|The official Brent Council view - is this the reality?|
Guest post by Pete Firmin, South Kilburn resident
I went to the consultation on the future of the Granville Centre on Wednesday afternoon LINK with another member of our Tenants and Residents Association Committee. Not because we think those events are particularly useful, but because if no-one goes and makes critical remarks, they will say everyone welcomes their proposals. [Although sometimes they say that anyway]
We were greeted by someone from the Architects, who told us "this is what we are going to do". Of course, the architects are given a remit to carry out, but this is a long way from what consultation should be - the latest in a long line of Brent consultations where you are told what is going to happen, whether you like it or not.
Apart from pointing out that that isn't consultation, we said that their proposals - partitioning the large hall - effectively destroyed one of the few remaining community spaces in South Kilburn. She said it was underused by the community, to which we pointed out that that is because Brent has run down the services which did use it. Being from the architects, rather than those promoting the scheme, she didn't go there.
The main proposal is to partition the main hall to create workshops for entrepreneurs. SK Trust's sole emphasis now seems to be on "promoting entrepreneurs". Not quite sure how that fits in with representing all SK residents (as Brent always claims on behalf of SK Trust). And we were told `some' of those entrepreneurs will be local, which I take to mean most won't be.
The largest community space left will be about 1/3rd of the size of the large hall, meaning larger events (like the recent meeting with Zadie Smith, or the coming election hustings) could not be held there.It means the only largish `community' spaces left in SK will be tied to religious establishments, not the Council.
We were interviewed about the proposals on a video for the SK Trust, in which we said most of the above. Unfortunately the person filming asked us not to stray on to our criticisms of the SK Trust (now that would have made the visit worth it!).
As ever with such events, there was no-one present who actually favour and promote these proposals. So much for accountability. Leslie Barson from the Granville Centre and kitchen was there, and we went partly to support her and the work the Granville does, but they have their backs to the wall with no alternative but to accept what is happening.
I'm not naive enough to think that this steamroller can be stopped, but think it worth sharing so people know what is going on.
For the masochists among you, there is a further "consultation" on Wednesday 14th June, 3-8 p.m. at the Granville, renamed "South Kilburn Studios and Community Space @Granville