Thursday 30 March 2017

Granville and Carlton submission on the South Kilburn Masterplan

The following submission on the SDP Masterplan for South Kilburn has been made to Brent Council by the users of The Granville Plus Centre and The Carlton Centre who live, work and study in South Kilburn: (please  click at the end for the full article which is well worth reading)

Brent Council launched a consultation on its review of the South Kilburn Masterplan Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) in February 2017 which ends on the 30 March 2017. For this consultation the Council released a document over 180 pages long over 3 sections. The people from South Kilburn were given 6 weeks to comment on this document which lays out the plans for their homes, parks, health, education,small businesses, and community services in the area for the next 10 -15 years.

Each site is given 2 A4 pages in the document. The first half of the page gives the details about where the property is with the second half of the same page incorporating a short paragraph about each of these three issues: 'Description', 'Justification' and 'Design Principles'. The second page gives a vague shadow drawing of a huge block or blocks in the place of the current buildings.

There are repeated justifications for redevelopment; that the buildings are poorly built, internal design problems, or poor design and construction. Some of the justifications to tear down buildings are absurd such as "there is a lack of clarity about what is the front or the back of the property" (Crone and Zangwill) or the property "is currently in a prominent gateway position and the current development does not capitalise on this" (William Dunbar and William Saville Houses). Any idea of refurbishment is brushed aside as not viable. On the basis of this paltry and inadequate information people are expected to agree to a massive reconstruction of their lives. The end result is unclear. Certainly this document gives very little information about it. Further, much of the detail about the buildings in the document is inaccurate calling into question the accuracy of the whole document and its legal status.

We, the people of South Kilburn, reject this document for 2 reasons. Firstly, the bad process and secondly, loss of trust in what the Council are doing and why. With regard to the process, the length of the consultation coupled with the importance makes it unable to be agreed in the time period. To read the plans and think what they mean in this the time period is far too short. The vagueness of the document along with the inaccuracies make it virtually meaningless and allow the Council to do anything in South Kilburn, making any idea of a consultation farcical. Most important the vision is not the vision of the people of South Kilburn. It is an imposed vision whose prime purpose is to maximize housing.

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group join in national demonstrations against punitive benefit sanctions

Outside Kilburn Job Centre today

Members of Unite Community, Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group and local activists protested outside Kilburn Job Centre today as part of a national protest day on sanctions.

Unite said:
Members came together across Britain today in a national day of action to stop benefits sanctions, with demonstrations in cities and towns up and down the country at over 80 job centres.
At the main demonstration, protestors gathered in London outside the Houses of Parliament and marched onwards to the Treasury and then to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to reiterate their call for the government to stop its ‘cruel and ineffective’ benefit sanctions regime.

Unite wants to highlight the shocking impact the government’s benefit sanctions are having on individuals, driving people further into poverty, misery and even death.

Since the Tories first came into power in May 2010 over 3m individuals have been referred for a sanction 8m times.

Punitive sanctions have resulted in over 318,000 people having their welfare payments cut or stopped without warning in the last year, affecting thousands of children and dependant adults. Sanctions are given for reasons such as missing or being late for appointments with the job centre, or being too sick to ‘actively seek work’.

According to the Trussell Trust, one of the main providers of food banks, more than 500,000 three day emergency food parcels have been distributed to people in crisis in the first half of 2016/17 – over 188,500 to children. The most common reason given for people turning to the food bank charity is problems and delays with their benefits.

Unite is also concerned that if people do not appeal against their first sanction, if they are sanctioned again, they will be sanctioned for longer – leaving people without money for three months or up to three years depending on the level of ‘offence’.

Figures released by DWP in December 2016 show that of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) for between 1 and 2 years during 2010 to 2015, 37 per cent were sanctioned, after challenges; of those claiming between 2 and 3 years, half (49 per cent) were sanctioned; and of those claiming between 3 and 4 years, 85 per cent were sanctioned.

Head of Unite Community Liam Groves said:
The government really needs to stop the cruel use of benefit sanctions which are destroying lives. The stress they are putting on people, and the effect on their children and wider families, is unacceptable. We should all be shocked.
The government has shown no evidence that benefit sanctions are working. The opposite is true, when people are in survival mode, fighting to put food on their family’s table or stressing how they will pay their bills means their mental and physical heath suffers and finding work is so much harder.

