Monday 9 April 2012

Sign today to delay the destructive Willesden Green redevelopment

After Brent Council's dismissal of the petitions to allocate space in the proposed Willesden Green Cultural Centre for the Willesden Bookshop and to retain the Old Willesden Library building, it is understandable that people are cynical about the usefulness of petitions when the Council is clearly not prepared to listen.

However, we must continue to ram the message home and the demand of the 'Pause, listen and reflect' petition on the Willesden Green Library Regeneration is perfectly reasonable. Citizens should have the right to a say in major new developments and the Council cannot be allowed to get away with sham consultations that merely tick a statutory box and are subsequently ignored.

The lamentable performance by Cllr Crane at the Dollis Hill Hustings and Cllr Ann John's uncertainty over some of the processes and detail at her meeting with Keep Willesden Green campaigners, and the massive majority rejecting the plans at the Galliford Try consultation, show that it is to everyone's benefit to pause and reconsider plans that will impact on the area for years.

Today is the last day of the 'Pause' petition so if you have not done so please go on-line now and sign up.LINK.


We the undersigned petition the council to Pause the Willesden Green Library Centre regeneration plans to allow for full consultation with residents in order to ascertain their views on how the area should be developed and the amenities that should be provided or retained.

Brent Council is handing over public land worth £10.4 million to a property developer in exchange for rebuilding the Willesden Library Centre. The original 1894 library building on the High Road will be demolished, The Willesden Bookshop is likely to be driven out of business, the public car park will be reduced to 8 spaces and a children’s play area will be lost. Over 18 months, three five-storey blocks of 90+ luxury flats will be built behind the existing Library Centre.

We all want a thriving, welcoming and dynamic library and cultural centre, but the current deal has been sealed with virtually no public consultation and very little available information, ignoring the wishes of over a thousand local residents who have expressed opposition to these plans in two Brent e-petitions.

While the developers get a healthy profit from the sale of luxury flats and Brent councillors get some fancy new offices, the cultural and financial cost to rate-paying citizens is disproportionately high. It smacks of ‘profits before people’.

Borough residents need to have a say in the content and design of the library centre redevelopment, but we have not yet been given the chance to do so.

The Council says: Plans for the development of the library centre were raised at the executive committee in February 2011, and quickly followed by two public consultations to ‘test the market’. The council had to abide by commercial confidentiality, so no detailed plans could be made public until a deal was signed with the developer on 15 February 2012.

We say: Did you know about this in 2011? Not a single local resident or tradesperson we spoke to knew about the plans until Jan 2012, and only then through word of mouth. The Feb 2011 consultations were conducted with, respectively, 5 and then 7 people. One person present recounted that they were asked for their opinion, then shown plans for the centre that were drawn up before the meeting. This does not conform to the generally understood definition of a ‘consultation’


Steve said...

This is almost typically devious of Brent council leadership and their apparent inability to listen to complaints and stop vastly unpopular decisions. Like the fatally flawed library consultation, since neither of these ideas were in election manifesto, and as such, should be stopped and those responsible be removed from office...

The Local Don said...

Protest is a legal activity that has legal consequences. Protesting actually means performance under without agreement.

Protest is YES, Rejection is NO - START rejecting and STOP protesting.

The people of Brent work for The London Borough of Brent, as do all local councillors who are on the pay roll. It is you who provides The London Borough of Brent with a monthly contribution disguised as 'Council Tax' that allows the Council to function. If that 'agreement' is breached, debt collectors will force it out of you. They need YOUR money.

Two examples where the KEEP WILLESDEN GREEN group appear to assume The Council can act & talk:

Brent Council is handing over public land worth £10.4 million to a property developer in exchange...

The Council says: Plans for the development of the library centre were raised at the executive committee in February 2011...

It is those acting on behalf of The London Borough of Brent you need to 'convince' - not The Council. The land is being given up by a Council employee who can't lay any claim to the land as no details are recorded on the land registry. The developers interests are now on the Land Registry but that interest isn't clear to what capacity.

START writing and CONTINUE to write to local councillors.
START writing to local MP Sarah Teather and copy all letters to each other and local newspapers as proof.

The Local Don.

Fergus Carr said...

I think you should stop complaining, And think of the Values of the new library building/ cultural centre, landscaping and homes that will be provided in this scheme. The existing buildings do not work. The Mock Tudor and the hulking block are both hideous. Look at the possibilities people.

The Local Don said...

Bulldozing 'The Mock Tudor' building adds no value to Willesden Green, instead adds to the decline of the area. History is important. A building such as 'The Mock Tudor' building in the right location as a family dwelling would cost millions.

Local councillors could add value to the whole Willesden Green overnight if they really wanted too. They could get all shops regulated, shop signs to be inline with planning policy, have all letting agents advertisements removed from buildings and get Brent Council to serve notice on Landlords to paint and maintain properties on the high street

Allowing an area to decline is beneficial for those who like control.

The Local Don.

Donald Elliott said...

Where is the planning application for the redevelopment of Willesden Green library? I thought we were told it would be submitted on 25 April 2012.