Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Border dispute over Moberly/Jubilee sports centre development to be decided tomorrow

Flyer issued by Kensal Trian gle Residents earlier this year
Controversy over developments on the borders of Brent and other boroughs have been quite a feature recently: Brent Cross: (Brent and Barnet), Welsh Harp-West Hendon Estate (Brent and Barnet), Harlesden Incinerator (Brent and Ealing) and are now joined by the Moberly Sports Centre (Brent and Westminster).

Tonight the Moberly application will be heard by the planning committee and a lobby is planned by the mainly Westminster group, Save the Jubilee Sports Centre, to persuade Brent not to grant planning committee. Brent officers' with some conditions have recommended approving the application.

The Moberly is situated in Brent on the border of Westminster but owned and run by Westminster City Council.

Save Our Jubilee campaign has been given space on the blog  LINK of Westminster Labour councillors to argue their case:
The Save Our Jubilee campaign has been fighting Westminster City Council to keep the much-needed sports facilities at the Jubilee Centre, one of Westminster’s two most deprived wards.

Westminster’s plan for the new Moberly sports centre is part of a wider plan which involves the demolition of the Jubilee centre and its replacement by market housing. The plan involves combining most of the facilities provided at the Jubilee and Moberly now in one new centre.

We think it isn’t a good deal for Brent residents. This is why.

1. No affordable housing will be provided to meet the desperate needs of Brent residents. Brent’s Site Specific Allocations DPD identifies the Moberly site as one that could be redeveloped to improve the existing sports and nursery facilities and in addition to provide 104 housing units. Brent would normally expect half of these to be affordable – a valuable contribution to meeting housing needs in the borough. Westminster are proposing 71 flats (fewer than Brent thought the site might accommodate) and all these will be market housing for sale with no affordable units included.

2. Loss of daylight and sunlight to neighbouring properties. Westminster City Council’s decision to relocate services from the Jubilee to the Moberly site has resulted in a massive new building, seven storeys high at the northern end, which will rob neighbouring homes in Brent of daylight and sunlight. As a result, properties in Chamberlayne Road, City Heights and Noko will experience daylight levels below BRE guidelines, while properties in City Heights and Noko will have no direct sunlight at any time of the day. The Report attempts to justify this on the grounds that the developers of Cityview and Noko should have anticipated the redevelopment of the Moberly site. But they were facing an open space. It was reasonable for everyone to assume that this would be left undeveloped in line with Brent’s planning policies.

3. Loss of outdoor sports facilities. On the north side of the Moberly site there is an 18 x 36 metre floodlit artificial turf pitch used mainly as a football pitch by local youth clubs and adult teams. The report Planning for Sport and Active Recreation Facilities produced jointly by the London Borough of Brent and Sports England in 2008, looked at the distribution of STPs (Synthetic Turf Pitches) across the borough and considered that the south of the borough was adequately served by the pitch at the Moberly. However, if Westminster’s application for the Moberly site is approved, this pitch will be lost and, as a result, wards in the south of Brent will no longer meet minimum standards for outdoor pitch provision. The replacement pitch offered is in Westminster, 1.2 miles away, nearly in Maida Vale – and foreign territory for most of the Brent and Queen’s Park youngsters who use the Moberly now.

4. Replacement, not better provision. Westminster City Council argues that the benefits provided to Brent residents by the new sports centre are so exceptional that Brent’s policies in relation to affordable housing and overshadowing should be set aside We say that, contrary to Westminster’s claims, the benefits offered by the new development are in no way exceptional. The new centre will, firstly, not provide any more usable leisure space than exists now and, secondly, the facilities mainly replace sports facilities already provided in the existing Moberly and Jubilee centres – which include a 25 metre pool, two sports halls, and gym and fitness suites..

