Wednesday 17 July 2024

Wembley strikers against Harris Federation forced academisation win a meeting with the new Government

From Brent National Education Union




NEU members at Byron Court Primary School, who have now taken 16 days of strike action to try to stop their school being taken over by HARRIS FEDERATION may have earned a reprieve. The new Education Secretary has agreed to pause the process whilst a meeting is arranged. STRIKES CONTINUE THIS FRIDAY AND MONDAY 22ND JULY in a “LAST PUSH” to stop the privatisation.


The school’s forced “academy order” follows an intimidating Ofsted inspection which, for staff, had parallels with the experience of Ruth Perry and resulted in the same “inadequate” one word judgement. The new Labour government  have pledged to get rid of Ofsted one word judgements and the hope is that they might now intervene and revoke the academy order to keep this as a community school.




Jenny Cooper of the NEU national executive has stated:


We feel we could be winning this campaign. We have secured an agreement to meet with Bridget Phillipson and have been assured that there will be no academy transfer before this occurs. Well done to all our members and parents for persisting with fighting this injustice.

Tuesday 16 July 2024

Kenton escapes Wealdstone Brook flooding - did local environmental action help?

Cllr Sunita Hirani (Kenton) has posted a Tweet re yesterday's flood warning about potential flooding in Kenton (and Wealdstone and Wembley) after heavy rain last night. 

She said:

I have been informed this evening that there were no reported floodings in the Kenton area of the Wealdstone Brook yesterday (Monday 15th July 2024) evening. The Environment Agency issued a flood warning for the area of Kenton around the Wealdstone Brook at around 8 pm (Monday 15th July 2024) for potential flooding in the area at around 9pm. My videos taken at about that time show the Brook coping with the volume of water and no flooding on the road around Lindsay Drive roundabout. 


Maybe, just maybe, someone, somewhere, will actually admit the fact that the work we did - the Brook Way Community Biodiversity Project CIC, in conjunction with Thames Water, at Lindsay Drive roundabout in clearing the dead, decaying and diseased trees, trunks and branches, actually contributed to avoiding a flooding disaster in the Kenton area yesterday evening. 


I can but dream.


Petition launched calling for Brent Council and Wembley Stadium to consult with Brent public BEFORE 'Large Event' increase goes to Planning Committee

Brent Liberal Democrats have launched an e-petition calling for local people to have a voice in Wembley National Stadium Limited's  bid to run more large events at the stadium:

We the undersigned petition the council to Consult and to Listen to concerns of local residents and businesses about the impact of increasing the number of "Large" Events at Wembley Stadium

Plans for the new Wembley Stadium were approved in 1999 with a limit of 37 Large Events per year. A few years later Brent Council allowed an increase to 46 Large Events per year. The Stadium owners have now applied for planning permission to increase this by another 8 to 54 Large Events per year.

Large Events at the Stadium have a major impact on the lives of local people and business - especially when as many as three events are held on 3 successive days.

We call on Brent Council (jointly with representatives of the FA) to carry out an extensive public consultation with Brent residents and local businesses on the social and economic impacts of Wembley Stadium Large scale events before the Planning Application is considered by the Brent Council's Planning Committee.

We believe that local people and businesses have the right to be properly consulted and informed about these possible changes and for their views to be assessed and documented before any decision is made.

Started by: Paul Lorber (Brent Liberal Democrats)

This ePetition runs from 11/07/2024 to 22/08/2024.


Monday 15 July 2024



River levels are rising rapidly on the Wealdstone Brook due to heavy rainfall overnight tonight, Monday 15th July, and flooding is expected when river levels are at their highest from 9:00pm.


Flooding is forecast to affect locations near the Wealdstone Brook.


Further rain showers are forecast tomorrow, Tuesday 16th July, but no further flooding is expected and river levels should fall from early morning.


We are monitoring rainfall and river levels and checking rivers for blockages.


Residents are strongly urged to take action now. Remain safe and be aware of your surroundings.


Monitor local water levels and weather conditions. Consider putting your flood plan into action. You should avoid walking, cycling or driving through flood water.


This message will be updated by 10am on Tuesday 16th July, or as the situation changes.


Flood warning area: The Wealdstone Brook at Kenton including Wealdstone and Wembley.


Sunday 14 July 2024

Brent Council warns on its financial situation: 'Without intervention, we will enter freefall'...'currently we are living on borrowed time'

We need to mobilise again: Anti-Austerity March July 2015 (Photo: Daily Mirror)


In a paper written before the General Election result was known Brent Cabinet are warned at their meeting tomorrow that the financial outlook for the Council is dire. They are facing cuts of £16m in 2025-26 and £30m in 2027-28:


Without intervention, we will enter freefall, heading towards the ground, with no easy way to pull back. Plainly, this will mean the functions that this council will be able to perform will be changed irreversibly, allowing for only the most vital services to remain.


Unfortunately, despite warnings from London Councils LINK and councils of every political hue across the country the incoming Starmer administration is sticking to its self-imposed fiscal rules and an improvement in the financing of local government and reform of the regressive council tax do not appear to be on the cards. The papers before the Cabinet repeat warnings made by the Brent finance chief last year LINK with increased intensity. This is from the Lead Cabinet Minister, Mili Patel's,  Foreword to tomorrow' report LINK:


While our financial monitoring is robust and an area of pride to this council, the picture that these reports paint is much more sobering. If central government is the body entrusted to preserve the health and condition of the nation, it is local government that is left to deliver it. Since 2010, Brent Council has made at least £210m of cuts and the impact continues to be felt by everyone that lives and works in this borough. In the same period, our core funding from central government has decreased by 78%.