Rather than punishing the unemployed for not having a job the government should be helping people get jobs. People need a hand up – not a slap down.
Unite Scotland Community co-ordinator Jamie Caldwell highlighted the dire situation facing claimants in Scotland:
Last year an estimated total of 25,000 benefit claimants were sanctioned across Scotland – many of whom were left with nothing. What kind of a country are we living in, where a government can deliberately set out to leave children without enough to eat? It’s heart-breaking for that to happen in developing countries, but it’s a source of national scandal and shame in a rich country like the UK.
Unite in the Community co-ordinator Albert Hewitt explained that Northern Ireland’s working class has to date largely escaped the full brunt of the Tory government’s so-called welfare reforms, including benefits sanctions:
But with the Fresh Start agreement, this situation has changed. Despite the mitigation measures agreed as part of that agreement, the most vulnerable are being hard-hit by the range of punishing changes.

Unfortunately as a result of the Fresh Start Agreement, benefits sanctions are becoming an increasing reality for many of the most vulnerable in working-class communities across Northern Ireland.

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Fair Funding for All Schools - Get Your Voice Heard

The changing Wembley skyline as highrise blocks reach higher and higher

View from Chalkhill Park
This view drew my attention yesterday as I walked past Chalkhill Park, Wembley. It shows the central lift shaft of one of the tallest blocks so far approved in the Quintain regeneration area. As each block goes higher it sets a precedent for future planning applications: what's a couple of extra storeys between friends?

This Independent article from 2015 discusses some of the issues surrounding new highrise developments. LINK 

See also the Skyline Campaign HERE

March 30th: Haringey Against the HDV: The Social. No Permission for Demolition

Haringey Against the Haringey Development Vehicle: 
The Social. No Permission for Demolition

Thu 30 March 2017 19:00 – 23:00 TChances Arts & Music Centre, 399 High Road, N17 6QN

Haringey (Tottenham/Wood Green/Hornsey) is facing the largest attack on Council Housing and public commercial land of anywhere in the UK. This onslaught is opposed by the Labour Party in Haringey,opposed by Unite and GMB, and both MPs have called for a halt. Multiple estates are due to be demolished as the council signs a deal with Australian multinational Lendlease, a known blacklister. We know what happened in Southwark where Lendlease took the stock of council homes from 1,194 to 79.

Under The Cranes. A film by Emma-Louise Williams.

"Using the script of poet Michael Rosen’s documentary play, the film is intercut with rarely seen archive footage, much of which shows the locality’s commitment to social housing. As we hear from the famous – Shakespeare in Shoreditch, Anna Sewell, Anna Barbauld – alongside a Jamaican builder, a Bangladeshi restaurant owner or the Jewish 43 Group taking on Oswald Mosley in Dalston, we see past and present streets, parks, cemeteries and markets."

Q and A with Director Emma-Louise Williams.

Michael Rosen: Comment, questions and poetry from the award winning author Michael Rosen (ps his new book on Emile Zola is excellent).

MC: Ava Vidal: Famed Comedian and star of Mock the Week, Newsnight,Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow, Comedy Central's The World Stands Up, Edinburgh and Beyond and C4 reality show Kings of Comedy.

LIVE MUSIC With the superb Franco/Roma singer FLORENCE JOELLE and Band. A Truly excellent performer and a friend of Tottenham, who else could write an ode to the 29 Bus.

Campaign Update: Find out what is going on with the largest assault on Council owned properties in the UK and how we address it. Featuring Veteran Tottenham Activist Stafford Scott and other local activists and what you can do to help.

If you haven't booked you can still pay at the door.

Put the Mayor right on Estate Regeneration March 30th Stonebridge Hub

The invitation below has been issued to Brent residents by Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, but his 'Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration' has been criticised LINK LINK, not least by the Green Party AM Sian Berry.

On behalf of the Mayor of London we would like to invite Brent residents to a meeting to discuss the future of estate regeneration in London.

30 March - 6.30pm-7.45pm - Stonebridge Hub, 6 Hillside, NW10 8BN

The Mayor is currently consulting on a draft 'Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration' which sets out how estate regeneration projects in London should be run.

The meeting will be an opportunity to hear more about the draft Good Practice Guide and share your views on it. More information about the guide is available on the Greater London Authority's website

All residents in Brent with an interest in estate regeneration are very welcome to attend. If you know of anyone who may be interested in attending the meeting please share this invitation with them.

Please reserve your place and let us know if you plan to attend by:

·  Online - via eventbrite

·  Phone: 0800 612 2182.

