Sunday 31 December 2017

Brent Council and Cara Davani – The Last Post...(and, How much should the Council expect to pay for a bucket of whitewash?)

Cllr. Muhammed Butt and Cara Davani
(from a Brent Council photograph celebrating International Women’s Day, March 2015)

Guest post by Philip Grant (please note as this is a long article it has been posted with a continuation page. Click at the end of the article to read all.

On 5 December 2017, three hours before the start of an Audit Advisory Committee meeting, Brent Council’s auditor issued his decision letters on the objections against its 2015/16 accounts over the payment of £157,610 to its former HR Director, Cara Davani. I will ask Martin to attach a copy of the decision letter I received, so that it is in the public domain for anyone to read if they wish to. READ IT HERE

In summary the auditor decided that the payment was not unlawful and that he would not issue a Public Interest Report over the issues the objectors had raised. He did, however, say that ‘there are a number of governance areas that we consider that the Council should strengthen’, and made several recommendations, mainly over keeping formal written records of legal advice given and of meetings (a familiar problem at Brent!).

I am sure that the auditor believes he exercised his professional judgement properly in coming to his decision. According to his “progress report” ahead of the 5 December meeting, he had also submitted his ‘statement of reasons on the objection’ to his Regulator, PSAA (Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Local Government Association) for comment.

Maybe I am a “loser” who finds it difficult to accept that he was wrong. But I can’t help feeling that I, and the four other local people who objected to the £157k payment, have been let down by a system which is meant to ensure that local electors can challenge the potential misuse of funds by their Council through a ‘fair and impartial process’. I cannot change the auditor’s decision, but I can set out why I think it was wrong. 

At the heart of the objections were two decisions, both made by the then interim Chief Executive, Christine Gilbert. One, in May/June 2015, was to make the £157,610 leaving payment to Ms Davani. The other was not to take disciplinary action against Ms Davani in September 2014, and I will look at how the auditor dealt with that decision first.

Decision not to take disciplinary action against Cara Davani following the Rosemarie Clarke Employment Tribunal judgment in September 2014:

In the course of his “Findings”, the auditor says:
‘I conclude there is nothing to persuade me that this decision was not within the range of broadly reasonable decisions open to the Council.’
In fact, as all five objectors had pointed out to the auditor, the decision was not even ‘broadly reasonable’; it was so unreasonable that no reasonable person, or Council, in possession of the facts could have made it. The auditor had started his paragraph by saying:
‘Whether or not disciplinary procedures against Cara Davani should have been taken following the Employment Tribunal judgment was a decision for her line manager, Christine Gilbert, having regard to internal policies and guidance and taking account of the facts leading up to, and arising from, the hearing. We have been informed there is no documentation recording the decision on this.’
One of my fellow objectors, with experience of employment matters, had told the auditor that the evidence of Ms Davani’s actions in the judgment was ‘sufficient …to justify any reasonable employer to summarily dismiss Ms Davani for gross misconduct.’ The auditor had been given first hand evidence of Carolyn Downs, Brent’s current Chief Executive, admitting privately to the objectors in December 2016, that the Council should have taken disciplinary action against Ms Davani in September 2014, and that if she had been Chief Executive in those circumstances, it would have done.

The auditor had also been shown that Brent’s own Disciplinary Policy and Procedure documents made it clear that if an employee is found to have committed "gross misconduct", this will normally result in dismissal. The types of action by an employee 'which would result in disciplinary action for gross misconduct', as set out  in those documents, included four examples of actions by Ms Davani, made as findings of fact by the Tribunal in its judgment.

Because Christine Gilbert had not kept to Brent’s own policies and guidance when deciding not to take disciplinary action, it was pointed out to the auditor that she had also shown a number of the examples of actions which could have resulted in disciplinary action against her for gross misconduct. So why had she not taken the proper action against Cara Davani, and why was there ‘no documentation recording the decision’?

