Saturday, 17 March 2012

Angry residents question Cllr Crane on Willesden Green Library plans

At a public meeting - called by the Keep Willesden Green Campaign - the Green Party candidate for Dollis Hill, Pete Murry, has called on Brent council to rethink its plans to demolish Willesden Green Library. The meeting, which was originally intended as a hustings for the by-election, saw a huge amount of anger directed at Councillor Crane; the Labour executive member for regeneration. The public demanded to know why the regeneration plan did not include any provisions for social housing. The audience also asked why there has been no proper consultation on the plans and why their  petition of 5700 names was being rejected by the council. 

Pete Murry, who is a long standing Brent resident and user of the library said:
It beggars belief that the petition submitted by Keep Willesden Green is being fobbed off on a technicality. We will continue to press for the petition to be accepted and for a full council debate to be had.

The Green Party do not agree with the demolition of the library in the first place and are fighting against it. If, however, the Labour plans do come to fruition it seems absurd that there will be no social housing built as part of the project; especially considering the fact that almost 15,000 Brent residents are on the housing  waiting list.


The Local Don said...

Councillors dont work for the people of Brent, they work for the council who pay them a salary. Why would a councillor want to jeopardise their salary by going against their paymasters plans?

The land registry already has the developers interests registered on the land and with the council planning department able to rubber stamp its own drawings to maximise 'profits', its the perfect 'set-up'

A councillors job is to convince you into their employers way of thinking. They get you to beg by signing a petition that they say must have at least 5,000 signatures before they'll recognise it. You get a petition signed by over 5,000 people and they find a technicality with being able to recognise it.

What is the official technicality with the petition?

All brent councillors should be standing up to the council right now saying this is a democracy and the peoples petition must be respected. If all councillors in the borough can't agree on that, then you know they don't work for you.

Think logically about it. How can a council you believe to be working for your benefit, are able to reject a petition containing 5,700 signatures?

How can one councillor for example represent two residents who have different views on the same development? They can't, can they. The one councillor is however able to accept a vote from each resident knowing they can only ever represent one view.

The Local Don said...

I read on keepingwillesdengreen twitter that councillors turned up to the developers exhibition without name badges and were unable to say if they supported the development or not.

I read the Kilburn Times online the petition with 5,712 signatures cannot be considered for a full council debate because the next meeting is in May and that timeframe doesn't work for the council and its plans to rubber stamp drawings.

When the council says "at no cost to the council" Have they forgot about the value of the land they've given away?

Martin Francis said...

Usual tricks - like the Civic Centre being at 'no cost to council tax papers' because it will pay for itself after 25 years through money saved on leasing other buildings.

Martin Francis said...

They say there was no signature column on some pages although names and addresses were there. E-petition of course doesn't have signatures. Basically they are trying to kick both the Old Willesden Library and Bookshop petitions into the long grass on technicalities and timetables and hoping we won't make a fuss.

The Local Don said...

Does the missing column on some pages bring the total amount of signatures below the required 5,000? If not - whats the problem?

The Local Don said...

No land duty stamp tax appears to be paid on these land transfers to developers.

The mayor of brent who has no legal interest in the land is the person who signs the land away on behalf of the council to the developer.

The council pay local councillors a salary and Its the councillors who elect the mayor, who in return signs away 'public land' to a private developer on behalf of the council.


Hello Everyone,

I had a great time on Thursday evening, March 15th at the hustings in Kings Hall, 155 Harlesden Road. The main topic for discussion was in relation to keeping the 1894 Library and book shop. This event was organised by “Keep Willesden Green”; who put forward claims to Brent Council in February 2012 to keep Willesden Green Library and the old book shop.

The labour candidate Mr. Parveez Ahmed did not attend this event, however he sent on his behalf, the labour leader of the regeneration team Cllr. George Crang in Brent Council.

Alison Hopkins the Liberal Democrat candidate also did not attend.

The green party candidate: Mr. Pete Murry and I were present at the event on Thursday 15th March, which was chaired by Ms. Helen Marcus.

Brent Central Conservatives and I support the community in their view with regard to keeping the old building and the book shop. The plan by Brent Council is to get rid of the old building with the book shop and build new housing flats.

Brent Labour Council claims that it will not cost the Council any capital; in fact the Council will give away the land to the developer. It is crucial to highlight that the land is worth £10.5million. The developer will be given authority to build new flats, a new community centre and new offices for Brent Council. In turn, the developer will profit from selling the flats. Unfortunately, Brent Council did not show a planning brief to the community.

It is rather upsetting to see that Brent Council have decided to eradicate such historical, authentic
buildings at the heart of Willesden Green for a modern alternative to suit their needs. It is quite clear that Brent Council have not taken into account the views of the community who have every right to contribute in deciding what to do with such valuable buildings. Willesden Green Library and the book shop have benefited and will continue to benefit the community for many years to come. The Library has continued to serve the community and it has certainly become a part of people’s lives. It benefits, students, children, adults and the elderly. I will continue to intervene in this issue in order to stop the plan.

Brent Council will hold a meeting to review the petition and the plan on 21 March 2012 at 7:30pm at the Committee room 4.

Kind Regards;

The Local Don said...

Can you explain what you mean by 'review the petition' and provide the names of those who'll be representing Brent Council at this meeting.

Is this a public or a private meeting?

It's important to remember that the developers interests have been registered on the Land Registry and one would assume the project profits have already been agreed in principal.

Martin Francis said...

Yes they claim it reduces the figures below 5,000

The Local Don said...

Just read Brent & Kilburn times online about the petitions void signatures. Not one quote from a local councillor in the piece. Anyone surprised? I'm not.

Don't forget to vote for your local councillor who does nothing for you in the next election.