·  Email:

For further information and inquiries please call Amy or Pancho on 0800 612 2182 or email

Sian Berry, Green Party Assembly Member for London has criticised the Mayor's guidance on estate regeneration:
The draft guidance gives no reassurance that the Mayor’s pledge to estate residents will be fulfilled. The document is very unclear how, in practical terms, councils and landlords need to act in order to qualify for Greater London Authority (GLA) funding, or to win the Mayor’s support for planning applications. 

Worse, it is almost useless as a resource for residents who want to hold their councils and landlords to account, take part in developing and putting forward positive new ideas to improve their areas or have a meaningful say in whether their homes are demolished. 

It doesn’t define transparency or include any measureable goals – not even one that says it aims to reduce the number of homes demolished as the Mayor has promised.

These failings are so severe that this draft guidance document needs rewriting from scratch. The Mayor’s team should work with estate residents to ensure their homes are protected from demolition, their views are respected and their ideas enabled by the final guidance.
Berry's full response can be found HERE

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Local News Matters - meeting tonight in Parliament on local media crisis

Tonight, Tuesday 28 March 2017, NUJ members and politicians will come together to discuss the local news crisis in the UK as part of the union's week of action. The event takes place in committee room 12 in parliament at 18.00.

At the event, the NUJ will be launching new research and analysis of the local media crisis. The research was carried out by Dr Gordon Neil Ramsay, deputy director for the centre for the study of media, communication and power at King's College London. Gordon will present the key findings of his research tonight. The other speakers confirmed include Aasma Day, the investigative reporter and lifestyle editor at the Lancashire Post, professor Robert McChesney, Justin Schlosberg from the Media Reform Coalition and NUJ president Tim Dawson.

The report entitled Mapping changes in local news 2015-2017: more bad news for democracy? includes the following key findings:

·         There was a net loss of 9 UK regional newspapers between November 2015 and March 2017, with 22 titles closing and 13 launching.

·         The number of UK local authority districts with no daily local newspaper coverage rose to 273 (of 406 in total).

·         Five UK local authority districts were reduced to single-publisher monopolies, increasing the number of local monopolies to 170 out of 380 in England, Wales and Scotland. Combining the new research with previous data reveals there are 1,103 local newspaper titles in the UK in March 2017.

·         The five largest publishers – Trinity Mirror (226 titles); Johnston Press (213 titles); Newsquest (211); Tindle (126) and Archant (75) account for 77.1 per cent of all local newspapers in the UK. There has been a net reduction of 2.2 per cent from November 2015 to March 2017.

·         There were 30 instances of job cuts announced over a 17-month period involving the loss of 418 jobs. Newsquest, with 12 announcements affecting 139 jobs, led the way, followed by Trinity Mirror (at least 102 jobs) and Johnston Press (100 jobs). In addition to the job cuts, reorganisations affected a further 83 jobs, and there were six newspaper office closures, with journalists often being moved long distances away from the communities they serve.

·         The BBC deal for 150 new local democracy reporters fails to offset the loss of more than 400 journalists from the largest publishers during the same period. The £8m to be spent annually on this scheme will be taken out of the publicly-funded licence and represents a fraction of the combined operating profits of the largest local publisher.

On Thursday 30 March at 13.30 in parliament, MPs will debate the state of the UK’s local media and an early day motion has been tabled calling for sustainable investment in professional local and regional news provision online, in newspapers and on radio and television.

Séamus Dooley, NUJ acting general secretary, said: “Journalism is a pillar of democracy and this survey should be of major concern to anyone who cares about local, regional or national government. The stark decline in journalism is a direct result of disinvestment in editorial resources. This survey points to a deep crisis in local and regional news provision. There is an urgent need for government and media organisations to halt that decline, to examine ways of developing sustainable media business models operating in the interests of democracy and the public interest. The price of a continuous decline is too high for citizens to pay.”

LATEST: Labour selections for Brent Council elections 2018

Former councillor James Powney failed in his 'come back' selection bid for Harlesden ward last night. Joshua Mitchell Murry, claiming he'd 'put residents first' was selected along with Lloyd McLeish and Mili Patel. Fryent selected Shama Tatler, George Crane and Vincent Lo.

On Tuesday Kensal Green and Barn Hill will select. In Barn Hill it is a formality with Shafique Choudhary, Sarah Marquis and Michael Pavey re-selected without  opposition. Wednesday Update: Matt Kelcher and Jumbo Chan were re-selected in Kensal Green and Claudia Hector won the third position.

