Saturday 14 May 2016

Has the time come for a People’s Forum on Planning? It surely has.

An amazingly speedy response to my  previous blog from Jaine Lunn

I am hoping you will publish the blog in response to final paragraph contained in your most recent post regarding how the council should operate when they own the property.

Recently Wembley Youth Centre was closed, citing that Brent Council had held a consultation on Youth Services and could no longer fund this particular centre.  As a Council owned building, Wembley Crime Prevention who were running most of the projects, quickly realised that the youth of Wembley would have nowhere to go and submitted an Expression of Interest for a Community Asset Transfer.  Whilst this was accepted and acknowledged that it met with the Borough Plan objectives, it was refused on the grounds that this land had been earmarked for a housing development (!) butthey  may consider leasing it in the short term, until the property was put up for sale/lease and planning applications and consultations were submitted. 

Contrast this will the Tokyngton Library which Labour closed in 2011.  Brent Council Officers prepared a detailed Housing Plan of up to 20 units inclusive of a Shared Community Facility for the local community.

In round one of consultations one of the highest bidders was a developer who accepted the Councils plans in full.  However, this was not to be, amazingly a second round of bidding was allowed and the former Library was sold to a party associated with Councillor Butt and his family LINK, with no housing or community centre for the local residents/public.

In King Eddies Park, only a year ago when the Bowls Club Pavilion was  was rescued from development, an Expression of Interest for Community Transfer for the Pavilion  rejected, and the interested parties were told, this is not an option and will not be listed as an asset of community value as “the council need to make money”.

This Bowling Pavillion and associated land is now up for lease at £25,000 per annum along with parking allowance and unlimited access to the Park!

And finally,  what happened to the last remaining public use Green Open Space in Wembley Central, now part of the new development of Ark Elvin Academy.  This was public land that in 1998 was transferred to the Governing Body of Copland Community High School, a grant maintained school of which the infamous Sir Alan Davies KBE was head.  No public consultation, no exchange of money for land that is worth millions and certainly in double figures.  Which now belongs to Ark Elvin Academy whom I assume also haven’t paid any money for it.  LINK
At the same time despite Brent Council receiving objections to the removal of the Public Right of Way, Footpath 87, people in the the wards of Wembley Central and Tokynton are prevented from entering or crossing the land, which they have had use of for over 50 years.  The objection has been sent to the Secretary of State for the Environment and is yet to be decided.  Keir the Constructor of the new school has chosen to ignore the rules and traffic order and quite happily sealed off the Public Right of Way, and installed a temporary footpath which is higgledy piggeldy over the field, a muggers’ paradise if ever I saw one and very unsafe.  On calling the Council regarding this I got the response “Oh well I’m afraid there is nothing I can do, but it won’t look good for them with the Secretary of State”!

So yes Martin, we do need a peoples’ panel to stop them running rough shod over us with regard to the planning committee decisions.  It is obvious they read little or even try to understand what is being conveyed in the committee reports,  evident when listening to the questions they ask and observing who votes for what.

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