Saturday 1 September 2012

Squaring up for a battle in Willesden Green

Campaigning in the 'Town Square' (Photo: Kilburn Times)
The battle over the application to designate the open space outside the Willesden Green Library Centre as a Town Square is hotting up.

If the space is so designated it could torpedo the plans to build over 90 unaffordable flats on the present car park.  These plans require that the new building be moved close to the High Road roadside to make room for the flats. The present open space would be built over.  If the space is designated a Town Square, it cannot be built on and this would mean the former car park space available for the flats would be much less. The project depends on the developer making money from the land given to it by Brent Council to build the Cultural Centre at 'no cost' to the council. Fewer flats, less profit, no money for the Cultural Centre.

Not surprisingly the developer, Galliford Try-Linden Homes has put in an objection to the Town Square application. Rather more surprisingly, as Brent Council decides to approve or reject the application, the Council itself has also put in an objection.

In the meantime local historian Philip Grant has revealed that back in 1984 Brent Council itself supported the idea of an open space here:
In a document produced by Brent's Development Department (the forerunner of the present "Regeneration and Major Projects") in December 1983, an annotated plan of the site stated: 'The Council intend to preserve the little building on the corner with its turret and decoration - the wings behind are later additions, and these will be removed to provide some much-needed open space.'
Some councillors wanted to save money on the project, and demolish the whole of the old (Victorian) Willesden Green Library, replacing it with a public square which would run from the new Library Centre right down to the High Road. In a Council debate, reported in the "Kilburn Times" on 20 April 1984, Councillor Len Snow said that this 'would be a sad mistake', leaving 'a gap here, which will be open to wind and traffic noise'. He went on to say: 'If the square was protected by an interesting frontage it would be a haven of peace and on a sunny day a delight to sit in.' 
Len Snow's view, and that of like-minded Councillors, eventually prevailed, giving Willesden Green the public square that local people have enjoyed for more than 25 years, and still enjoy.
Philip's article and the response by Martin Redston to the developer's objection can all be found on the Keep Willesden Green blog HERE


Anonymous said...

This is such nonsense - a pointless campaign waged by a man with too much time on his hands. He does not speak for the residents of Willesden Green - every resident I know is desperate to see the high road kickstarted into regrowth, which the new library should assist - but for his own agitant minority. Redston and his fellow cranks have already cost local tax payers a small fortune by delaying this project and sending it back to the drawing board when the initial plans made sound economic sense and now he's trying to invent a town square where one does not exist, fond anecdotes of hanging about outside the library notwithstanding. I really wish he and his fellow Nimbyists would shut up and let the rest of us live in an area that is being renovated and revived, not held back by a small clique of crackpots.

Anonymous said...

To annonymous really? Every resident i know thinks the whole library plans of asset stripping and building a ridiculous 92 flats on a small private closed residential street is horrendous and not wanted by any of the residents that I know and having lived here for over 45 years I know most of them so I equally suggest you perhaps check closer on your facts or equally shut up about things you obviously know NOTHING about your an idiot

Anonymous said...

and as for your comments live in an area that is being renovated and revived???? Really do you ever walk down the high road? And yes I did sit in that town square as a child with fond memories? Were you living here then? No? well then dont comment for other people with once again your ill informed comments