Welsh Harp (Amer Agha, Harbi Farah and Roxanne Mashari), Queens Park (James Denselow, Neil Nerva, Ella Southwood) and Tokyngton (Muhammed Butt, Orleen Hylton and Ketan Shah) will all confirm the re-selection of current councillors.

Thursday's meeting in Alperton will confirm the re-selection of James Allie and Bhagwani Chohan with a contest for third place between Nushan Nazemi and Trupti Sangani.

Meanwhile more is emerging about the de-selection of John Duffy in Kilburn which was a surprise to many of the public given his record of robustly challenging the Cabinet and officers.

In an email to Kilburn ward members, following up on an email he sent listing his achievements as a councillor, Duffy said:
Normally I would ignore stupidity like this, but I have had to sit in meetings where the tone has been unacceptable some member calling Hillary Benn “a Fascist”.

At the meetings members often wearing pictures of Jeremy Corbyn these members are normally in their 50’s and 60’s its very odd. If you dare raise the fact working people are turning their backs on the Labour Party they say its not important that the Labour Party win elections. Some times I feel I am at a Moonies convention, without the humour or big wedding at the end.

Like most Labour party members, I am dismayed at our electoral position. So I ignore them and push on trying to deliver socialist answers to problem facing the residents of Kilburn because of the unbalanced Tory austerity attack on hard working families and people who are need support.

These members have apparently decided at Wednesday night selection meeting that local issues and local residents will more or less be ignored and the main issue at the meeting will be about how much you support Jeremy Corbyn.
In an earlier email he accused Momentum members of using the 'pernicious Tory tactic of blacklisting' (regarding Brent Momentum's Facebook listing councillors who supported Owen Smith's leadership bid) and said that his wife would not attend the selection meeting for fear of intimidation.

 A Kilburn Labour Party member reacted with this statement:
This is John Duffy's version of alternative facts. Not a different interpretation of facts, but a "different truth". The idea that members are all in their 50s or 60s, sit around in Corbyn T-shirts and ignore local issues is about as far from the truth as you can get. That and the idea that the main issue at the selection meeting was Corbyn.
The member went on to say that despite Duffy not being at the selection meeting his candidature had been tabled and he did receive some votes. Duffy did not have an automatic right to be short-listed and this had also been the case with Cllr Rita Conneely. He rejected claims that local issues were not discussed citing a recent special meeting on South Kilburn Regeneration and said no one else had noticed an atmosphere of intimidation.

There was a recognition that Duffy had made life difficult for the Council leadership and forced them to retreat on a number of issues but it was also felt that he was not a team player able to work co-operatively with other councillors and campaigners.

Listing councillors who had supported Owen Smith's leadership bid was an attempt to provide political information for Labour Party members to consider when making their selections. In fact most of the councillors named had been re-selected.  It was not comparable to blacklisting by employers to stop militant trade unionists from gaining employment.

The Kilburn member denied that the de-selection of Duffy could be interpreted as a victory for Muhammed Butt and the Labour leadership but instead was about the above issues and a reaction to Duffy's email claims.

Sunday 26 March 2017

Grunwick 40 Exhibition just closed but keep the struggle going and perhaps display it yourselves

From Grunwick 40

The doors to the #wearethelions #Grunwick strike exhibition closed at 5pm today. As the record-breaking run ends, the Grunwick 40 team would like to thank everyone who made this exhibition possible: curator Poulomi Desai, designer Neelu Bhuman, artist Anna Ferrie, the staff at Brent Museum & Archives, Graham Taylor and Dr Sundari Anitha who gave generously of their time to assist with text and research, and the committee of volunteers who have put in over 18 months of unpaid and unseen work behind the scenes to make this entire project happen. All this couldn't have been possible without the financial support of the many individuals and trade union branches who donated to our crowdfunding appeal, very generously topped up by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Near Neighbours. Final thanks, of course, go to the actual strikers themselves, the lions who continue to inspire us with their courage and commitment.

For now, the exhibition will go into storage but we would love to see it travel around the country. If you have a space that may be suitable for displaying it please message us to discuss. The Grunwick story may be 40 years old but we hope its lessons and legacy will continue to resonate for generations to come.

'Remind me, please, who is our local Council meant to serve?' - Brent Council propaganda on Wembley Stadium condemned

Brent Council's celebratory announcement of the approval of the Wembley Stadium - Tottenham Hotsput planning application to increase the number of full capacity events at Wembley Stadium has drawn stinging criticism.