For these reasons, we hope that the current planning proposals by Westminster will be refused by Brent Council at the Planning Committee meeting on 9th April.
There were 29 comments opposed to the proposal (along the lines of the above) and 12 in favour on the following grounds:
  • The facility will provide excellent sports facilities in an area which does not have easy access to such facilities
  • The proposed development will benefit sports provision in local schools
  • The proposed development will increase visitors to the area which will be good for local businesses.
  •  The proposed sports facility will benefit the health of local residents.
  •  The building is of an appropriate size similar to neighbouring City View
  • The proposal will be an improvement on the existing dilapidated facilities.
  • The cost of the development will not be to taxpayers but the facilities will benefit all residents

Kensal Triangle Residents' Association have maintained a neutral stance on the issue with opinion divided between supporters and opponents.

There will be an arrangement giving Brent residents access to the Centre. The proposed facility would have a floor area of 9293 sqm and would include the following facilities:
  •  25m 6-lane swimming pool;
  •  8-court sports hall;
  •  Boxing hall
  • Multi-use sports hall
  • Community Activity Room
  • Fitness suite
  • Three exercise studios
  • Health Spa
In its comments supporting the proposals Brent Parks and Sports Department is decidedly bullish:

Brent’s Sports and Parks service feel that the redevelopment of Moberly sports centre will bring fantastic new opportunities for Brent’s residents to take part in a wide range of sports and recreation activities in this state of the art new leisure facility.

Brent has one of the most inactive adult populations in England and the new opportunities that Moberly bring to increase residents ability to become more active is welcomed. Brent has a number of health inequalities across the Borough including high levels of diabetes and obesity and a more active lifestyle through use of this new sports centre will help people lead a healthier life.

The range of facilities is significantly greater than that at the current Moberly centre. 

The inclusion of swimming pools brings a new facility dimension to the Kilburn area and will offer both adults and children the opportunity to learn and take part in swimming. Swimming was the most frequently participated in sports activity across England according to Sport England’s Active People survey and the provision of only a third pool within the Borough of Brent will enable more people to take part in this popular activity.

The range of different facilities spaces available from boxing to 8 court sports hall, studios and community space reflect that a wide and ranging programme will be offered to the local communities. 

From a strategic perspective, the Borough’s Planning for Sport and Active recreation facilities strategy identifies the need for additional publicly accessible fitness stations and upgraded sports hall provision which Moberly will provide.

The Sport and Active Recreation Facilities Strategy has a number of themes which the provision of a new sports centre at Moberly will help to achieve, namely:

Theme 1: Increase provision of appropriate Facilities
Theme 3: Get more people active
Theme 5: Increase sports opportunities for young people
Theme 7: Improve partnership working

It will also help the Council deliver against it’s Corporate priority of ‘a strong community’ and it’s associated outcome of ‘Excellent sports, leisure and cultural facilities used by more people’. Also the priority ‘Improving health and well-being’ and achieving the outcome of ‘More people living healthier and longer lives’.
In the now familiar mantra associated with such developments (cf Willesden Green Library and the luxury flats sold overseas and the upcoming development at Bridge Park complex) Brent Council accepts the view that provision of ANY affordable housing on site is not viable given the developer's provision of the new Sports Centre:

After careful consideration of the viability issues and in light the high quality sports and leisure facility that will be accessible to Brent residents at the same prices as Westminster residents the lack of affordable housing on-site will be acceptable provided there is an appropriately worded clause in the section 106 agreement to claw back any financial surplus that could be used to support the provision of affordable housing elsewhere in the Borough
It should make for an interesting discussion tomorrow night. The lobby/demonstration outside Brent Civic Centre is due to start at 6.30pm.

It may not be too late to apply to speak on the issue:  Contact: Joe Kwateng, Democratic Services Officer  020 8937 1354, Email: joe.kwateng@brent.gov.uk


Anonymous said...

Residents living beside the new Alperton redevelopment that is huge and higher than most people had initially imagined are complaining about loss of light

Those who stand loose loss of light should be greatly compensated or else the planning application refused.

Not in my back garden everyone should be saying loud and clear to our elected representatives.

Anonymous said...

If these developments helped young people secure their own home then maybe but only maybe if people intend to live in them.

If the are simply sold to highest foreign bidder then SAY NO

Anonymous said...

Brent Council negotiated that Brent Residents will get the same reduced rates as Westminster.
Fantastic - Bring it On!

Anonymous said...

Brent don't have to spend a penny for this wonderful Sports Center either.