Friday 20 February 2015

Is Brent Council in breach of Trust Agreement over King Edward VII Park Welsh School proposal?

Collins Lodge

Guest blogger Jaine Lunn raises a vital issue that puts a big qustion mark over the London Welsh School's bid to open a school in King Edward VII Park, Wembley.
Collins Lodge in King Edward VII Park has a plaque that reads "Queen Elizabeth II Award Jubilee year 2012 by Fields in Trust LINK for Sport and Recreational use in perpetuity.”

Having contacted this organisation they responded I quote:-

"Brent Council entered into a deed of dedication with Fields in Trust in 2012.  The deed is registered at the Land Registry and states that King Edward VII Park is held as a “public playing field and recreation ground, inclusive of a bowling club and sports pavilion” in perpetuity.   I have attached our guidance document on how we protect recreational land which may be of interest.

If the landowner of a protected site wants to make a change that is outside of the permitted use then they will need to formally seek the consent of Fields in Trust.  We have a process in place for that and I attach that information for your reference.   This guidance outlines what our responsibilities are with regards to assessing such matters.   All decision are taken by our Trustees.

Fields in Trust do not get involved in the local management of sites as this very much stays in local hands.  So any changes to a site which fit within the agreed user clause do not require our consent.   There is some flexibility built into the deed of dedication, for example our Trustees may at their discretion consent to the disposal of land provided that betterment for local communities in terms of outdoor sport, recreation and/or play can be demonstrated. 

I can confirm that Brent Council did submit a formal request to Fields in Trust with regards to granting a lease on the disused bowls pavilion area to the London Welsh Language primary school on a 15 year term, and in addition to erect a single storey classroom block and convert the paved hard landscape area to an all weather playground.   We were advised that the bowling green and Pavilion are unused and the area fenced off, furthermore there was no bowls interest. 

I can confirm that the Council’s request was rejected by our Trustees in January 2015 because the site is protected for recreational purposes and the proposed new use would be outside the objects of the Deed of Dedication.  In order for the matter to even be reconsidered by our Trustees the Council would need to offer up for protection a replacement site of at least the size of the land being lost or provide a payment which is to be made available for investment in the facilities within the remainder of the site.  To date we have not received a revised application, which I believe would only be forthcoming should planning consent be granted."

As we have all seen on the site visit It is not a fair and equitable swap as it neither matches the size of the land proposed to be built on neither is it comparable to be used for sports. In the additional documents that have been submitted in the interim period the idea that residents should be able to sit on this land and be able to access a view comparable to the view from Primrose Hill over Central London is laughable and whoever cited this as acceptable "should have gone to SpecSavers" about covers it, or suggests they are taking some form of  medication to enhance their  very vivid imagination.  

Knowing all of the above, what really baffles me and to which I seek answers to the following questions.

1)  Who originally suggested/proposed the idea to the London Welsh School that this was a suitable location for their school?  

(After all they had investigated 98 other locations, 65 of which was outside of the London Borough of Brent.)

2.  Why did the Brent Planners not reject this immediately knowing that the land was protected?

3.  Having ignored the fact, made an application, which had they thoroughly read and understood the deeds of  dedication they had signed would have realised that it would be rejected?

4.  Why are they still supporting this application to grant permission, knowing that they must make another application to Fields in Trust for approval when the suggested land swap is also unlikely to be approved by the trust.

5.  How are they justifiying a complete and utter waste of time, money and resources of all concerned?

I would appreciate any answers to the above, from anyone!

To Brent Planners I say stop this nonsense and reject now.

This land is public owned Land and should remain so for the people of Wembley to enjoy as was originally decided when bought by the local Council back in 1913 to compensate for loss of Parkland at Wembley Park.  

MF A further question would be to ask why Brent Council have not informed the public about this agreement as part of the documentaion on the planning application. It is clearly a 'material consideration' for the Planning Committeee to take into account.


Anonymous said...

Brent Council yet again attempts to hide from thé réal truth.

Anonymous said...

Absurd! Building on a park for anything other than enhancing the park, i.e. a playground, is a no. It shouldn't even be entertained.

Anonymous said...

Wow!!!!! What exactly is going on. Why was this fact omitted? Why did the council not contact Fields in trust prior to the first planning meeting. They need to find an alternative location for the school.

Anonymous said...

At item 9 on Monday's Cabinet agenda is a report from Brent's Regeneration Director on how he proposes to spend S.106 (planning) funds for 2015/16 (the Development Funds Programme). One of the items is:

Title: King Edward VII park landscaping bowling green.
Purpose: Landscape the disused bowling green to increase informal recreation area.
Ward: Wembley Central
Details: There are no legal impediments to using this funding for this project. Given the importance of King Edward VII park to providing amenity space for the future occupants of the borough's largest growth area, this park is considered a priority.
Proposed spending for 2015/16: £152,044.

I would suggest that the identification of the former bowling green as an important area for extra informal recreation space within this park, which is considered a priority area in providing amenity space for the Wembley Growth Area, is also a "relevant consideration" for the Planning Committee to consider.

Philip Grant.

Anonymous said...

The granting of planning permission for planning application 14/4208, for the Registered non limited BUSINESS that operates as the London Welsh School (their website shows a fee of £860 per term for children aged 5 years and over), would prejudice public use of the bowling greens. This Registered Fee Paying Business would restrict access to the bowls greens for certain groups, by the very nature of them occupying the pavilion and building a classroom beside it. Their design and access statement uses words such as "exploit " to describe how they would seek to use the bowls greens. This is public recreational parkland that has been awarded Fields in Trust protection for perpetuity. It should not be exploited by this Registered Business and certainly not by Brent Council!

Granting planning permission to this Registered Business would further erode the park (there is already a section of the park that has been taken for use by Park Lane School with fencing preventing public access at all times).

Local residents have shown a willingness to create a much needed community hub and recreational bowls club that would cater for a broad spectrum of future occupants. Not just those wishing to pay £860 per term to attend a Welsh speaking Welsh curriculum following private Registered Business, the vast majority of whose pupils don't even live in Brent!

The Denis Jackson site has been listed as a viable alternative site in Brent, ask yourself why are Brent Council hell bent on putting this Registered Business in our King Eddie's Park? What's in it for them? Any s106 monies are meant to be allocated for community use. This planning application does not serve the Brent community as a whole. At best it serves a fee paying niche.

No to taking our King Edward VII Park. No!

Anonymous said...

This appears to indicate predetermination and intent.

Anonymous said...

This looks a crazy idea

Jaine Lunn said...

Thank you Philip it would appear that numerous relevant material considerations are being ommitted in the report to grant permission, any suggestions as to why this is being done?, and what recourse do we have
Jaine Lunn

Friends of King Eddie's said...

Thanks Mr Grant. Much appreciated. I have sent an email to all the cabinet members informing them of the information from Fields in Trust quoted in Jaine's article. Also, forwarded said email to Wembley Central and Preston Ward Cllrs (as King Edward VII Park falls within those wards).

The Fields in Trust protection awarded to King Eddie's Park is a legal impediment to Brent's Regeneration Director's proposal to landscape the bowls greens.

Denise Cheong

Anonymous said...

So what did the cabinet decide about item no 9?

Friends of King Eddie's said...

The Development Funds Programme Development for 2015-16 report, which includes the King Edward VII park landscaping bowling green project, was approved at last night’s cabinet.