Cllr John Warren has written to fellow councillors:
Am I the only member appalled at the "celebratory " tone of the Your Brent piece on the Wembley Stadium / Spurs planning approval on the Brent website?

The piece mentions the "extensive consultation process, "but is completely silent on the results of that consultation! Our intelligence is then insulted by a quote from a Brent Council spokesman, who speaks about a " balance being struck." What balance?

It is complete propaganda...and why are we celebrating a decision which offends a very large number of our residents? The phrase "rubbing salt in the wound " springs to mind.

Cllr John Warren
On Friday Philip Grant on a comment on this  blog wrote:

It is sickening that, this morning, Brent Council's website has a banner headline celebrating Spurs being given full capacity use of Wembley Stadium, linked to a Council press release about the Planning Committee decision which does not mention the objections made by local residents and businesses:
Remind me, please, who is our local Council meant to serve?

... and then, to add insult to injury, at 1pm today the Council emailed me "Spurs are on their way to Wembley!", a copy of the latest "Your Brent" digital news-sheet, with the same banner headline celebrating the Planning Committee decision.

But this is a very distorted news report, because it makes no mention of the very valid objections put forward to the committee, by local people and some councillors on behalf of their residents.

It is as if the Council's press release reporting the decision was prepared before the Planning Committee meeting took place, which it probably was!

Philip Grant
This is the Council's statement. complete with an image of celebratory fountains, posted on its website on the evening of March 23rd - the day of the Planning Committee:
Temporary increase to full capacity events at Wembley Stadium approved
23 March 2017

An application from the FA/Wembley National Stadium Ltd to temporarily increase the number of full capacity events at Wembley Stadium has been agreed by Brent Council's Planning Committee this evening (March 23).

The decision, which follows an extensive consultation process, paves the way for 22 additional full capacity events for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club matches, of up to 90,000 fans to take place at the stadium between August 2017 and July 2018.

Under current rules there is no limit on the number of events that can be held at a maximum capacity of 51,000.

It is understood that Tottenham Hotspur are set to make the national stadium their temporary home while their new ground at White Hart Lane is developed.

Wembley had originally requested permission for an additional 31 full capacity events but this was reduced to 22 prior to the application coming to committee. The application has now been approved subject to a number of additional measures being put in place, including ones designed to deal with the impacts of increased numbers of people in the area. These include controlling parking and traffic, signage, street cleaning, event management and control of public safety including aspects such as alcohol sale and street trading. The Committee heard from objectors and the applicant before making their decision.

A Brent Council spokesperson said: "Wembley Stadium is a highly valued part of our borough bringing visitors from around the world. We are pleased that a balance has been struck between recognising the impact on local residents and businesses whilst enabling the Stadium to make good use of its facilities and support a London club to operate in the capital while their ground is being redeveloped."

"We look forward to working closely with the Stadium, the Football Association and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club in the forthcoming year both on the management of events and their work in the local community that they outlined in their application."

Saturday 25 March 2017

Hear what Brent residents and councillors said at the Planning Commitee on Wembley Stadium application

If you missed the Brent Planning Committee that approved Wembley Stadium/Tottenham's request for more high capacity events at Wembley Stadium you can get a flavour from the sound file below.

Speakers in order were:

Dr Ruth Kosmin, Barn Hill Residents' Asssociation and an economist (0.10)
Dr Michael Calderbank, Wembley Park Residents' Association (8.40)
Denise Cheong, Wembley Champions (15.00)
Niral Babla, Wembley High Road Business Association (25.14)
Fatema Karim-Khaku, Barn Hill Residents Association  and transport consultant (30.44)

Cllr Shafiq Choudhary (Barn Hill ward) (36.50)
Cllr Sam Stopp (Wembley Central ward) (43.40)

Cllr Ketan Sheth (59.50)
Cllr Muhammed Butt (102.12)

What you can do for Clean Air for Brent

From Transition Willesden

Clean Air for Brent is a coalition of local residents' groups, Transition Towns, Friends of the Earth and the Council to improve air quality in the borough.  We met earlier this week, and are keen to involve people in having their say on air quality in Brent and also on diesel vehicles, especially in view of the results from our pollution monitoring in October.

Last October we carried out air pollution monitoring in Willesden, Dollis Hill and Cricklewood, and found 7 out of 10 sites were above the EU legal limit for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), with Cricklewood Broadway being well over twice the limit (see maps here and here).  For more about the project see our online group.

