Friday, 23 August 2019

Carlton-Granville Protest Tuesday August 27th 1pm Brent Civic Centre

NEXT WEEK: SAVE CARLTON + GRANVILLE CENTRES PROTEST. Following this Carnival weekend, we’re turning up at @Brent_Council Civic Centre on Tuesday 27th August, 1pm to say hands off our community spaces! Bring banners, musical instruments etc
@GranComKitchen @RumisCave

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Preston Library development supported by Planning Committee as community divisions revealed

One of the most positive things about the Preston Library Campaign is how the project to run a volunteer library and multiple activities, including the regular quiz night at The Preston pub, has been how it has built community cohesion and become a part of the social landscape.

That appeared to be under threat tonight at the Planning Committee where people from the campaign formed up on both sides, for and against the application for a 2 to 4 storey block on the library sites, incorporating a smaller community space earmarked for the library but subject to agreements currently being negotiated.

An early surprise was a statement from the Chair, Cllr Denselow, that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government had requested the Planning Committee not to make a formal decision tonight as the department would want to consider calling the application in for their consideration.  In tonight's hearing the committee would declare its support or opposition to the application.

One notable aspect of the meeting was the lack of protection of officers by the chair when opponents of the scheme frequently interrupted officers' explanations with jeering and ironic laughter. Councillors are fair game and can respond, but officers are not in the same position. One member of the public held up a poster asking, 'Do you live in the area?'

Philip Bromberg, Chair of Preston Community Library, was both cheered and jeered at when he made his contribution in favour of the application.  He quoted the Bookseller magazine's commendation of the community library for its achievement's in 'hard times.'  It was hoped to agree a peppercorn rent for 49 years for the library space making it a permanent and sustainable library for the future. The library had successfully negotiated temporary accommodation at Ashley Garden while building took place. He told councillors he would not address issues over the design of the building. When a councillor asked him if the Library group has consulted residents, there were shouts of 'No' from the public gallery but Bromberg listed a series of events.

Michael Rushe, speaking against the development for the South Kenton and Preston Park Residents Association, claimed the application was unlawful because it did not follow the Local Plan guidelines and there were errors and misinformation in the application documents. He asked why it was that officers thought they could ignore such guidance when it came to Brent Council development proposals but enforced them with private developers. The residents had not been part of any discussion on alternatives to the plans.

Cllr Michael Maurice, who had been replaced by Cllr Kansagra for tonight's committee meeting, made a presentation as a local resident and councillor that centred on issues such as  the size of the development which he referred to as huge, 'a blot on the landscape and nothing short of a monstrosity' -which made me wonder if this was how he would describe a 2 - 4 storey building how he would describe the 28 storey 'Twin Towers' in Wembley High Road or the proposed 24 storey Argent House opposite Stonebridge Station (incidentally the latter was pulled from tonight's agenda and deferred to another meeting).  Maurice focused on the need for parking for library users, especially for the users of the Memory Lounge (provision for people with dementia) and their carers. He also accused council planners of double-standards regarding council and private development.

The three Preston ward councillors all made contributions and were clearly in a difficult position trying  to represent both sides. Cllr Kennelly, who is a Preston resident as well as ward councillor, said that everything he had to say was premised on the Council signing an agreement with the library and that it would occupy the new space.  He said no one in the community would 'support the library not being there.' However he was concerned about over-development and air pollution. He claimed that the community had been railroaded in 2010 resulting in deep mistrust in the community about how the issue had been handled from the beginning. They were not properly consulted until 2016. Overall he was in favour of the development if the issues he had raised were addressed.

Fellow Preston councillor Cllr Afzal raised residents' concerns that the housing in the development would be sub-standard (someone in the public gallery held up a poster saying 'Lavour voters Against Rabbit hitches) and there would be parking issues both during and after construction.  He identified concerns over 'leading questions' during the consultation and emphasised that residents must be listened to. He said he would support the development if it was car-free.  Cllr Thakkar acknowledged that residents were unhappy but said she was in favour of quality affordable housing and a library on the site.

