Saturday 24 February 2024

LETTER: South Kilburn residents have a right to know what is going on with regeneration

 Dear Editor,

In August last year, South Kilburn residents received issue 1 of South Kilburn Regeneration News. A welcome sign that we might be kept informed of progress, despite the fact that `issue 1' came after regeneration has been going on for nearly 20 years, and in those preceding years there has been no attempt to let us know what is happening.

Rumours abound that the regeneration has hit the rocks and is stalling. Nothing seems to have happened with the Carlton Vale Boulevard scheme.. The medical centre promised for 2015 has yet to materialise, and in the meantime the building in which the Kilburn Park surgery was based has been declared unfit for use and then sold off. Rumours say the new medical centre will be opened early next year, but no information has been circulated, no explanation for the lateness or whether this medical centre will actually be up to the standard originally promised. A further rumour is that developers are pushing for an even smaller proportion of social housing than in earlier stages, with a preference for expensive market flats, would, if true, mean that any idea that this addresses the housing crisis is a bad joke.

Wembley Matters has carried several reports on the disgusting state of some of the blocks which tenants have been decanted to while waiting for new flats. Word has it that the stalling of regeneration means that many who have been promised new flats in South Kilburn will not be able to move into them for years.

South Kilburn regeneration has been plagued with problems throughout, with new blocks having to have scaffold up for years while cladding is removed, heating and mould issues in many new blocks and, most notorious of all, Granville New Homes blocks costing more to put right than the original cost. And the company that botched Granville New Homes given new contracts by Brent Council! On top of which many moved into new blocks find their rents and especially their service charges rising considerably. Many of the problems associated with new blocks have been denied by Brent, and there certainly haven't been issues of Regeneration News to tell us what is going on.

No-one attempts to give South Kilburn residents a truthful account of what is happening. Raising these issues at Brent Connects doesn't get any answers, let alone a commitment to inform residents. South Kilburn Trust, supposedly overseeing the  regeneration of the Carlton/Granville site never reaches out to South Kilburn residents and appears to be totally unaccountable, despite claiming to represent the interests of South Kilburn residents.. Even those few who have time and ability to trawl through - often impenetrable - Council documents are often none the wiser.

Having endured 20 years of living in a building site, compounded by Brent Council persuading HS2 to build their vent shaft in the middle of the estate (with the support of South Kilburn Trust) rather than on a empty car park near Queens Park station, and facing probably another 15 years on a building site, residents really do have a right to clear, truthful information.

Pete Firmin, chair of Alpha, Gorefield and Canterbury Tenants and Residents Association, South Kilburn


Monday 12 February 2024

Greens call for scaling up actions against Israel, accusing UK government of complicity in killing

From the Green Party 

As Israel appears to be on the brink of an all out assault on Rafah, despite warnings against such action by the UN, Red Crescent and others, Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer is demanding the UK scale up actions against the Israeli government until the killing stops. Greens are calling for an end to all arms sales to Israel, prosecutions of war criminals and targeted sanctions on Israel’s leaders. 

 Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer said: 

It is clear that the Israeli government is refusing to heed warnings about the catastrophic implications of an all-out attack on Rafah. The UK government must now demand that Israel stop the killing, calling for an immediate ceasefire. Hamas must also agree to this ceasefire of course, and release all hostages.  

Decisions made by the UK government - above all its failure, month after month, to call for an immediate ceasefire - have made them complicit in the killing of almost 28,000 people to date, 12,000 of whom are children [1]. 

Israel relies on certain weapon parts manufactured in the UK, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter whose essential components are made here [2]. A Dutch court has today ordered the state to cease the export of F-35 spare parts to Israel. We call on the UK government to follow suit, and suspend all arms export licences to Israel until the killing stops. The UK must also cease all military collaboration with Israel, including allowing Israeli use of British bases and RAF intelligence flights over Gaza.

Greens would also implement the requirements of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign across the UK economy. This would include excluding Israel from international sporting and music events; withdrawing all public money from funds with investments in Israel; and ending beneficial trade arrangements with Israel [3]. 

It is clear that only outside pressure will make Israel stop its mass killing. We can increase the pressure on Israeli leaders by introducing targeted sanctions against key individuals. This would include travel bans and asset freezes on Israel's leadership and cabinet members, in particular those calling for new settlements in Gaza and the annexation of the West Bank. 

Finally, we would encourage UK authorities including the Metropolitan Police and Director of Public Prosecutions to pursue perpetrators of war crimes committed where UK citizens are the victims or where UK citizens are potential perpetrators. 