Brent Council
 is consulting residents and businesses on its Air Quality Action Plan for the next 5 years.  You have until Thursday 30th March to add your comments. Please take a little time to read the plan and respond to the survey online here.  You can also email feedback to

If you have less time, please sign one or more of these petitions against diesel.  It is largely the increase in diesel vehicles that is having such an impact on the air we breathe:

-Ditch diesel in the UK by Friends of the Earth
-One directed at car companies from Greenpeace.
-You can also write to MEPs asking them to clean up vehicle testing.  They will be voting on this issue on 5th April.

Thursday 23 March 2017

Wembley Stadium 'Goliath' wins against local residents

Rob Davies did not receive notification that his request had been granted. The Chair refused a substitute from the same residents' association

Despite some excellent well-researched speeches by supporters of local umbrella group 'Wembley Champions', Barn Hill Residents' Association and Wembley High Road Traders' Association,  Brent Planning Committee tonight approved Wembley Stadium/Spurs planning application for 22 additional full capacity (91,000)  events per year with only one councillor voting against.

Earlier it had looked more evenly balanced when councillors asked some searching questions about the application and mitigation measures with Wembley Stadium often floundering in response. Councillors appeared to be very  doubtful of the benefits for local people and concerned about a capacity increase of some 60,000 spectators and the subsequent impact on traffic, train and bus over-crowding, littering and anti-social behaviour.

However after another confusion over whether the Committee could defer the decision, with the wrong legal advice being given at first to say they couldn't, there was a short break.  After the break they were informed that they could defer after all (this after a member of the public showed them a copy  of the law), but no councillor moved a motion to do so and a straight vote was taken  for or against the officer's  recommendation of approval.

Cllrs J Mitchell-Murray, Moher, Maurice, Long, Kabir and Agha all voted for the increase in the number of events and increased capacity despite all their early scepticism. Outgoing Kilburn councillor Cllr Pitruzzella, who had asked some challenging questions of the stadium team, was the only one to vote against. She will be a great loss to honest Brent politics.

Unusually written statements were read out from Cllr Muhammed Butt (he'd decided not to attend the meeting) and Cllr Ketan Sheth. Butt claimed that on balance the application would be good for local people.

Usually when non-committee councillors make representations, as was the case with Cllr Stopp and Cllr Choudhary, they are asked to declare any interest and reveal any approaches that have been made to them - this was not the case with the written statements.

Brent Palestine Day - Bridge Park - Saturday

Wembley Stadium's last minute lobby of Brent councillors with glossy PR brochure on planning application

If the David and Goliath nature of the battle between local residents and Wembley stadium over the increase in the number of events and increase in capacity proposed during Tottenham Hotspur's stay at the stadium needed any further it is exemplified by a brochure that Wembley stadium has sent to all Brent councillors and Alice Lester, David Glover and Chris Heather in the Brent Planning Department.

The Stadium has full-time advisers and public relations officers spearheading their campaign while residents rely on their own resources and campaign in the free time available after they have done their jobs.

In an email to councillors and officers, Chris Bryant, Wembley Stadium head of operations says:
I contacted you on 26 January 2017 regarding our proposals and planning application for Wembley Stadium to host Tottenham Hotspur Football Club during the 2017/18 season, to enable the development of their new ground in Tottenham to be completed.

Since that time Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur (THFC) have been through an extensive period of consultation and discussion with the local community, key stakeholders and your officers. The Council itself has sent out around 41,000 consultation letters.

During our discussions we have obtained a much better understanding of the impact on local residents and businesses that additional events at the Stadium will have. Some will be negative, others positive. We recognise there are aspects of the event day management that can be improved, including closer partnership working with the Council and THFC. We have also learnt from the European games THFC has recently played at Wembley.

Consequently, as well as reducing the total number of additional games sought during the temporary period (August 2017 to July 2018) from 31 to 22 in response to public, stakeholder and officer feedback, we have also discussed and agreed with officers an extensive package of mitigation measures for all the additional full capacity THFC events. Many of the initiatives included are in addition to our existing commitments, which are ongoing. These will be secured by a legal agreement.

In addition, THFC has outlined an extensive package of community measures, which will be delivered through the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation during its tenancy. The Foundation has already made a significant positive impact in Haringey, Enfield, Barnet and Waltham Forest, and would extend its programme to Brent residents for the coming year if THFC is hosted at Wembley.  Details of the agreed mitigation measures and the work of the Foundation are provided in the enclosed brochure for your information.