Cllr Johnson elicited the information that the parking and traffic surveys were based on 2013 information and gently asked, to laughter, if it would not have been wiser to update the figures.

Planning Committee Chair, Cllr Denselow, asked officers why a 2008 application had been opposed by officers but this one supported. He was told that this application was being made in a different context and that the former design had been of poor quality and out of keeping with the local area. He was confident that it would be turned down if resubmitted. In further responses the committee were told that Brent objected to the London Mayor's 'small site' target of a 1,000 new  homes annually because it was thought to be unrealistic for the borough. However the major target for all homes was not opposed.  When Denselow pursued claims over the allegations of illegality with the legal advisor he was told a decision could be appealed through judicial review.  Clearly this would be a very costly strategy for residents.

In  response to another challenge officers said that in their opinion they had met all planning guidance. Condition 4 protects the D1 space for community use and any deviation would require a new planning application. the library's Asset of Community Value (ACV) status would be lost with redevelopment but officers expected it to be reapplied for. If the application was rejected it would be a matter for the Council to decide the next steps, not planning officers.

Cllr Hirani, lead Cabinet member for Public Health, Culture and Leisure, argued that following the library closures made by a previous Labour administration the proposed development retaining a library marked a new chapter in the relationship between Brent Council and the community.  He claimed that changes had been made to the development proposal as a result of feedback from the community. Preston Library would be playing a part in the Brent Borough of Culture 2020 along with other libraries.

The Planning Committee voted 6 in favour of the application, one against and one abstention. We must now wait and see what, if any, intervention comes from the Secretary of State.

HS2 Review Terms of Reference and names of Review Panel members

From the Government announcement. The Chair of the Review is the former Chair of HS2 Ltd...
The Prime Minister has stated his wish to review “whether and how we proceed” with HS2 ahead of the ‘Notice to Proceed’ decision for Phase 1 (London-West Midlands) due by the end of 2019. The review will assemble and test all the existing evidence in order to allow the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Transport and the government to make properly-informed decisions on the future of Phases 1 and 2 of the project, including the estimated cost and schedule position.
For the whole HS2 project, the review should rigorously examine and state its view on:

  • whether HS2 Ltd is in a position to deliver the project effectively, taking account of its performance to date and any other relevant information
  • the full range of benefits from the project, including but not limited to:
    • capacity changes both for services to cities and towns on HS2 and which will not be on HS2
    • connectivity
    • economic transformation including whether the scheme will promote inclusive growth and regional rebalancing
    • environmental benefits, in particular for carbon reduction in line with net zero commitments
    • the risk of delivery of these and other benefits, and whether there are alternative strategic transport schemes which could achieve comparable benefits in similar timescales
  • the full range of costs of the project, including but not limited to:
    • whether HS2 Ltd’s latest estimates of costs and schedule are realistic and are comparable to other UK infrastructure
    • why any cost estimates or schedules have changed since the most recent previous baselines
    • whether there are opportunities for efficiencies
    • the cost of disruption to rail users during construction
    • whether there are trade-offs between cost and schedule; and whether there are opportunities for additional commercial returns for the taxpayer through, for example, developments around stations, to offset costs
    • what proceeding with Phase 1 means in terms of overall affordability, and what this means in terms of what would be required to deliver the project within the current funding envelope for the project as a whole
  • whether the assumptions behind the business case, for instance on passenger numbers and train frequencies, are realistic, including the location and interconnectivity of the stations with other transport systems, and the implications of potential changes in services to cities and towns which are on the existing main lines but will not be on HS2
  • for the project as a whole, how much realistic potential there is for cost reductions in the scheme as currently planned through changes to its scope, planned phasing or specification, including but not limited to:
    • reductions in speed
    • making Old Oak Common the London terminus, at least for a period
    • building only Phase 1
    • combining Phases 1 and 2a
    • different choices or phasing of Phase 2b, taking account of the interfaces with Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • the direct cost of reprioritising, cancelling or de-scoping the project, including but not limited to: contractual penalties; the risk of legal action; sunk costs; remediation costs; supply chain impact; and an estimate of how much of the money already spent, for instance on the purchase of land and property, could be recouped
  • whether and how the project could be reprioritised; in particular, whether and, if so how, Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) (including the common sections with HS2 Phase 2b) could be prioritised over delivering the southern sections of HS2
  • whether any improvements would benefit the integration of HS2, NPR and other rail projects in the north of England or Midlands
  • any lessons from the project for other major projects