There are many steps the UK government could take to pressure Israel to stop the killing. Its refusal to do so means that they are implicitly condoning the appalling carnage in Gaza. 



  1. Israel-Gaza war in maps and charts: Live tracker | Israel War on Gaza News | Al Jazeera 
  2. Who Arms Israel? (
  3. This is consistent with the Green Party’s non-violent approach to demonstrating its opposition to breaches of human rights and international law. It is parallel to calls we have made for boycotts of a number of different countries in the past including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, China, and Qatar.

Brent Tories: Disrespectful to site children's home in a conservation area - call-in meeting tonight

A special Scrutiny Committee tonight will discuss the call-in by Brent Conservatives of the Cabinet decision to site a children's home in the Barn Hill Conservation area. In their call-in the group say:

This area is in the Barn Hill Conservation area. It should be treated with respect.

Alternative course of action recommended.. To refer the decision back to Cabinet for reconsideration in order to find a cheaper alternative property in a different area

The call-in is unfortunately timed when the Liberal Democrat group are opposing, with a petition, a potential proposal to double the number of councillors needed to request a call in from 5 to 10. At present there are 5 Tories and 3 Liberal Democrats. A requirement for 10 signatures means that neither Tories on their own nor the combined opposition could request a call-in without support from at least two Labour councillors.

Cllr Butt's argument would probably be that the increase would save money on meetings as   politically motivated call-ins would no longer take place.

Certainly Brent Labour moved speedily on social media to denounce the call-in.

 The call-in will be heard at 6pm tonight. Livestream HERE

Brent Tories do not exist on social media so I cannot post a response.



Cabinet (15 January 2024) received a report from the Corporate Director of Finance and Resources and Corporate Director of Children and Young People which, in line with the Brent Children’s Residential Home Business Case that had been approved by Cabinet in May 2023, sought approval for the acquisition of a property for renovation to deliver a four bedded children’s care home for young people by March 2025 which would provide four placements, three permanent and one emergency for the Council to deliver and operate a children’s residential home.


Having considered the report, Cabinet agreed to approve the acquisition with the minute recording the decision as follows:


Councillor Grahl (Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools) introduced the report, which set out the Council’s plans to acquire a property as part of the Children’s Residential Home Project.


In considering the report Cabinet noted the way in which the proposed acquisition aligned with the objectives within the Brent Children’s Residential Home Business Case approved by Cabinet in May 2023. This included not only supporting the Council in seeking to address the increasing cost of child residential placements for looked after children, with the scheme projected to save the Council approx. £290,000 on an annual basis once operational, but also in delivering the benefits associated with the additional capacity to reduce the need for out of borough placements and enabling more children and young people to receive care closer to home with access to local services and support.


Members welcomed the way in which the insourcing of this scheme would enhance service delivery and in recognising the benefits that the proposal would bring to both young people and the Council, Cabinet RESOLVED:


(1) To approve the acquisition of the property (address detailed in the exempt appendix of the report) in Wembley HA9 with vacant possession to meet the needs of young people as outlined in the Brent Residential Home Business Case approved by Cabinet in May 2023.


(2) To delegate authority to the Corporate Director of Finance and Resources, in consultation with the Corporate Director of Children and Young People, to agree the terms of the purchase and acquire the property subject to financial and legal due diligence, vacant possession and contract.


(3) To note that the completion of the property needs to take place by the end of January 2024 in order to allow sufficient time to renovate the property within the timescales permitted in the grant agreement with the Department for Education (DfE).




a) We are very concerned at the price being paid for this property which is over £1M. We feel that this is not the best use of the limited Council funds.


(b) This area is in the Barn Hill Conservation area. It should be treated with respect.


(c) There has been no consultation with the residents living in and around the site of the property or the Residents Association. This is preventing residents from voicing their opinions and objections. There has been absolutely no democracy or transparency in the matter, residents feel they have been railroaded into accepting any decision the Council makes.


(d) Neither of the two local ward councillors (Cllr Robert Johnson & Cllr Kathleen Fraser) received any notification of this until immediately prior to the Cabinet meeting on 15th January.


(e) It appears that no Planning Permission was applied for or granted. If this is the case, then what is the rationale taken as to why Planning Permission was not applied for? No statement appears to have been given.


(f) The Council is not acting in the interests of the residents in this matter. A similar care home was opened in Barn Hill which caused untold problems for those living in the area. It was only shut down when the local MP (Barry Gardiner) intervened. The residents do not want to have to deal with a similar occurrence.


Action Requested:


To refer the decision back to Cabinet for reconsideration in order to find a cheaper alternative property in a different area.