Wembley Stadium has valued the longstanding support of Brent Council since before even the initial bid for the new Stadium and associated local regeneration was made in the 1990s and we welcome the officer’s recommendation to grant planning permission.

We look forward to working with the Council and THFC over the coming year and beyond and will be asking the Planning Committee to support a temporary variation of the event cap. We ask you to please consider the enclosed information. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
Here is the brochure sent with the email:

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Still time to book for Thursday's 'Rich man - poor man' Sufra fundraising dinner

 Sufra NW London, the largest provider of emergency food aid in the London Borough of Brent, is organising a fundraising dinner with a twist – which could see local business leaders and dignitaries including the Leader of the Council and the Mayor of Brent, served a tin of baked beans for dinner!

At the Rich Man Poor Man – Gala Fundraising Dinner on Thursday 23 March at Brent Civic Centre, guests will be randomly designated as ‘Rich’ or ‘Poor’. ‘Rich’ guests will receive a luxurious 3-course meal prepared by award-winning caterer Greenleaf, whilst ‘Poor’ guests will be served a few tins from the food bank.

“The event is an opportunity to highlight the everyday reality of those who don’t have enough to eat. Poverty is indiscriminate and in an uncertain economic climate, even working families find themselves unable to afford the everyday cost of living,” said Mohammed Mamdani, Director of Sufra NW London.

The event will be co-hosted by Asad Ahmad (BBC London) and Fatima Manji (ITN News), with comedy by Imran Yusuf, in the presence of local celebrities living in and around Brent.

“In the last year, Sufra NW London has provided emergency food aid to nearly 4,000 people. Despite living in a welfare state, there are so many things that can go wrong. In these times of crisis, we are here to help,” added Mamdani.

The event is sponsored by MyLotto24, Quintain, Cygnet Properties, Beta Charitable Trust, Sisk Builders, Daniels Estate Agents, Segro, Oakray and Print Express, with donations from other local businesses. This funding means that all proceeds from ticket sales will go directly to the food bank, ensuring that the service can keep running for the coming year.

Tickets cost £40 for an individual and £350 for a table of 10 and can be purchased online at


UPDATED A new face selected for Kilburn ward and the possible return of an old one in Willesden Green - Margaret McLennan rejected

Faduma Hassan
The first results are coming in for the selection of Labour candidates for the 2018 Brent Council Elections.  In Kilburn ward Rita Conneely and newcomers Abdirazak Abdi  and Corbyn supporter Faduma Hassan have been selected.

This leaves John Duffy, who has been extremely active in holding the Brent Cabinet to account, unselected in his current ward. I understand there are still some wards where short-listing is still open.

Elsewhere,  I understand that the architect of the 'Library Transformation Project, which saw 6  of Brent's 12 libraries closed, James Powney, has been short-listed for Willesden Green.  Powney has continued to hail the 'success' of that project on his blog but  has also used it to critique some Brent Council decisions as well as the leadership of Councillor Butt. LINK

Following rejection by Stonebridge ward last night local party members are asking if Deputy Leader Margaret McLennan will go back to seek selection in Northwick Park.  I understand Abdi Aden (currently Sudbury)and newcomer Promise Knight have been selected for Stonebridge. Ernest Ezeajughi has been reselected. Promise describes herself as a mentor and educator and previously worked as as campaign assistant to Dawn Butler and was one of David Miliband's communication team.

A reader has also been in touch to say that he understands all three sitting Queensbury councillors have been short-listed..

Planning Officers maintain their support for Stadium Planning Application in Supplementary Report

A supplementary report has been published on the eve of Thursday's Planning Committee. LINK It contains more information on mitigation. The Officers maintain their support for the planning application.

Following completion of the committee report, a further 24 letters of representation have been received. Where additional issues have been raised they are noted below, otherwise they are considered to have been dealt with in the main report.

One letter of support

The issues raised are considered to have been addressed within the main report.

23 letters of objection

Objection from one representation citing insufficient notice of the committee, and a request for an additional 3 weeks instead. Also, confusion over when the committee is due to take place. Concern that the additional number of events would result in the roads deteriorating.
The notice period given is considered reasonable and in accordance with the Council’s procedures. There was an error on the earlier communication which stated that the Committee would begin at 7pm and this was corrected last week. The proposal would result in additional journeys, but the mitigation in place is intended to reduce the number of cars as far as possible.
Request for clarification on the need for a section 106 legal agreement, and whether parking permits within the event day management zone would remain free.

A section 106 legal agreement is absolutely necessary to the acceptability of the proposal.