Review team and support

The review will be chaired by Doug Oakervee. The deputy chair will be Lord Berkeley. There will also be a panel consisting of Michele Dix, Stephen Glaister, Patrick Harley, Sir Peter Hendy, Andrew Sentance, Andy Street, John Cridland and Tony Travers. Each will focus on a specific area of interest; they will feed in to and be consulted on the report’s conclusions, without having a right of veto in the event that consensus cannot be reached.

Support will be provided by the Department for Transport. Sufficient support will be needed to allow a searching and rigorous review in a relatively short time. The review team will be provided with any papers and persons they request. Undertakings of confidentiality will be entered into with the Chair, Deputy Chair, panel, and others as necessary.

Reporting and publication

The review will report to the Secretary of State for Transport with oversight from the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It should produce a written report suitable for publication.


The review should submit its final report in autumn 2019.

Brent Council announces dates for South Kilburn regeneration ballot

Brent Council has now published this Press Release on the South Kilburn ballot. The PR machine is notching up a gear:
Dates for an upcoming residents' ballot in South Kilburn have been announced, with the community set to confirm if it continues to support its regeneration.

Residents who are eligible to vote will receive a voting pack in the post from Electoral Reform Services, the independent body who are managing the ballot, by Friday 20 September and can cast their vote straight away by post, online or telephone.

The voting period will last for three weeks, with all votes having to be received by 5pm on Monday 14 October. The result will be shared with residents by post by Monday 21 October.

The award-wining regeneration is already halfway towards creating 1,400 brand new council homes, helping to address the major housing shortage in the borough. The plans will also improve the neighbourhood as a whole, with new community facilities including a health centre, parks and open spaces.

This week the landlord offer, which explains what eligible residents stand to gain from the regeneration plans, is being published.

Council tenants, and those in temporary accommodation, will be offered a brand new high quality home in South Kilburn, or elsewhere if they prefer, that is the same size or bigger than their current property. They will also receive £6,400 as a home loss payment plus all moving expenses paid for.
Resident leaseholders will receive market value for their property plus a 10% home loss payment and all moving fees and expenses paid.

Councillor Shama Tatler, Brent Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Property & Planning, said:
More than 600 families have already benefitted from a new high quality, suitably sized home in South Kilburn. The South Kilburn masterplan, which was developed alongside the community, is the best way of creating a safe, diverse neighbourhood for all generations, making sure that 1,400 more local families get the modern, comfortable homes they deserve.
The ballot will be the ninth of its kind in the capital since Mayor Sadiq Khan introduced new rules giving residents the final say on major regeneration projects.
The regeneration programme in South Kilburn has won numerous awards including RESI Development of the Year for 2018 and Best Design at the 2018 National Housing Awards.
Recently the Carlton & Granville development, which is part of the regeneration programme, won two prizes at the New London Awards for architecture - celebrating the best new buildings in the capital.
Residents can get dedicated advice as a leaseholder, council tenant or household in temporary accommodation by emailing or coming along to an upcoming drop in session which will take place Craik Court Community Room, Craik Court, Carlton Vale on:
  • Tuesday 3 September, 5-7pm
  • Thursday 12 September, 11am-1pm
  • Saturday 21 September, 11am-1pm
  • Wednesday 25 September, 5-7pm
  • Tuesday 1 October, 5-7pm
  • Wednesday 9 October, 5-7pm.
Residents can also get free, independent advice from Communities First by ringing freephone 0300 365 7150 or by emailing

ASDA & McDonald's need to spill the beans over McDelivery service at ASDA Wembley

Local residents are taking on the big boys over the proposed McDelivery service at Wembley Asda. Despite a request by Brent planners for more information to be provided the only details on the application are for installation of a window!

