Saturday 23 June 2012

Willesden Green redevelopment in trouble?

With the on-line comments on Galliford Try's application to demolish the Willesden Green Library Centre and Willesden Bookshop along with the Victorian Library,  showing over-whelming opposition from local residents, LINK it appears that the developer has launched a last-ditch attempt to find the 'silent majority' councillors have claimed are in favour of the scheme.

A PR company has allegedly been employed to go door to door in Willesden Green to collect signatures for a pro-redevelopment petition claiming that the new building will be 'lovely'.  See 'Beware the stranger at your Willesden door' LINK The petition will squeeze in between the formal deadline and consideration by the planning committee.

Meanwhile the Victorian Society has added their voice to the opposition and chided the Council:
It is disappointing that despite a request in March to be kept informed of developments in this case, the Council failed to notify us of this application. Instead we have been reliant on a huge number of concerned local residents to inform us that an application was submitted
Their full submission can be seen HERE

Cllr Ann John and Cllr George Crane signing agreement with Galliford Try (Brent Magazine April 2012)
There are various technical issues relating to the planning application and particularly the aspects relating to Grange Road that are being challenged as well as doubts over the application  being solely in the name of Galliford Try when  the scheme was a partnership with Brent Council. There have been so many responses that planning officers have been overwhelmed and acknowledgements of written submissions are taking several days and on-line comments taking some time to upload.

A further complication is the role of Cllr Ann John who now sits on the Planning Committee. As someone who as leader of the council advocated the scheme,  she may decide that it would be better not to take part in the discussion and decision making on this issue because of claims of 'predetermination' i.e. that she had already made up her mind before the Committee's perusal of the application.

Meanwhile public notices have appeared in the vicinity and the local press advertising the application to register the public space in front of the present library as a Town Square. The space will disappear if the redevelopment takes place and a successful registration will clearly have repercussions for the developer's plans.

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