Monday 24 March 2014

Kensal Rise campaigners celebrate but reservations remain

The agreement between the Friends of  Kensal Rise Library and All Souls College and Andrew Gillick of Kensal Properties Ltd has been widely welcomed as it provides D1 space for a community library in exchange for support for that aspect of the developer's planning application. LINK

Clearly to have got this far is a tremendous achievement for a campaign that has kept going through thick and thin, including dawn raids by both Brent Council and the developers and the demolition of the pop up library.

The main fly in the ointment is that police investigations into alleged fraudulent emails has still not been concluded. As the outcome of the investigation is not yet known, and criminal proceedings against persons yet unknown are possible, it seems clear to many that the planning application should not be heard until the matters is cleared up once for all. It would be a disaster if the planning application, incorporating the community space agreement,  was heard and was successful, only to be thrown into doubt by court proceedings.

The alleged fraud was perpetrated not just against Brent Council and the planning department, but also against those whose identities were stolen or hijacked. The question remains: who stood to benefit?

Other reservations voiced over Twitter during the afternoon concerned thecommunity library being accessed via a door cut into a chimney flue, rather than the main building door and the amount of main space used as a circulation area restricting flexibility of use. There was also worry that the agreement is far from watertight with the developer treating the Friends of Kensal Rise Library as preferred tenant for a limited period only.

The campaign wll continue until a satisfactory outcome is safely in the bag.


Anonymous said...

Maybe the police/CPS assume that the whole notion of 'public consultation' is already held in such low regard that the energetic pursuing of yet another sleazy aspect of it would be be a pointless waste of time. But I would have thought that, after the benign result for the Queensbury, Brent Council might see it as in their interests to cling on to a bit of the elusive moral high ground by insisting on some action.
And while we're on the subject of sleaze and 'consultations', anyone have any theories as to why Gove hasn't signed the Funding Agreement for New Copland yet? After all, even Ms Birbalsingh's Asbestos-Free School has got a Funding Agreement. ( No kids or habitable building, but let's not rush things).
They aren't still trying to figure out who the Copland land actually belongs to by any chance, are they?

Anonymous said...

It seems that the investigation has barely started as Brent police have yet to decide whether there's a case to answer. Equally worrying: why aren't elected politicians and officers making it clear that there'll be no planning application hearing until the police have reported. It's hard to avoid the conclusion - particularly with an election next month - that the politicians want the whole thing to go away as the council will clearly come in for criticism for enabling the fake email affair in the first place. Currently, a moral low ground, with no sign of improvement. When's that election...?

Anonymous said...

Have some guts Councillors and call for an immediate suspension of planning application pending outcome of full investigation.

Anonymous said...

Baroness Morgan now surplus to requirement and out in the cold

She did the dirty work.

Councillors how about calling for Judicial Review re Copland so community can have say rather than yet again money talking

Anonymous said...

As with other matters, they'll only act if made to realise that the whole thing WON'T go away. Forums like this are an excellent focus for people to convince them of this.

Meg Howarth said...

There has been what seems like a deliberate attempt in a certain political quarter to equate the call for suspension of the planning hearing until after the police decision with opposition to FKRL's support for Andrew Gillick's latest proposals. Such mischief is risible but not unexpected, particularly in the run-up to May's local elections.

The following comment from today's edition of The Bookseller highlights why such suspension of the planning hearing is necessary, even vital:

'There is no legal obligation to allow the library into the space, just an agreement that follows if the campaign backs the planning application to turn the building into flats'

If the planning application is not to become a political football, the police need to be allowed to make their decision prior to the planning-committee hearing. Should permission be granted first, followed by a police decision to take no further action, it will be hard, if not impossible, to quell suspicions that the former led to the latter, however unfair that might be - putting the members of the planning committee in an invidious position. Is that what the council leadership really wants?

Anonymous said...

Well-said! Wembley Matters is an excellent blog - as someone has said 'Every borough should have one'. Martin Francis is to be congratulated on providing Brent's residents with a fantastic rare opportunity for serious democratic debate. Local councillors ignore it at the possible peril of losing their seats...

Anonymous said...

Totally agree

It beats all other forms of communication hands down.

Perhaps Brent could save money by reducing unnecessary bits of printed advertising material that might look glossy and impressive but say little and instead bring community debates online allowing everyone to make an informed decision and not just propaganda in glossy brochures.

Keep up good work Wembley Matters

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good enough reason for planning application to be suspended.

While Library campaign have done a great job
Does the FKRL speak for the whole of the community ? As really the loss of floor area equates to substantial community loss that could have been used by other community groups if for example building simply remained community building.

Resist the temptation to give into Gillick by library campaign not supporting his planning application

Meg Howarth said...

STOP PRESS Tweet from Cllr Muhammed Butt posted just over one hour ago: 'Glad to hear Kensal Rise Library consultation fraud case is being taken forward by Met Police CID'!

Anonymous said...

How about Councillor Butt tweets

He will authorize suspension planning application pending police investigstion

Then his tweet might have substance.

Until then any tweet simply is not good enough.

Lets have action lead Councillor

Anonymous said...

What about Boris talking about using powers seize development land when develop sits on it.

What if planning application is refused.

What about seizing the asset back from Gillick in the event he can't redevelop of planning application is refused

Now that would be a result !

Meg Howarth said...

Agree. Will now forward this blog post to Cllr Butt.

Anonymous said...

Excellent idea! Seconded....

Anonymous said...

'Being taken forward' doesn't say anything, it's just a meaningless piece of arse-wibble. Language used to conceal rather than reveal. What have the police actually committed themselves to do? At what speed? With what real interest? With what promise that it won't be dropped at some future point? Any masons involved? Some people's bullshit detectors need sharpening up I think.
The Copland Taffia case was 'taken forward' by the plods remember. 4 years later all but one charge dropped and a slap on the wrist (suspended). Before we start to celebrate, let's see what happens (going forward).........

Anonymous said...

Why does it always have to take a full blown outcry for those in a position of power to listen ?

And even then doing something is uttering a few words to calm the outcry in the hope we will all go away and behave ourselves.

People feel betrayed as we have seen MP expense scandal, Banker Libor rigging, Utility companies holding country to ransome, G4S fiasco during Olympics and now both G4S and Servo pays fine for fraud in prison tagging and billing.

The list is endless of all the recent cases that have surfaced and only a handful, a few scape goats have actually been charged and sent to prison.

This time send a message to those who try and rigid the system for their own financial gain.

The poor and downtrodden have had enough

Anonymous said...

Love the 'arse-wibble'! Spot on. Let's hope Muhammed Butt will have more to say tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Library campaign have done a great job have they?
Where were all the other community groups in the last three years? Saving the building for the community? Ok now to jump on the coat tails of FKRL.
Does FKRL speak for the whole community? No one speaks for the whole community.
They will be responsible for any victory this community has and they can be trusted.

Anonymous said...

Lets hope the whole community benefits and lets wait the outcome of full police investigation before anyone can claim credit.

Nobody really should be claiming credit in any event of a final outcome