My submissions to the auditor in August 2017 gave the reasons why, but his decision letter dismisses these, merely saying: ‘whilst I have noted your allegations, I have not seen any supporting evidence.’ I had provided evidence, including text from a written statement made to me in 2016 by a “Civic Centre insider” who was involved at the time, alleging that Ms Gilbert and Cllr. Muhammed Butt had considered the matter in isolation, that they were actively protecting Cara Davani, and that they communicated over it through their private email accounts so that there would be no documentary evidence in the Council’s records.

I had to keep the name of the “insider” secret, as that person did not trust their allegations would be properly investigated, and feared the possible personal / career consequences of having their identity disclosed. I accepted that this meant their evidence was only “hearsay”, but in the absence of any documentary evidence from the Council, their evidence on the matter was also “hearsay”, so why was their version preferred?

Decision to pay Cara Davani £157,610 as “compensation for loss of office” in 2015:

The auditor concludes his “Findings” on this point by saying:
‘There was nothing in the documentation I have seen to indicate that any amounts paid to Cara Davani were unlawful.’ 
He had seen the original documentation held by Brent Council from May and June 2015 in relation to this payment, and received representations on it from the Council, but had not allowed me or the other objectors to see it.

I have already covered the reasons why this ‘material information’ could and should have been shared with us, so that we could comment on it fully, in a previous guest blog LINK . The information included not only legal advice, but also other correspondence and documents which would have set out what information was given to the QC, and what was not, on which the advice the Council relied on justify the payment was based. It was made clear to the auditor that it was impossible for us to support our objections properly without sight of that information.

The auditor’s response to this, in the “Background” section of his decision letter, was:
‘I am satisfied that the provisional views letter sent to you on 3 August 2017 read with the Audit Committee minutes and Conrad Hall’s letter dated 14 December 2016 gave you sufficient information in order to have provided comments to me, such that there has been no unfairness in not sharing the advice.’
In effect, he is saying that the primary documents are not ‘material information’, but that the interpretation of those documents given to him by a Brent Council officer is, and that it:
‘… contains the material facts on which we have relied upon when reaching our decision. For this reason and given that the Council has not waived its legal professional privilege, I have not shared the actual documents containing or recording the legal advice with you.’
In other words, the auditor has reached his decision based on what Brent Council has told him, and has not shared with the objectors any actual documents related to the payment we objected to because Brent Council did not want him to. I am sure any reasonable person will understand why I believe that the process by which the auditor reached his decision was neither fair, nor impartial.

As the auditor would not allow us to see the “material documents”, the objectors had to make their “further comments” on the best information available to them. In his “Background” section the auditor said:
‘Following the Employment Tribunal above, there was a breakdown in trust and relationships between some Members of the Council and Cara Davani.  … This was considered to be an ongoing reputational risk to the Council and that it was difficult to see how Cara Davani could be effective in her role as Human Resources Director, working with Members, going forwards.’
The reputational damage had already been done in September 2014, with the facts about the appalling treatment of Rosemarie Clarke by the Council and Cara Davani receiving wide publicity after the Tribunal judgment was published, and by the failure to take disciplinary action against Ms Davani. Given the situation described, why was nothing done about it until May 2015? My comments gave the auditor evidence of why – showing that Ms Davani was being “protected” by both Christine Gilbert and Cllr. Butt – but that by May 2015 the Council was selecting a new permanent Chief Executive, so that Ms Davani would soon lose that joint protection.

The auditor’s view of the prelude to the “settlement agreement” objected to, following on from the passage quoted above, is described as follows:
‘Meetings took place between the Leader, Chief Executive and various Members to try and resolve the differences but relationships did not improve.  We understand these meetings did not have minutes taken. Following discussions between the Leader and the Chief Executive, it was determined that it would be in the best interests of the Council if Cara Davani and the Council parted company and that legal advice should be sought on possible ways forwards.’
It does not appear that any documentary record exists of those discussions, but the next step is set out in the auditor’s “Findings” as follows:
‘Legal advice was sought in May 2015, which concluded the Council did not have a case to conduct a fair dismissal, noting that Cara Davani had informed the Council that she would take the Council to an Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal if her employment was terminated.   Given no disciplinary procedures had previously been taken in respect of the findings from the Employment Tribunal, in these circumstances and given the legal advice obtained, it does not appear unreasonable for the Council to decide to proceed with a settlement.’
The ‘legal advice’ referred to was contained in an undated note, made by the Council’s Chief Finance Officer (why was the Council’s Chief Legal Officer, a solicitor, not involved?) about a discussion between Christine Gilbert and a QC, which he had been the only other party to. It was apparently not checked for accuracy by the QC who gave the advice, given the auditor’s recommendation that such advice ‘should be recorded formally immediately after the call and key issues confirmed with the legal adviser.’

