Saturday, 27 September 2014

Final decision on Kensal Rise Library on hold while Department for Communites considers planning application

Brent Council has agreed with the Department for Communites and Local Government to put the final Kensal Rise Library planning application decision.

Responding to a member of the public who had requested a call-in to Eric Pickles, Secretary of state, 
The National Casework Planning Unit state:
Thank you for your email set out below addressed to the Secretary of State, your email will be passed to my colleague Fiona Hobbs who is already considering this application on behalf of the Secretary of State, and while she is working on the case the council have an agreement with us not issue a decision.  I understand from my colleague that Brent council are currently preparing a S106.
This is the content of the e-mail:
 
Dear Secretary of State,

PLANNING APPLICATION 14/0846: FORMER KENSAL RISE BRANCH LIBRARY, BATHURST GARDENS, LONDON, NW10 5JA - LONDON BOROUGH OF BRENT 

I believe the above application - granted planning consent on 16 July - should be called in because it raises issues of more than local importance: 

a) the Localism Act 2011, ACV listing and Community Right to Bid regulations appear to have been incorrectly and arbitrarily applied by LB Brent LPA:

i) inconsistent, arbitrary application of Localism Act 2011 to an Asset of Community Value (ASV): points 7 & 8 of the LB Brent LPA case-report (note 1) state unequivocally that 'the fact that the building is listed as a Asset of Community [ACV] value is...a material planning consideration' (7) and 'is also relevant...as a partial change of use to residential is proposed' (8); 
ii) so why did LB Brent LPA's legal advisor tell the 16 July planning committee that the 2011 Localism Act and ACV were 'separate legislation and not under the consideration of this committee' (note 2)? 
iii) LB Brent legal department's failure properly to apply the Community Right to Bid (CRB):
- Kensal Rise Library, subject of planning application 14/0846, was designated an Asset of Community Value (ACV) in December 2012;
- the sale contract for the building wasn't signed until January 2013, ie after ACV-listing, so the 6-month moratorium bidding process should have been enabled; but
- LB Brent LPA chose as the sale-date the earlier date of the Option Agreement (note 3) to purchase the property, signed in November 2012, ie before ACV-listing. Using this earlier date, LB Brent LPA argued that the 6-month moratorium on the sale did not apply.

b) I believe 14/0846 to be, therefore, a suitable test-case for the proper application of the Localism Act 2011 to ACV-listing:

i) it's widely believed that the Option Agreement was signed in order to bypass the provisions of the 2011 Localism Act for a moratorium on the sale of the property's ACV-listing (note 3, para 6.2). 
ii) this was, and remains a controversial sale and change-of-use planning application for one of Brent's few remaining historic buildings (note 4). The possibly deliberate attempt to bypass the ACV provisions of the 2011 Localism Act by then-owner All Souls College, Oxford requires investigation.

The Localism Act/ACV listing and Community Right to Bid is new legislation with little or no case-law to date. I urge you, therefore, to exercise your right to call in the application to ascertain whether correct procedures have been followed.

Notes: 
http://democracy.brent.gov.uk/documents/s25283/03 Former Kensal Rise Branch Library Bathurst Gardens London NW10 5JA.pdf
awaiting publication of minutes of meeting; 

 

7 comments:

  1. Very good news indeed.

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  2. What's going to be the consequence of Brent submitting an S106 while the Dept. of Communities investigates this matter? Is the submission of the S106 an attempt by Brent to ensure that it is seen to be setting aside an obligation on the use of part of the Kensal Rise library for the community? But if that's the case then it's pointless because the request for call-in is about the procedures Brent took regarding the overall application of ACV and Community right-to-bid rather than the specifics of what the developer and All Souls were offering the community.

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  3. Let's see if FKRL post this blog on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

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  4. Link here to the minute of the 16 July planning application - this was unavailable at the time the call-in request was made due to unexpected hospitalisation of the officer responsible

    http://democracy.brent.gov.uk/documents/g2287/Printed minutes Wednesday 16-Jul-2014 19.00 Planning Committee.pdf?T=1

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  5. I wonder if Brent Council will put S106 and planning permission on hold until CPS has reported on email fraud (link here)?

    http://wembleymatters.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/police-pass-kensal-rise-e-mail-fraud.html

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  6. A load of twaddle - and not for the first time. The day before this blog appeared the dept for Communities and Local Govt recommended non-intervention - so the council didn't agree to put the decision 'on hold' as inaccurately reported here. Out of date and completely misleading. Again.

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  7. The NPCU had asked Brent Council to put the matter on hold as this email from Rachael Woodbridge on September 1st (quoted above) clearly stated:

    "Thank you for your email set out below addressed to the Secretary of State, your email will be passed to my colleague Fiona Hobbs who is already considering this application on behalf of the Secretary of State, and while she is working on the case the council have an agreement with us not issue a decision. I understand from my colleague that Brent council are currently preparing a S106.

    I have copied in Fiona for her information, she is on leave until 9th of September but will pick this up on her return."

    Are you saying that the NPCU was making up the agreement with Brent Council?

    You are correct in saying that by the time this blog appeared the information was out of date - I had received it rather late. The NCPU did not publicly announce the call-in decision but as soon as I heard about this from Margaret Bailey I chased it up and asked for a full statement on the reasons for refusing the call-in.

    This was not forthcoming but I got the information from another source and published it yesterday.

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