Thursday 15 December 2016

Public denied access to brook side walk after police advice

Impression of new development
It emerged last night at Brent Planning Committee that the public will be denied access to a walk beside the Wealdstone Brook which forms part of the redevelopment of the Amex House site in North End Road, Wembley.

There has been a long-time aim of naturalising the brook and increasing public access but the police have advised that because it does not provide a 'natural thoroughfare' (ie leaves North End Road and moves in a loop around the development and then rejoins North End Road) it could be liable to anti-social behaviour.

This would seem to put other potential access as a result of redevelopment at risk as the same argument coud be used as brooks and rivers meander and don't provide straight A to B thoroughfares. The police seem to have ignored walking for pleasure as something that nearby residents may want to pursue in an area with sparse greenery.

The Wealdstone Brook eventually joins the River Brent where there is a riverside path down to Monks Park and the North Circular and this is a recognised local amenity.  There is also a walk along the Brent and the canal feeder between St David's Open Space and Neasden Lane/Blackbird Hill. It is hard to know why these are fine but Amex House is not.

Councillors were concerned about potential flooding of the site and the level of pollution in the brook. The Environment Agency has opposed the development wanting it further away from the brook and this means that despite it being passed last night it will have to be referred to the Secretary of State.

The Committee also passed development applications for the Powerleague site next to Wemblety Stadium and Wembley Arena, Cottrell House, Warranty House (Dudden Hill Lane) and extensions to Ealing Road Library.

There were no public representations against any of these schemes - just speeches in favour from Brent Planning Officers and the developers' agents.

Note: I suspected there was an issue regarding public access to the brook side walk when the officer's report was vague about it. I received no answer when I contacted the Planning Department by email  and phone asking for clarification. The police advice is not included in the report to the Planning Committee.

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