Small electrical goods recycling at the Tricycle Jan 2nd-7th

Saturday 30 December 2017

Task Group put forward ideas on Brent's 2017-18 budget

Brent's 2017-18 budget comes under scrutiny at the Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday January 9th. The Task Group's report appears to have been written before the Communities Secretary's announcement that larger local authorities could raise Council Tax by 5.99% in 2017-18 if 3% was earmarked for social care services. At present the Council intends to raise the tax by 2.99% - the maximum previously allowed without a referendum.

The Task Group, on the basis that the 2017-18 was largely decided last year, makes a number of recommendations on a longer term basis:

1.   Brent should dedicate some time and intellectual space to mapping out the potential consequences of Brexit for the borough, particularly in the areas of population, housing and manufacturing exports. 

2.   Brent should advocate a form of sub regional investment for the “strategic investment pot” produced in the London business rates pool, if the arrangement becomes permanent. The West London Alliance could deliver investment in our region of London. 

3.    The criteria Brent should adopt for strategic investment are as follows:

    ·      That the capital investment should have a spend to save rationale, and, in some way,      reduce Brent’s anticipated revenue spending in forthcoming years.

    ·      That the investment aligns with the Council’s political priorities.

    ·      That the investment should represent a sound long-term financial decision.

    ·      That the money spent makes a significant positive impact on the lives of the most vulnerable  in Brent. 

4.   Brent should leave no stone unturned in attempts to grow the local private sector. Two ideas it should specifically look at are appointing a business champion and using the procurement system to support local businesses. 

5.   A report on progress in delivery of the new sexual health services for the borough should come before Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny in six months’ time. 

6.   The Council should always give due consideration to ensuring a geographical spread when strategically purchasing property. 

7.   The Council should set a target to keep bulky waste collection requests low in order to reduce costs and the amount of materials finding their way into landfill. 

8.   The special collection service page of the Brent website should be re- designed to give maximum exposure to alternative and sustainable options which residents can use to dispose of bulky waste, particularly charity retailers in the borough. Helpline staff should also be trained to offer alternative options in the first instance. 

9.  The Council should look to develop sustainable ways for people to dispose of mid-sized waste items as a way of reducing illegal rubbish dumping.   

10.  A report should be sent to the appropriate scrutiny committee in twelve months’ time, demonstrating how the change of contract due in July 2018 affects parking enforcement in the latter half of 2018. 

11.  The Council should look into the possibility of hiring an external partner to find more advertising space in the borough on a no-win no-fee basis.


12.  A review of pavement licencing in Brent should be carried out to see how much we could generate from this source. This should take particular account of price and enforcement. 

Brexit could reduce the population of Brent as EU citizens return home and thus reduce the Council Tax base as well as impact on local industry, particularly building, and reduce the number of pupils in local schools, creating falling school rolls.

The Task Group go into the issue of Business Rates in some detail as this is likely to be a major source of income in the future.  For a trial period there will be a pool system for London boroughs, the 'London Investment pot' led by the City of London, to distribute the monies. At the commencement there will be a one-off windfall of approximately £4.9 million for the borough and the Task Group suggest:

One potential investment which would meet these criteria (see 3 above) would be the building or purchase of more properties for use as temporary accommodation. The Council currently spends significant sums on rents in the private sector for those in Brent who are homeless. Running more of our own properties would reduce this annual revenue cost as per our criteria above. The properties would also not be subject to Right-to-Buy legislation which currently makes it so difficult for local authorities to build true social housing, as they cannot hedge their investment over a long period of time, knowing that they may be forced to sell any of their properties at a rate below market value just three years after building it. This idea would also have a clear advantage for the most vulnerable people in our borough.

