Wednesday 4 March 2015

No 'even playing field' when it comes to the Welsh School's bowling pavilion planning application

Tonight's Planning Committee will decide on the planning application from the London Welsh School to take over the Bowling Green Pavilion and build an adjacent single storey classroom in King Edward VII Park. The application is supported by planning officers and the Council has gone to considerable lengths in smoothing the application's passage, even to the extent of putting S106 money aside for landscaping of the bowling green which is next to the proposed school.

This is in stark contrast to the obstructiveness of the council regarding Stonebridge Adventure Playground which is also due to be displaced from the Stonebridge site to make room for the expansion of Stonebridge Primary School and the building of new houses. They have been offered no help at all to find a new site and Cllr McLellan  made an untrue statement to the local paper suggesting that the Playground had refused an alternative site.

It is not to disparage the Welsh School, which I admire, to point out that it has 30 pupils whilst hundreds of Stonebridge and Harlesden children from many schools, use the Adventure Playground particularly at holiday times and weekends when other facilities are not open.

The motivation behind this is a mystery to me.

At the same time it is worth considering the precedent of giving an approval to the building of a school in the park, albeit a small one, when there are extant free school proposals elsewhere in the borough, one of which, Gladstone, proposed to building on playing fields next to Gladstone Park.

Looking at the papers for tonight it appears that the officers' despite being reminded of the Qiueen Elizabath II Fields in Trust Agreement LINK have not fully informed committee members of the content of the  agreement it. Instead they have merely stated that negotiations about that would be a separate process. They do not warn the Committee that in addition to the S106 costs of landscaping the bowling green that Fields In Trust may seek financial investment from the Council in the remainder of the park.

The Trust said:
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."
60 local residents have indicated to the Council that they would be interested in resurrecting the Bowling Club but the Council gets round that by saying that they are prepared to subsidise existing clubs but not a new one.

Can you talk about 'even playing fields' regarding bowling?

Suggestions that Collins Lodge could become a school building, initially claimed to be unsuitable, are now answered with the statement that the Council wants to retain the currently empty Lodge as a possible cafe/toilets in the future. The barely used dilapidated space next to the Lodge is claimed to be needed by Veolia.

The Friends of King Eddie's Park petition has been signed by all three Preston Ward Labour councillors, Sam Stopp (Wembley Central), Cllr Wilhemena Mitchelll-Murray (Wembley Central) and Ernest Ezeajughi (Stonebridge).

The application is the first item on the Agenda after formalities. The meeting begins at 7pm at the Civic Centre  (Conference Hall).


Anonymous said...

The Welsh First Minister has approved an allocation of £37,500 to Ysgol Gymraeg Llundain for the period 1 April 2015 – 31 August 2015.

Anonymous said...

Cllr McLellan 'made an untrue statement'. Words on blogs use energy, as all good Greens should know, Martin. Four words where one word of four letters would have sufficed. Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

What a pity the meeting isn't being live-streamed. I haven't seen Brent councillors in action for more than 48 hours now and life is seeming increasingly empty ..........

Mike Hine

Martin Francis said...

Mmm. I might be accused of semantics but, for the benefit of the doubt, an untrue statement made knowing it is untrue is a lie, but an untrue statement made thinking it is true, perhaps trusting a source who says it is true, is slightly different.

G.Lee said...

Cllr McLellan also said quite adamently that Doug and I had agreed at a previous meeting to run Stonebridge Adventure Playground for the next 5 months without any budget (another 'untrue' statement).....Fortunately the previous meeting had been minuted...