We have made it clear at each Council Tax setting budget meeting, this has meant that the funding burden for Brent Council has been derived principally from Council Tax, Business Rates and Fees and Charges. In other words – local Brent residents.


In this period, the number of council employees has also reduced by at least 50%, shifting more work onto fewer people. As a council, we have innovated, we have identified efficiencies and we’ve continued to generate more income than ever before. These measures alone are not enough in the long-term though, but for now they are enough to keep this council on borrowed time.


In this financial year (25/26) officers and members will be asked to identify a staggering £16m in cuts if this council is to continue standing still as we are today. There is no doubt, these cuts will be challenging for residents and for officers and members alike.


It is therefore unconscionable to consider that things could still get worse. If things remain the same, the best estimate for 27/28 is that we will need to find in the region of £30m in savings.


Without intervention, we will enter freefall, heading towards the ground, with no easy way to pull back. Plainly, this will mean the functions that this council will be able to perform will be changed irreversibly, allowing for only the most vital services to remain.


Sadly, we are not alone in this position. There were more section 114 notices in 2023 than in the 30 years before 2018, with a survey from the Local Government Association showing that almost one in five councils “think it is very or fairly likely they will need to issue a section 114 notice this year or next due to a lack of funding.


Local authorities like Brent have become the government’s emergency provider of last resort, delivering more services than ever, patching over political paralysis; from adult social care reform to the housing crisis; it is local government left picking up the price.


Residents are rightly angry – as the compact between council and citizen creaks more with every year. Residents rightly expect that by paying into the system that they should see a positive dividend. It is far harder to explain to residents that they are paying not just for their bins; but for looked after children, for whom the council is morally and legally obliged to support.


Under the Homelessness Reduction Act, we are also compelled to support those at threat of losing their home. The common thread between the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) our Q1 report and the Financial Outturn is the enormous pressure our Housing teams are under.


Over 150 families per week are presenting at the Civic Centre as homeless, and this report sets out a further £10m overspend on Temporary Accommodation. The housing crisis did not begin in the council – and until there is fundamental change; things will only get worse before they get better.


We have many housing schemes that remain shovel ready, but without an increase in subsidy, the borrowing required means the numbers simply don’t stack up, even over the multiplier of decades. In the meantime, i4B and our New Council Homes Programme remain our only shot, but with over 30k households registered on the housing wait list, it will take a generation to put right.


We also continue to be subjected to macro-economic factors outside of our control. The challenges facing any incoming government will be stark – from a public sector in managed decline; to the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine, and the climate crisis which will continue to alter our way of life forever.


Compared to our European counterparts, councils in the UK have significantly fewer powers over local spending and taxation. It can perhaps be of little surprise that over the past 15 years the average British household has become £8,800 poorer than its equivalent in five comparable countries, according to research prepared by the Resolution Foundation. Sluggish growth and a “toxic combination” of poor productivity and a failure to narrow the divide between rich and poor has resulted in a widening prosperity gap with France, Germany, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands, leaving us struggling to compete internationally.


Without a wholesale reset, our hands remain tied, and the status-quo will prevail. We should never forget, Council Tax is based on values that are now more than thirty years out of date, and the rate structure is so heavily regressive that Buckingham Palace pays less council tax than a 3-bed semi- detached home in Blackpool. That is the reality we exist within in.


At time of dispatch, we will not know who will form the next government. If we are to avoid more reports like the following, something has to give. Given the opportunity, Brent Council stands ready to rebuild and renew our public services. Until then, we will use our voice wherever we can to fight for the reform’s we desperately need. For now, officers and members will continue working hand in hand to protect our residents – breathing life into the services we offer and the change we can make today.


A 'wholesale reset' appears unlikely at present.

Saturday 13 July 2024

At last! Tri-borough consultation opens on improvements to Kilburn High Road

 There have long been complaints about the state of Kilburn High Road, one of London's main arteries and shopping streets, and the failure of the responsible local councils to cooperate on the many issues involved,

Now Camden Council, Brent Council and the City of Westminster have launched a joint consultation on improvement plans. They say:

 Kilburn is a busy place with shops, restaurants, local services and lots of public transport links. Camden, Brent and Westminster Councils want to improve road safety and air quality along the High Road, maintain bus journey times and make it easier to catch public transport.

We also want to upgrade how the high street looks and feels.

This is your chance to share your ideas on our proposals and help shape the future of Kilburn. Your views matter to us on this scheme because we want you to enjoy being in Kilburn, to have a safer and more pleasant place for everyone to walk, shop and visit, to breathe cleaner air and for businesses to flourish.

The first consultation event will be at the Kilburn Grange Park Festival today:

Consultation events

We'd love to chat to you at one of our events below:

  • 13 July, 2024: Kilburn Grange Park Festival (12pm - 6pm)
  • 17 July, 2024: Kilburn Playhut in Kilburn Grange Park (12pm - 2pm)
  • 22 July, 2024: Online Q&A Meeting (6-7 pm)
  • 1 August, 2024: Kilburn Library (10am - 12pm)

And look out for pop-up events on Kilburn High Road, in the pink gazebo, throughout July and August!  Consultations ends August 23rd

 To take part in the Consultation and for further information go to LINK.


Plans below. Click on bottom right for full page view.

TODAY FROM 1PM: Cricklewood Bites and Beats on the Green by B&Q, Cricklewood Lane


TODAY FROM NOON: Kilburn Festival - Grange Park