 The Task Group acknowledge that the Council's initiative to raise cash through selling advertising space on its buildings has had very limited success, raising only £62k rather than the £300k anticipated. They advocate the Council fund an external partner to seek out such space.

The Task Group note that many Brent residents do not have cars and recommend that the Council introduce collection points for recycling mid-range  range goods. The Recycling Centre is not accessible by pedestrians:

One recommendation that may be controversial is 12 above. The Task Group remark that there is a lack of enforcement on shops and bars that spill displays and tables out into pavement space and suggest that income could be generated through a pavement licensing system. Businesses on streets such as Ealing Road and Kingsbury Road would be particularly affected.

Friday 29 December 2017

Metropolitan Housing respond to Archery Court concerns

Alison Hopkins has now received a reponse from  Metropolitan Housing regarding the concerns she raised over conditions at Archery Court, Wembley that were publicised on Wembley Matters. LINK

Dear Ms Hopkins

Thank you for your emails to Geeta Nanda, Chief Executive Officer received on 15 and 28 December 2017 Geeta was concerned to note the continuing difficulties residents in Archery Court are experiencing at this time. She has asked this team to look into your concerns and to feedback to her.

I firstly must offer our sincere apologies for our failure to respond to your earlier communication of 15 December 2017. Whilst it is evident there has been a lot of work carried out by ourselves and Barratt Homes it has become apparent that we did not take the opportunity to update you personally. I agree that this is disappointing, and we will be seeking to understand why such a fundamental part of the process was overlooked.

It is vital that we do not lose sight of any unresolved issues moving forward, and as such I have recorded your concerns as an official complaint, as this will enable us to keep track and, more importantly, keep you appraised. A formal acknowledgement will follow in due course.

In the interim, I wish to advise you of the action taken thus far:

·         A number of residents reported individual failures of electrical items in their homes to the concierge on duty at Archery Court on 09 December 2017. This appears to be the consequence of a power surge;

·         I understand that Barratt Homes, our developers, visited Archery Court over the weekend of 09/10 December 2017 in response to these reports and to effect repairs. I believe there were staff from Barratt Homes present to address any immediate concerns residents had during this weekend;

·         As a consequence of the significant numbers of electrical problems being experienced by a number of residents, helpfully summarised by yourself, we identified we should carry out emergency electrical checks of each flat to ensure there were no ongoing concerns, this being over and above what Barratt Homes were doing. These checks did not reveal any immediate risks;

·         We provided temporary heaters to those residents who had lost use of their heating, again over and above what Barratt Homes were doing;

·         I was particularly concerned to note from your email today that one resident has no hot water Barratt Homes have attended the flat in question today and diagnosed a fault with the programmer, a consequence of the power surge. I understand a similar scenario occurred in other residents’ homes and programmers have been replaced. Please be assured we are now working with the resident and with Barratt Homes to ensure a replacement is fitted as quickly as possible;

·         Barratt Homes are currently carrying out further investigative work to identify any ongoing faults with the communal heating/ventilation system, and we are liaising closely with them to understand the current position, and to establish what the next steps will be to resolve this. We should have a clearer understanding of the position early next week.

I agree that consideration needs to be given to how each resident has been affected by recent events, and as such we will consider the impact on a case by case basis, based upon the information you provided on 15 December 2017 to identify the support we are able to offer.

If you are aware of any other residents who experienced difficulties or damaged electrical items, please do let me know.

We will contact each resident affected in due course.

In summary I believe that appropriate steps have been taken as quickly as they can, but acknowledge there remain some issues which are still under investigation, and more importantly some concerns residents have about losses they may have incurred.

I am amenable to discussing your concerns further. I was unable to locate a contact number for you, but I can be reached on the direct number below this afternoon before 6pm.

Thursday 28 December 2017

Metropolitan Housing and Barratt Homes fail to rectify dangerous conditions in Wembley social housing block

Ex local councillor Alison Hopkins has decided to go public regarding dangerous conditions in new build social housing managed by Metropolitan Housing and built by Barratt Homes after Metropolitan Housing failed to respond to urgent concerns.

