This is what Brent Council Public Relations told Property Week about the 'Twin Towers' for Wembley High Road/Park Lane which Planning Committee approved on Wednesday.
You have been warned!A spokesperson for London Borough of Brent said: “Wembley is our biggest growth area for which we have great ambitions. We are already seeing a large amount of development and investment around the stadium but this approval sets the scene and could be the catalyst for further growth and investment on the high street.
“I am pleased to see a development come forward, which will provide affordable housing, community space, retail uses and a new public square for local people to use as well as generate over £5m to go towards local community facilities. The buildings, although tall, are appropriate in this area given that it is one of our key growth areas.”
'A new public square'. What do these people have for a soul? A public square is an organic thing, not just a bit of spare space designed in to give the 'development' some kind of illusion of social and community relevance. It would also need openness and light, hardly likely when it's surrounded by mile-high concrete blocks.
Why not chuck in 40 square metres of astroturf too? You could call it the village green.
'£5m to go towards local community facilities' - if local Wembley Central councillors had any sense, they would be fighting tooth and nail for a small portion of this "up front", to keep the Wembley Youth Club open, until the facilities it offers young people in their ward can be transferred into the promised 'community space' in the Hub development when that is completed.
"If local Wembley Central councillors had any sense..." Oh Philip, you do make me laugh!
Dear Anonymous at 23:10:-
I am pleased if I provided a bit of light relief, but I was actually making a serious suggestion.
I sent a copy of my comment of 8 April, and a link to this blog, by email to the three Wembley Central ward councillors on Friday evening. I have not heard back from either Wilhelmina Mitchell Murray or Krupa Sheth, but I have received a reply from Sam Stopp.
I am not sure whether Cllr. Stopp is displaying 'any sense' over this matter, as all he said was 'have you seen my tweet?'. As I do not follow Twitter, I have not seen his tweet - but if any Wembley Matters readers have seen it, please share his wisdom on this issue with us all in a "comment" below. Thank you!
Thank you, Martin, for sending me a copy of Cllr. Sam Stopp's tweet. At 15:53 on 7 April he tweeted:
'Will lobby HUB Group so Wembley Youth Centre can use space on ground floor of twin towers.'
That's good news, as far as it goes, Sam, but where is the Wembley Youth Centre meant to provide its services to young people in your ward until the Hub development has been built?
As ever Philip you are the voice of reason, I see no reason why we shouldn't lobby the Council for funding to open Wembley Youth Centre and keep these very valuable projects going. I think Hub would be more than happy to put forward funding in the meantime, after all the money is supposed to be ring fenced for spending in Wembley Central to benefit local residents, and I would be very grateful for any advice with regards to how I can go about this.
Our team at Wembley Crime Prevention sincerely hope that even though the doors have now closed under the regime of what was Brent Council, Youth Services on the 1st April 2016 primarily because of their imposed financial cutbacks, we working alongside our key partners shall be permitted the opportunity by Brent Council to facilitate and resume back this vitally important youth and community service provision. Wembley Youth and Community Centre has beyond reason shown it's existence is of a significant benefit to the young people and our community in Brent through a proven track record of delivering a vast range of excellent projects and initiatives that have substantially benefited and developed the futures of our young people. Wembley Crime Prevention working alongside our key partners shall always remain committed towards supporting our young people and providing them with a safe haven, avoiding and away from the inflicting dangers surrounding the negative impact of gangs, gun and knife crime that are now happening daily within our community. We now have the daunting wait for their formal decision upon Wembley Youth Centre though, in saying this have been recently advised by them that the protocols involved along the process will be rather lengthy. We sincerely thank the readers of Wembley Matters for their kind support in recognising the importance of our youths and the local community.
Dear Jaine (and Wembley Crime Prevention, below),
The best advice I can give is that you try to get your local ward councillors on board to work with you on this. They have access to the necessary Council Officers who could liaise with HUB Group on this matter, and have the authority of being the elected representatives of local people to help take the fight to those who pull the strings at Brent Council.
I emailed a copy of my comment of 11 April at 17.05 to Cllr. Sam Stopp, with copy to his fellow ward councillors, saying:
'I hope that you will consider, and act on, the idea which I raised in my original comment (and email) of 8 April. I also hope that you will encourage your fellow ward councillors, Wilhelmina Mitchell Murray and Krupa Sheth (neither of whom has yet responded to me), to lobby HUB Group and Brent Council for some action on youth facilities in Wembley Central. Thank you.'
Your ward councillors are therefore aware of the idea that some of the ring-fenced funds from HUB could be used to provide the Wembley Youth Centre with a home until their "twin towers" development is completed. Put the pressure on them to take some action on behalf of the people they are supposed to represent. After all, it is only a couple of years to the next Council elections, and this is an opportunity for them to show that they (and their party) are worth voting for!
The public space is concrete, it may as well be a car park.
The Council need to think about the impact this sort of development will have on the area as a whole.
How will the whole High Rd street scene look? What impact will all the new flats have on the area as a whole?
What impact will 1000s of new residents have on the existing residents and the existing infrastructure?
How often do any of these decision makers take buses to work or school from the High Road? How often do they experience the queues and being squashed like a sardine in a tin can themselves?
With all the other new flats being built on the High Road, how will a green building, a pale yellow brick building and a brown building look like when they are all built? It'll look like a child's lego set. All different colours and nothing in harmony. Well if that's what Brent Council want to see - making Brent a laughing stock and at the expense of the residents who voted them in, then too bad for all of us. It's a sad day when you give up and lose all hope in politics and democracy.
It appears that it is not just Anonymous on 14 April at 07:27 who is losing hope in politics and democracy. In a story on the "Kilburn Times" website at:
Wembley Central councillor Sam Stopp has raised doubts about the "twin towers" planning decision. He is quoted as saying:
“There are questions to be made about who is making decisions about which planning application goes ahead. What causes the decision made at planning to be made? Is it just on the merits of the scheme or are there political angles there as well? That’s something I'm investigating more.”
In the interests of openness and transparency, I hope that he shares the findings of his investigation with the people of Brent.
I have still not had any response from Wembley Central councillors Krupa Sheth and Wilhelmina Mitchell Murray to my email of 8 April and copied email (to Cllr. Sam Stopp) of 11 April about Brent Council seeking to use some of the funds available from HUB Group for local community facilities to keep open Wembley Youth Centre until the new community space promised at the "twin towers" development is opened.
Given that those two councillors (along with Council Leader Cllr. Muhammed Butt) are meant to be "Associates" (and supposedly supporters of) the Wembley Crime Prevention charity, I am surprised at their apparent lack of interest in this matter! Has anyone heard of any positive action which they, or their fellow Wembley Central councillor, Sam Stopp, are taking to try to ensure that facilities will continue to be available in their ward for the excellent youth work carried out by Wembley Crime Prevention?
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