In my submission to Brent Council I wrote:
There is insufficient information in this application to make an evidence-based comment. It refers only to a sliding window and canopy but behind this is a proposal for a McDelivery service to operate from Asda. We need information on the times the service will operate, any changes in the vehicle lay-out, how pedestrian safety will be ensured if scooters/motorbikes are used to collect food orders and noise controls. Although the Council decided planning permission was not needed for a McDonalds to replace the previous Asda cafe I would suggest that the extension of opening hours and a delivery service operating from the premises DOES require planning permission.
A resident from the flats that overlook the Asda site wrote:
The planning documents made available to residents give little information as to what the application is for, primarily a sliding window. It has now come to my attention and also to the attention of 115 Chalkhill Road residents that a McDonalds restaurant is being built on the Asda site (former Asda cafe) with 24 hrs opening. As residents we have already raised our concerns with the Wembley Matters as well as the Council person Ms Seaton. There is a massive record of noise disturbance record that as residents we have been reporting to the Council on Asda's noise pollution for many years and there has been a noise abatement notice given to Asda few years ago by the Council which has not been really fully acknowledged by Asda hence they have been operating their Home Delivery and Click and Collect business outside of permitted hours for few years and residents have suffered due to this disgraceful behaviour of Asda's management and staff. I would like to mention also about car racing that has been going on at Asda's car park at nights for few years and despite residents reporting this as a health and safety as well as noise issue as well as public safety issue (reported to the Police with number plates of racing cars on multiple occasions) this has never been tackled and resolved. As residents we are extremely concerned that approving night time McDonalds restaurant will certainly generate more noise at nights and more cars at car park causing trouble to the public.

Please kindly look into this objection thoroughly and check previous history of complaints made by 115 Chalkhill Road residents.
Another resident wrote:

The works for McDonalds have already commenced at Asda Forty Lane, with the gutting of the cafe.

I was under the impression no decision was being made until the start of this week?

The planning documents made available to residents gave little information as to what the application was for, primarily a sliding window.

It has now come to light that a McDonalds restaurant is being built on the site of the former cafe with 24hrs opening.

The cafe was not open 24 hours, neither is Asda on a weekend.

You will see from previous correspondence with Brent Council, that the residents of 115 Chalkhill Road have long suffered noise pollution since all the planning applications submitted by Asda have been approved. The car wash directly beneath our homes was moved as it created too much noise pollution, only to be replaced with a skip during the building of the opticians, which then made way for the home delivery and click and collect areas which, even today, are a constant source of noise pollution (although, admittedly, significantly less than before our complaints) The residents facing Asda car park (includes me), faces the most noise pollution. And with this 24 hour operational food joint, it will be a nightmare!!!

There is still an ongoing issue with birds, attracted to the area by the food waste, again, better than it was now both MTVH and Asda have installed netting, but will continue to be a problem until Brent Council address the littering problem we have in this area, which I fear will be exacerbated with the arrival of a 24 hr McDonalds on our doorstep.

We are deeply concerned about the negative impact this will have on our neighbourhood and quality of life.
There are already groups using the staff shelter as a hang out late at night, with loud chatting and car stereos blasting out of open car doors.

The space in front of the car wash is frequently used as a race track, with cars picking up speed from Forty Lane end culminating in 'donuting' in front of the car wash.
What kind of clientele are you expecting at a 24 hour McDonalds? Do you think there will be an increase in trouble? Noise pollution? Littering? This will increase antisocial behaviour. We already find problems near Paddy Power corner.

Not to mention, positioned between to schools, Ark Academy and Lycée International. Is this in line with Brent tackling child obesity? Healthy eating? Why do we need another Mc Donald's, when there are two in close proximity and multiple chicken shops?