Hopkins said:
Residents  got in touch with me as I am their former local councillor. The flats are new build and have been plagued with faults since their first occupation.
Over the past months, they have had serious and dangerous issues with the power supply to the flats. Given the Grenfell event, they are extremely worried. Many of the families have special needs children. Some have no heating or only temporary and inadequate heating.
The following is a summary of issues raised so far: they have been collated today by a resident knocking on the doors of those at home.  These issues require urgent and immediate action from Metropolitan and Barratt's.
Archery Court HA9 0FR – issues to date. Each is a different flat
  • communal  antenna not working.
  • just temporary heating meaning they have no control on the heating, the ventilation system is not working, washing machine (with clothes still in it) so she has to foot the bill of buying school uniforms again, when she turns on the washing machine it blows the electricity in the entire flat. She has 5 children ages 15,13,10,6 and a 3 month old baby.
  • this lady had an issue with her electricity since the end of November, she went without heating for 1 1/2 weeks her electric box trips out she calls them (metropolitan housing repairs) every time she has an issue an and they tell her that’s she’s always complaining and why is it her flat alone that have these issues... she has 3 children age 12, 9,and 6 The 12 year old is wheel chair bound with special needs and is home schoole
  • washing machine, dryer, all mobile phone chargers are blown, internet box has blown and heating is not working along with the ventilation system too. She has 2 children age 5 and 6 months her son is also special needs. They have also told her that they will not reimburse her the money that she used to stay at a hotel in which I might add we were told to go to a hotel and we would be reimbursed!!
  • heating is temporary ie. has not control over the heating other than turning it off completely if it gets too hot, has no ventilation system at all, expensive laptop charger and iPad charger too blown, sound system blown and coffee machine blown too 
  • fridge not working and will be calling the insurance people today and just found out last night that have an electrical problem with my heating in the front room!!!!
  • cooker timer not working children’s DVD player is blown.
  • heating is temporary, no ventilation system.  
  •  living room heating is not working and ventilation system not working. Her son was stuck in the lift for 20mins!!!
  • ventilation not working but has terrible damp an mould in a cupboard also a leak in the bedroom however we all had a visit from our housing officer November 30th which she reported but metropolitan told her they have to wait on Barratt's permission to do some cut in the wall!!! And to investigate the other flat!!!

It’s not cricket! (or, I can’t believe it IS butter!)

Guest post by local historian Philip Grant
Sometimes topical events remind me of stories I have come across in my local history research, and the cricket news from “down under” is what has prompted this article.

The Ashes have been at the centre of one of the great international sporting rivalries since the 1880’s. When the British Empire Exhibition (“BEE”) was held at Wembley in 1924, Australia was involved in another rivalry, with Canada, over which was the top self-governing Dominion in the Empire. Both had seven acre sites for their pavilions, on the south side of the artificial lake which ran across the centre of the BEE site. These were side by side, with Australia to the right of the main route from Wembley Park station to the new Empire Stadium, and Canada to the left.

Both countries set out in their pavilions extensive displays of the mineral wealth, timber and agricultural products that they produced, and were available for export, both to the British market and around the world. One of the recent developments, which made possible their exports of meat and dairy products, was ships with refrigerated holds. The display in Canada’s pavilion for 1924 included a novel way of demonstrating this, with a life-size sculpture in butter of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) in a refrigerated display case.

This exhibit attracted a great deal of attention from visitors to the BEE, and they could even buy a postcard of it. The Prince himself, who was President of the BEE’s organising committee, was impressed by the statue, although he thought that the sculptor had made his legs too fat!

When the BEE re-opened for a second year in 1925, Australia decided that it needed to go one better, with a large scale refrigerated butter sculpture in its own pavilion. Being Australian, they did not follow Canada’s royalist example, but went for a sporting theme instead. The winter of 1924/25 had seen an Ashes tour of Australia by the Marylebone Cricket Club (the official name of the England touring side at that time), which Australia had won by four test matches to one. What better way for the Aussies to celebrate than by presenting visitors to the 1925 BEE with a butter tableau showing the famous England opening batsman, Jack Hobbs, being stumped during one of their victories in Sydney.

