Saturday 27 May 2017

South Kilburn - the Non-consultation putting putting entrepreneurs ahead of residents

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 

1 comment:

Philip Grant said...

Thanks for this blog, Pete. The "consultation" you went to is so typical of the experience of Brent residents over a number of years.

I remember well the battle over Willesden Green Library with Brent's Regeneration Department and its "development partner", where their PR consultants continued to put out misleading documents (including briefing papers to Brent councillors), even after they had agreed, when faced with the evidence at face to face consultation sessions, that some of what they were claiming was outright lies.

One of their biggest lies was to tell the Cabinet, and the public, that the architects had said it was not possible to retain the Victorian library building as part of the redevelopment. I put this directly to the lead partner from the architects, and he said the reason the old building was not included in the designs was that what they had been asked for was a modern design, based on an empty site.

The architect said it WOULD be possible to retain the locally listed old building, and proved it by coming up with the design that was actually built, after Brent was forced to back down and hold a "further consultation", by the weight of public opposition to the plans they had hoped to force through.

People in Kilburn need to get behind the Granville Centre supporters fighting the "Vision" which the Council is trying to impose on them. Good luck!