Would you please advise, as a matter of urgency, exactly what the plans are for this space and what considerations Brent are taking into account with regard to the issues raised above.

More meetings to be held on South Kilburn ballot while concerns mount over decant options

Perhaps as a result of recent protests by residents Brent Council is offering additional consultation dates regarding the ballot on South Kilburn regeneration. The ballot begins on September 20th.

An issue not addressed in the FAQs is where exactly those residents displaced by regeneration (if the ballot gives the go-ahead) will be decanted to. A Resident Advisor from Communities First who deal with South Kilburn told Wembley Matters:
South Kilburn is a phased scheme currently programmed to complete by 2027. At the time tenants in each phase are required to move there are options of new homes or existing council properties available. I understand that the Landlord Offer will detail the phasing.

The Council's purchase of the new Gloucester and Durham buildings will also generate an additional 160 currently unallocated homes.
Meanwhile there is confusion over the status of the Queen's Park/Cullen House site development, termed a 'site of vital importance' by the Council as it links Queen's Park  to South Kilburn. Planning permission was granted in 2012, amended in 2017 and the go-ahead to appoint a developer given in October 2017. So far no developer has been appointed. 39 of the proposed 137 homes had been earmarked for decanted tenants but around 270 tenants would need to be rehoused from William Dunbar and William Saville House alone.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Wembley Park Community Fund recipients named

From Wembley Park Community Fund

Quintain and The London Community Foundation announce the recipients of The Wembley Park Community Fund, which provides funding and grants to those in the Brent Community. The Fund aims to make a real difference to Brent residents by encouraging community engagement, participation and place-making through funding a variety of community-led activities.

Grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 have been awarded to charities, community or voluntary organisations. The grants are awarded to three core themes – Better Places – making Brent a great place to live, work and visit; Better Lives – supporting education, employment and good health and Better Locally – ensuring local networks and services work effectively.

The organisations awarded range from The Promise Foundation which mentors disadvantaged young people across Brent; to Hilltop Circle, which delivers football training sessions to young people.
In support of Brent London Borough of Culture 2020, 40% of this round’s funding pot has also been allocated to arts and cultural projects in the borough.  These projects include Intercultural Musicology CIC, which runs free music workshops with instruments from around the world for children aged 0-12 and their parents; and Unique Community Charity which runs youth theatre sessions around the theme of language, and how that connects to identity and meaning.

The Fund is led by Quintain, the developers behind the transformation of Wembley Park, in partnership with their key contractors Wates, McLaren, John Sisk & Son, and McAleer & Rushe. It makes a difference to the lives of local residents in Wembley Park and the surrounding area by encouraging community engagement and participation through funding a variety of community-led activities.

In the past two years, The Wembley Park Community Fund has so far helped fund 20 local projects. The funding has helped children, young people, and the elderly and vulnerable adults.  The funded projects have provided the local community with employment and work training, and wellbeing and sports activities.

James Saunders, Chief Operating Officer of Quintain, the developer behind Wembley Park said:
Community-led initiatives are at the heart of our neighbourhood, making it a vibrant, welcoming and fulfilling place to live, work and visit. It’s been amazing to see the range of projects made possible by The Wembley Park Community Fund and the impact they have in the community. We are particularly pleased to support local arts and culture in support of Brent London Borough of Culture 2020.
Councillor Muhammed Butt, Brent London Borough Council, said:
Initiatives such as The Wembley Park Community Fund build upon the range of new opportunities Wembley Park has bought to the people of Brent.  With 2020 Brent Borough of Culture in mind, it’s great to see a large proportion of the funding going towards cultural and arts projects.
Full list of funded projects:

Monday, 19 August 2019

A list of current and planned housing developments in Brent

People often tell me that they have great difficulty in keeping up with all the regeneration and housing developments in Brent which include Wembley Park, Wembley Central, South Kilburn, Alperton, Northfields and smaller sites.

This document submitted to the Queensbury appeal includes an Appendix listing current and future developments. Click bottom right square for a full-sized copy.