Canada had also made a more impressive butter sculpture as part of its refrigerated display for the BEE in 1925. This time it showed the Prince of Wales in his honorary role as Chief Morning Star of the Stony Indian tribe, during one of his visits to their country. You can decide for yourself which of the butter sculptures, Australia or Canada, was the best!

Coming back to the current Ashes series, with Australia again victorious, many England cricket fans will wonder how different the results might have been if Ben Stokes had not been excluded from the side. Even that aspect has a BEE angle to it, as one of the main purposes of the New Zealand pavilion in 1924, as well as to display its produce, was to encourage good working people from Britain to come to their country and help to build its successful economy further. The NZ province which was at the forefront of this effort was Canterbury, whose team Stokes has been playing for, rather than England.

(All of the images used are from the Wembley History Society Collection at Brent Archives)

Philip Grant,
December 2017.

Brent Council's objections to Geron Way Waste Transfer Station

Despite several requests before Christmas to Brent Planning for a copy of the Letter of Objection sent to the London Borough of Barnet regarding the planning application for the waste transfer station at 2 Geron Way, Cricklewood, NW2 6GJ, I received no response from the officer concerned and the planning south office did not know of its existence. I looked on the Planning Portal of the London Borough of Barnet for a copy to no avail. It is clearly a problem that there is no reasonable access to the document in either borough.

4.1.18 Brent Council has now provided a much more legible copy of their objection letter to Barnet Council

Summary of Letter of Objection dated December 7th 2017

The London Borough of Brent objects in principle to the provision of a waste transfer station in this location, on the western side of the railway with vehicular access from Geron Way.

Impact on residential amenity and highways impact: Brent objects to the proposal on this ground. The impact on the highway network from the heavy goods traffic generated by the proposal is such that it would have an unacceptable impact on the flow of traffic, with consequent harm to the road network and amenity of residents in the area by reason of the environment created.

Traffic Volumes: The letter contains a detailed analysis and comments 'this results in an average daily total of 227 arrivals and 49 departures for the maximum 226,000 tonne capacity. This is about three times the number of Heavy Goods Vehicles surveyed accessing the existing site on Brent Terrace. Spread evenly over a 10 hour day, this would equate to 23 incoming loads and 5 outgoing loads per hour.  Flows would therefore total 56 two-way movements per hour which is a considerable increase over the existing HGV volumes. (More in document)

Environmental Impact: Brent is concerned that the proposal has not adequately demonstrated that there will not be an impact on environmental quality. In the event of an approval to ensure protection of the environment, the following conditions should be imposed:

Prior to the commencement of the development these matters should be submitted to and approved by the local planning authority and implemented as approved:
  • plans for the continual assessment of emissions and maintenance of the air treatment system/odour abatement system of the enclosed waste transfer station
  • a scheme to protect the occupants of neighbouring residential accommodation from high concentrations of air pollutants; any potential source of nuisance should be identified and incorporated in this scheme with a schedule of mitigation measures.' The schedule of mitigation shall include but not be limited to the impact upon noise vibration, dust, odour and any other emissions that may affect the general amenity of the neighbouring receptors. (More in document)

Residents urged to comment on Cricklewood Aggregate Waste Superhub before January 5th deadline

From Railway Terraces Residents' Association:

Additional documents were put on the Barnet Council Planning Portal LINK just before Christmas regarding the proposals for the aggregate waste site at Cricklewood Railway Yard behind 400 Edgware Road.

Railway Terraces Residents' Association and Fordwych Residents were quickly off the mark asking members to submit additional comments before the January 5th deadline.

So far there have been 718 comments with 713 objections and two in support. The facility would be open from 7am-7pm on weekdays and 7am to 2pm on Saturdays.