The current charge for a parking permit is £10. The proposal would not change this.

Concern about the noise from helicopters, which would be increased with a greater number of events.

Helicopters can be associated with large events as part of the police operation. The height at which they fly or hover will inevitably vary, and hence so will the noise they generate. However, this is considered to be infrequent and for short periods of time. It is not considered that this alone would increase the level of noise to the point that it is considered unacceptable.
Other issues raised are considered to have been addressed within the main report.


The committee report identified a number of mitigation measures which would be secured within the section 106 legal agreement. Further detail is provided on a number of the additional measures which are proposed over and above those secured through the original agreement dated 23 August 2002. A number of them were detailed within the main report and so are not detailed further. These additional measures to cover individual events are proposed to apply only to the 22 additional major events. They are not proposed to apply to 37 high capacity (51,000-90,000 capacity ) events that can take place under the existing condition.
Event by event mitigation measures, for the additional 22 events proposed
Regulation of Public Safety – The Council’s reasonable costs would be met as part of the application on an event-by-event basis, which would be on a similar basis to what is currently done for street cleaning and the regulation of traffic management. This involves a requirement to attend pre-match meetings and monitoring safety documentation for each event. Inspections would take place (in addition to those which take place during existing major events) to monitor the measures and seek to refine the process.
Alcohol licensing inspections – This would also be related to the Council’s reasonable costs, similar to the regulation of public safety. This involves inspecting licensed premises prior to an event and follow up visits afterwards if there have been complaints.
Illegal street trader – This was highlighted in the list within the main committee report. This is proposed to be removed from the Section 106 legal agreement, but only because there has already been a mechanism established for the previous 4 Tottenham Hotspur events that have taken place at Wembley, which is proposed to continue.
Anti ticket tout initiative – This would also be related to the Council’s reasonable costs, similar to the regulation of public safety. Ticket touts are a feature of many sporting events, and can lead to people being denied the opportunity to view sporting events at a reasonable cost. Touts can obstruct public areas and introduce an element of intimidation. One-off contribution mitigation measures:
Pirate parking initiative – More than £47,000 has been secured to ensure that the existing scheme can continue. The intention is to ensure that parking on land which does not have planning permission for that purpose is addressed, so reducing the number of persons using cars and increasing the number of persons using public transport.
Additional CCTV camera – This was detailed in the main report. The cost for this would be £22,779. In addition, further measures are proposed to those detailed within the main committee report.
Litter bins – In response to a number of objections there would be a contribution of £20,000 for litter bins in and around the stadium and Wembley Town Centre.
Radio system and protective clothing – This would ensure that the current equipment (which is leading to some problems with communication) is replaced by more advanced equipment. This would improve the event day operations, by improving communication when setting up road closures and managing traffic. Ultimately, this would assist in the safe and efficient arrival and departure from events at the stadium. This would be £50,000.
Event day signage – Following an audit of the existing signage a contribution of £60,000 is proposed to improvements, to be secured before the 2017/18 season. This would include a more detailed audit to identify broken signage and identify where more signage is required. There would be maintenance of existing Variable-Message Signs (VMS) and event day flap signs. Additional signage would be provided in areas with insufficient signage. Reference has been had to the tests of whether a section 106 obligation is considered justifiable. As required by Regulation 122 of the Community Infrastructure Regulations 2010 (as amended) a planning obligation may only constitute a reason for granting planning permission if it is: (a) necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms; (b) directly related to the development; and
(c) fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development. The obligations above, and those which are listed and detailed in the main report, are considered to pass these tests. They are proposed to maintain the existing levels of mitigation for the existing major events (as secured in the original section 106 legal agreement), and to go further for the additional major events proposed by this application.

Update on Tottenham Hotspur

Since the committee report was finalised there have been additional games played. As of 22 March 2017 there are 10 games remaining for Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League. They remain well placed to be in European competition next year (specifically the group stage of the Champions League). They remain in the FA Cup, which has reached the semi-final stage. This is not considered to change the assumptions on the numbers of games they are likely to play next season.


The additional comments received raise some additional points, which are not considered to change the recommendation. Many of the issues have been raised previously, and are considered to have been addressed in the main report.
This supplementary report provides additional detail on some of the mitigation measures proposed, and some additional measures which go beyond what is contained within the main committee report. They are welcomed and would assist to mitigate the impacts of the greater number of major events which this application proposes.
Recommendation: Remains approval as set out within the committee report