Sunday 9 April 2017

Time to let the public in on Brent's plans for Northwick Park

Land and property at Northwick Park
The 'One Public Estate' (OPE) strategy adopted by the Brent Cabinet in January with little discussion (it was item number 16)  has made little impact on the public so far, but that will change as details become more widely available.

Basically all the public sector owned property in one area - council, health, police, fire, education is put into one pot and then looked at in terms of rationalising and maximising the assets. In health this overlaps with the 'delivery' of the controversial Sustainability and Transformation Plans, in education the supply of school places, and in regeneration the supply of affordable and temporary housing but prhaps 'subsidised' by some privare housing,

Although referred to as 'public sector property' perhaps it should be termed 'public property' with the public having a major say in what might amount to the privatisation and monetisation of public assets.

The Cabinet paper said:
  OPE is an initiative delivered in partnership by the Cabinet Office Government Property Unit (GPU) and the Local Government Association (LGA). It provides practical and technical support and funding to councils to deliver ambitious property-focused programmes in collaboration with central government and other public sector partners.
Brent failed in a bid for Wembley (it was called 'unambitious') but succeeded in getting  £270,000  over three years for a 'Northwick Park regeneration programme':

Local people will be keen to get some detail, especially on how it will affect the green space in Northwick Park and other local assets:

The Cabinet Report describes the project (my emphasis):
Northwick Park based around the agglomeration of public sector ownership at Northwick Park, delivering a wide variety of benefits including for example: growth via new homes and development; efficiencies via generation of capital receipts; and integrated services via a new energy centre. Current Partners are: London Borough of Brent, Northwick Park Hospital, University of Westminster, Network Homes Ltd, with anticipated future partners: London Borough of Harrow, Transport for London, Greater London Authority, Care and Commissioning Group (CCG)
Northwick Park Pavilion Community Asset Transfer
It should be noted that the Northwick Park Pavilion is currently included in the Community Asset Transfer (CAT) Programme. There is potential for a joint approach to the provision of sport at Northwick Park, with considerable demand generated by the University and Hospital. The pavilion could play a significant role in such provision. Brent’s land holdings at Northwick Park are substantial, but are largely made up of playing fields, and the pavilion is one of the few pieces of built infrastructure that Brent can add to the OPE mix. Accordingly it is proposed that the Pavilion be withdrawn from the CAT programme.
The original CAT proposal was submitted by the Parnell Gaelic Football club (PGFA), and reported to Cabinet on 8th February 2016, when it was resolved to approve the marketing of the Northwick Park Pavilion (Main Hall and Ancillary Areas) as a CAT opportunity for a seven year lease. Discussions have recently been held with the PGFA, who have confirmed their understanding that the Council’s position on the CAT is under review, and as an alternative they are prepared to submit a proposal to lease the premises, after suitable marketing by the Council. It is believed that offering a five year lease with an option to determine at the third year would provide sufficient security for the PGFA whilst at the same time ensuring its availability for the wider Northwick Park project.
Clearly residents will be interested in the proposed new energy centre and will want details of any environmental impact.

Click to enlarge
 It is also unclear whether any of these plans will impact on Northwick Park Open Space itself. The 'landmark residential development'  with shops and cafes sounds quite a major development - and will some of the homes be private and unaffordable for local people?

There's certainly scope for some key questioning of candidates at the Northwick Park ward Labour selection meeting on Monday, where the deputy leader, Margaret McLennan, is one of the candidates.

Another area that Brent Council is also sponsoring as a possible project is Vale Farm which again has a considerable amount of green open space owned by the Council.

The Brent Property and Asset Strategy 2015-19 specifically mentioned Vale Farm but also  mentioned other open spaces that are a 'maintenance liability'.  Definitely a matter of 'watch this SPACE'!

There is scope to consider the re-planning and re-provision of the combined sports facilities at Vale Farm and there may be scope to consider similar opportunities in Roe Green and King Edward Parks. In addition there are a small number of open spaces across the Borough which remain under-utilised and potentially are a maintenance liability and this strategy proposes a review of this with a view to exploring their potential for either alternative uses in line with Borough Plan and Regeneration priorities, or alternatively Community Asset Transfer.


Anonymous said...

Does Brent Council have its own 'freebie' magazine for distribution to residents? Maybe info in summarised form about Northwick Park plans should go in there if such a publication exists.

If Brent Council does have a freebie mag for local residents, what items go in it? Is it the same kind of self-flattering guff about the Council Leader etc about which I recently saw a very tongue-in-cheek reader's letter published in the Camden New Journal recently?

Alan Wheatley

Anonymous said...

I am astounded. LB Brent don't do CAT, no way no how, we have tried numerous times, they just shooting a breeze as usual. They have consistently built or sold open green space to developers all over the borough especially Wembley. Wembley Youth Club and Community Centre, Barham Community Library, Coplands Fields, Wembley Sports and Social Club, the list is endless, build on all our green space Give it away, we are beyond caring anymore, empty promises, and do not care about the residents accessibility to open spaces. Check out Natural England. All children should be within 300 mtrs of a small park! not in Wembley No Park

Anonymous said...

Just leave Northwick Park alone, Brent Council cannot improve anything, let it be.

Anonymous said...

Keith Perrin put on your armour, your gonna need it, to defend your residents and neighbours as usual.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the fight to keep Northwick Park and Vale Farm space starts now. Let battle commence.

Unknown said...

Public Open Space is clearly not save in the hands of Labour Councillors. To be part of the One Public Estate project (main aim Ustinov sell if NHS land by the Tory Government) the Labour Administration has to throw in parts of Public Open Space (as they have nothing else to offer). We'll end up with creating encroachment as in the case of Vale farm where Labour want to put a Free School and flats into the open space. And as we know from Labour's Willesden Green fiasco only expensive flats were built, none were affordable and they were being sold in Singapore to overseas property investors. In Vale Farm we have already lost the Wasps Rugby Groubd and now Brent Council has opened the door for a major commercial developer look at grabbing the Wembley Football Club ground - what next the local cricket pitches?

Anonymous said...

I have lived here long enough to remember when Northwick Park Hosptial was origianlly built on Park Land. At the time we were told that in the future if the hospital building was not needed on that site the land would return to park land. They should not be able to redevelop it for another use.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Open Spaces should now be considered untouchable in Brent. Enough have been lost. The building of an entire estate on Stonebridge Park, for example, robbed this community (Harlesden, Stonebridge, Neasden) of such a valuable asset...then there was the Adventure Playground...Robbing the area of free public open space, in this case designed for children and young people. Now Northwick Park....where the residents are more savvy perhaps and more able to fight this awful trend. The so-called Labour Council is absolutely ignorant to the real needs of Brent residents...

Anonymous said...

Disgusting. There is plenty of space to develop on the many disused car parks in Northwick Park hospital itself. With pollution levels in London already dangerously high, we need green spaces more than ever. First the Byron court super school expansion and now this - corrupt Brent council is ruining our area.