Wednesday 17 July 2013

'Mums hold the trump card' on Queensbury development

Guest blog on the redevelopment of the Queensbury pub in Willesden Green by a local parent.

As well as being a concerned mum who took great confidence and sometimes solace from attending the National Childbirth Trust sessions,Tuesdays in particular, at the Qeensbury, I am also professionally, involved in Planning and Development so I have an idea of how the process works and what the developers are trying to do.

The exhibition run by Fairview is intended to consult locals on their revised proposals. They did this last year (9 months ago for their previous scheme) but the invitees to the exhibitions were a very short list and didn't include Busy Rascals or the NCT. Fairview recorded at that time only 22 comments from locals - I suspect that none of these 22 comments came from local parents who use the pub regularly for NCT/Busy Rascals.

If you can make it down to the exhibition it is most important that you leave a comment inside with the Fairview team so that this time they will have a more representative selection of comments to submit to Brent. These comments have to be formally presented to the council, they will not be ommitted or ignored. If you can't make it down they are opening some web pages on the 17th July where you can view the proposals online and I presume leave a comment (see below).The exhibition is online HERE

Just a few pointers so that you cannot be fooled: the new proposals as I understand it, include a space for community uses and a cafe on the ground floor. You may think this will be adequate for Busy Rascals but I think's why:

  1. The management team and staff at the Queensbury that are so welcoming and accommodating won't be there. This space will be leased to someone else who may not want children and babies running round their space. There is absolutely no way that Fairview can guarantee that the operators of this new space will take on the groups in the same way as the Queensbury people do.
  1. There will be a period - if this happens - during demolition and rebuilding when there will be no venue at all for the groups. So how do Fairview guarantee a temporary venue for the groups? The Council are I think very concerned about the survival of the the children's groups into the future and Fairview will HAVE to address this point. How do they do this?
I would also like to say that the Queensbury is only under threat if there is no support for its retention. So far the team at the Save The Queensbury, along with support form local residents groups, CAMRA and hundreds of local individuals have delayed the application decision by at least 9 months, have forced Fairview to revise their plans (at great cost to Fairview) and raised a huge amount of profile for the pub in local press and within the local area. Please don't do anything because you think the closure of the pub is inevitable - I assure you it isn't!!

In many ways you mums hold the 'Trump Card' - Fairview cannot be seen to be closing down children's groups - bad for the company reputation, AND the council would be much, much less concerned about this application if the Queensbury was 'just a pub'! Please use your trump card!

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