This guest post is by Leslie Barson. It is ironic that at Brent Council's Time to Talk event on Extremism earlier this week, a strong theme from workshops was the need for neutral, accessible, affordable spaces where different communities could mix and get to know each other. Like Stonebridge Adventure Playgound, demolished by the Council, these are examples of existing spaces that do precisely that job being threatend by Brent Council's actions.
Please watch the short film above and sign the petition HERE
Many of you will have heard about the 'consultation' that ended recently concerning the South Kilburn Master plan and the plans to include The Granville Plus Centre and The Catrlton Centre. The plan is to tear both buildings down and replace with them with flats, businesses and community spaces.
The plan to tear the heart out of South Kilburn by getting rid of these iconic buildings is scandalous. These two loved buildings that carry the memories and history of the area. You may remember going to youth club there, having a special birthday party there, a Christening or even the funeral of your loved ones. You may have learnt a trade in Carlton or gone to school there. Your children may have gone to nursery there, or your young people attended the Youth Service activities in Granville.
We are told the buildings are 'under utilised'. If this is so it is because of Brent Council's policies over the last few years. I know it the case of Granville: the building was full to the brim in 2013 with events every weekday and weekends. There was a problem with neighbours and noise. The money was found by the council to deal with the problem by upgrading the windows and installing sound insulation.
However, suddenly this money was taken back by the council and the work did not go ahead. Instead the Granville was told to no longer hold functions emptying the building. The Brent Youth Service was scrapped 31 March this year with the loss of classes and activities to over 800 young people a year in Granville.
The Granville Community Kitchen with the local community decided to do something to remedy this. As a community with the help of John Lyons Charity we held a 2 day a week summer scheme and had over 85 children and young people attend over the 5 weeks; This shows the tremendous need in the area for free local services for children and young people. We all know the need for community space is there so if these buildings are under used its due to policy not need.
Both these buildings are also in need of renovating. There is no denying that. This again is used as a reason to tear them down. But actually they are run down again due to council policy, but Granville has attracted £1.8 m of GLA money in May this year. And the South Kilburn Trust are adding £2m to that to renovate Granville. So there is no need to argue that the buildings need renovating,. We agree and the money can be found!
These buildings were both built around 1908 to serve the people of South Kilburn, The Carlton Centre as a primary school and the Granville Plus centre as a mission hall. They are still serving the people of South Kilburn:
We need that continuity in the area.
We need our rich history and heritage buildings more than ever with such massive changes happening in South Kilburn.
We need a place that is distinctly South Kilburn.
We need community memories and community history that bind us.
We need Carlton and Granville renovated for the people of South Kilburn to use for generations to come.