!

Guest post by Philip Grant 

Yes, this is another “guest blog” about tile murals with a heritage tale to tell, but this time they are not at Wembley Park.


1.Water sports on the Welsh Harp Reservoir, in colourful tiles.


The murals pictured in this article are in a pedestrian subway under the North Circular Road at Neasden. Although I have driven over them, and have visited Neasden a number of times in the past (to visit the former Grange Museum, and former Neasden Library on the site of the 1930s Ritz Cinema), I have never actually seen them myself! 


These photos were taken by Russell Cox, an Area Manager for Daniels Estate Agents, and sent to me by his colleague, Francis Henry, who knows of my interest in local history (the Bobby Moore Bridge tile murals). As soon as I saw them, I knew that I wanted to share them with you, and some of the stories they represent. Russell has kindly agreed that I can do that.


The first mural scene above clearly represents the nearby Welsh Harp Reservoir. Its history goes back to the 1830s (you can read about that here). You may think that water sports on the reservoir are a fairly modern addition, but you would be wrong. Although the canoeists in this mural may have been from the Youth Sailing Base (opened by Middlesex County Council in 1963, and closed by Barnet Council in 2004), a canoe was first tested on the Welsh Harp by “Rob Roy” Macgregor in the 1860s! The Royal Canoe Club he founded in 1866 met at the reservoir well into the 20th century.


2.Sailing dinghies racing on the Welsh Harp.


Since the Second World War, sailing rights on the reservoir have been leased from British Waterways (now the Canal & River Trust) by the Welsh Harp Sailing Association. It has around eight member clubs, mainly based at Birchen Grove. It is enjoyable watching the dinghies in action as you walk nearby, but the Wembley Sailing Club is offering families the chance to actually try out sailing, with a free lesson on Sunday 27 June (see the Kilburn Times article).


The Brent Reservoir (as it is officially known) was built to supply water to the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal, which opened in 1801, so it’s no surprise that the murals also show scenes from the canal. “The Feeder”, which runs through Neasden (between the Railway Village and Quainton Street Open Space) and Stonebridge, to join the canal at Lower Place, was dug through Willesden’s fields in 1811. It first took water from a bend on the River Brent at Kingsbury, and since 1835 has provided the link between the Welsh Harp and the canal.


3.A narrow boat passing under a canal bridge.


4.A lock and lock-keeper’s cottage.


If you walk through this pedestrian subway, between the shopping centre and Neasden Lane North, it might encourage you to talk a stroll alongside the canal itself. There are a number of places in Brent where you can join the canal-side path, from Alperton in the west, past Acton Lane to Kensal Green / West Kilburn in the south-east.


5.A canal-side walk, in a Neasden subway.


How did these murals come to be here, and when were they installed? I don’t know, and I’m hoping that one of you reading this can add some information in a comment below, please. I do know that the Neasden Underpass, which takes Neasden Lane under the North Circular Road, was built in the early 1970s. The subway, which takes pedestrians under the main road, was probably built as part of the same scheme, and was certainly in use by the 1980s.


Were these tile murals part of that original scheme, or were they added later, to brighten up what could have been an uninviting passageway? The style of the murals looks similar to those at the Bobby Moore Bridge, which date from 1993. They were the work of the Langley (London) Architectural Art Service, and designed by their artist, Kathryn Digby. Were these murals also from the 1990s, or were they earlier. If you lived or worked in Neasden then, please share your memories of these murals.


6.A holiday narrow boat, moored beside the canal (and the North Circular Road!).


Even if you know nothing about their history, you can still enjoy these murals, either in person or just by looking at these photos. Imagine yourself on a bright early summer day, sailing out on the Welsh Harp, walking beside the Grand Union, or relaxing on a narrow boat. These beautiful and colourful pieces of public art can help you to be there!

Philip Grant.


Friday, 11 June 2021

Brent Council asks residents to limit indoor mixing and get vaccinated as Delta variant rates rise in the borough on eve of Euros. Avoid booking Covid19 test at Civic Centre on match days.


Please do not travel to Wembley unless you have a ticket for Sunday’s game. We are asking residents to avoid booking COVID-19 testing at Brent Civic Centre on match day. Alternative testing sites can be found on our interactive map. Ticketholders should check the UEFA website for the latest information.

BBC information earlier this week: 


Thursday, 10 June 2021

Raheem Sterling tells Wembley school students he is 'so proud of where I grew up' as they help open the Wembley Steps in time for Euro2020


Year 11 school students from Ark Elvin Academy today helped open the controversial Wembley Steps ahead of the first Euro2020 game at the stadium.

Raheem Sterling who attended Copland High School, the predecessor to Ark Elvin before an equally controversial decision to academise the school sent a message to the students.

 Growing up in Brent, I could see the arch of Wembley Stadium from my home. A short walk away and a lot of work later, I’ve got to do what I love in the stadium and representing everyone who calls Brent home. I am so proud of where I grew up – our community and the growing number of new, accessible spaces for younger members of the community to play and discover their skills and passions.