|Ujima House, recently taken off the market by vendors|
|Plan of the present site|
Monday's Brent Cabinet is due to approve the purchase of Ujima House on Wembley High Road, as one of a number of acquisitions to implement the Wembley Housing Zone. No details are available as yet for their plans for the site although a high rise development, in the light of the Twin Towers, seems possible.
The report LINK states:
Importantly officers say that redevelopment will be in the form of a partnership with the Council:The Wembley Housing Zone was designated by the GLA last year with the aim to accelerate housing and affordable housing development and to promote regeneration. In July 2015 Cabinet approved the approach which is to bring forward a programme of acquisition and development of a number of sites between Wembley town centre and the regeneration underway on the Stadium lands, including the council-owned site due to be released through the construction of the new Ark Elvin Academy. Cabinet also approved entering into a legal agreement with the GLA to secure their funding support and this has been concluded.Discussions are underway with the owners of a number of identified sites in order to establish the development programme. This report seeks the approval of Cabinet to the terms for the acquisition of a first of these identified sites, that of Ujima House and its car park in order to progress the implementation of the Wembley Housing Zone and agreement to enter into a contract with the Greater London Authority to fund the acquisition of the property.
--> The Ujima site is suitable for development on its own but discussions are continuing with neighbouring land-owners and if these are successful it is intended that this site would form part of a larger programme of redevelopment. It is expected that this programme will be taken forward by the council in partnership with a development partner and a further report will be made to Cabinet on the proposed delivery approach and the selection of the development partner Details regarding the financial aspects of the deal are not available to the public. The Council, as usual cites Para 3, Part 1, Schedule 12a of the Local Government Act 1972 claiming that the public interest in disclosing the information is out-weighed by the public interest in disclosing it.
By Virtue of Paragraph 3However the Act goes on to state:
Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)
Condition:Information is not exempt if it is required to be registered under-
Information is exempt to the extent that, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
- The Companies Act 1985
- The Friendly Societies Act 1974
- The Friendly Societies Act 1992
- The Industrial and Provident Societies Acts 1965 to 1978
- The Building Societies Act 1986 (recorded in the public file of any building society, within the meaning of the Act)
- The Charities Act 1993
Information is not exempt if it relates to proposed development for which the local planning authority may grant itself planning permission pursuant to Regulation 3 of the Town & Country Planning General Regulations 1992(a).If the Council is going to act as a redevelopment partner surely the above caveat applies? I asked Brent Council and got this reponse:
The qualification you refer to applies only when the council is exercising its planning functions, i.e. when it is acting in its capacity as local planning authority and deciding whether or not to grant itself planning permission. Whereas the purpose of Cabinet report you refer to is to seek approval to enter into a contract to purchase land. If the purchase is approved and an application for planning permission is submitted, it will of course be dealt with by the Planning Committee as an entirely separate matter and in accordance with planning law and policy and the information access rules you refer to.