Comments can be made on the Planning Portal LINK or by emailing

The proposal:
Use of railway land for the transportation of aggregates and non-putrescible waste (construction) by rail including dismantling and removal of lighting tower; levelling of site and provision of landscape bund; 2no. open stockpile areas each containing 10 storage bins (with detachable panels) and 2no. partially enclosed stockpile areas each containing 9 storage bins (with detachable panels); acoustic and perimeter fencing; CCTV, security hut, 4no. welfare buildings, 4no. weighbridges and associated control cabins, 2 no. wheel wash facilities, dust suppression system, drainage, parking for HGVs and cars, traverser road, replacement rail track sidings, continued use of existing building for staff and welfare facilities; and other infrastructure and ancillary works including alterations to the existing access to Edgware Road and provision of new landscaping

Today: Amy Johnson - from Kingsbury to Australia

The song commemorating Amy Johnson, recorded by Pat O'Malley with the Jack Hylton Orchestra in Berlin 1930:

There's a little lady 
Who has captured every heart
Amy Johnson, it's you

We have watched and waited 
Since the day you made your start
Amy Johnson, it's true

Since the news that you are safe has come along
Everyone in town is singing this love song

Amy, wonderful Amy
How can you blame me for loving you
Since you won the praise of every nation
You have filled my heart with admiration

Amy, wonderful Amy
I'm proud of the way you flew
Believe me, Amy, you cannot blame me, Amy
For falling in love with you

(Instrumental Break)

She's landed in Vienna
Here she is in Baghdad
Now she's over Karachi
She's reached Port Darwin ..... Bravo!
She's up again, she's off to Brisbane
Here she comes, there's something wrong
Gracious, what's wrong
She's crashed, no, she's safe

(Amy, wonderful Amy)
(How can you blame me for loving you)
Since you won the praise of every nation
You have filled my heart with admiration

(Sounds of crowds cheering)

Wednesday 27 December 2017

Could you be a volunteer teacher of English in Brent?

From Brent Unite Community

If any readers want to do some ESOL  (English for Speakers of Other Languages) teaching in the new year in the community, Unite the Union is running free training for volunteers so we can provide free classes in the borough. It's a minimum commitment of a weekend training and a 12 week course of classes (i.e 2 hours a week). We will find venues to suit when you're free and available.

Also, if anyone is part of any community groups (especially with venues) wanting classes, please get in touch with

Anger as residents frustrated by Boxing Day parking restrictions as Spurs play Southampton

Twitter and Facebook were awash with complaints yesterday as the Spurs v Southampton event at the stadium meant parking restrictions were imposed.  Residents were angered that visits by relatives and friends on Boxing Day were affected with one person suggesting that Wembley had become a no-go area for those from outside the area:
I’m going to complain. Rules need to change. Don’t need whole day restriction for a 2 hour football match/concert. It’s a stupid system and unfair to residents and people who want to visit the borough. Especially on bank holidays !!!
The 12.30pm kick-off meant that traffic built up during the afternoon and the route between Wembley High Road and Forty Lane was at a stand still with tail-backs stretching into the surrounding area.

On a personal note a friend travelling to see me in Wembley Park from Alperton for Boxing Day lunch was due at 2.30-3pm and didn't make it until 4.15pm.

Anger was directed at Brent Council for approving the increase in the number of games held at the Stadium without requiring the necessary  infrastructure improvments.  This led to discussions about what had actually happened to Section 106/CiL money.

Saturday 23 December 2017

Can you help the Wembley FC petition get to 25,000 signatories before the end of the day?

--> The petition is support of Wembley FC has now attracted more than 21,000 signatures. Brian Gumm, chairman of Wembley FC  told BBC London LINK he is determined to appeal against the decision by the European Union's Intellectual Property Office:
The petition has given me a bit of faith, seeing that people out there do care about non-league football.

The FA have not spoken to me. I want the best for my club and I will fight them. If we want to make a stance for non-league football then I think we should.
The FA in a statement to the BBC said:
We have never objected to their use of this logo in the UK or elsewhere. This case is about Wembley FC registering their logo in several countries outside of the UK, such as Russia, China and the US, and then refusing to co-exist with us in those countries. 

We have not asked and will not ask Wembley FC to pay the costs to date.
Is this the beginning of a climb down? Let's increase the pressure by persuading more people to sign. 
You can sign the petition HERE
Wembley FC web page HERE
Wembley FC Facebook HERE

Friday 22 December 2017

Stand up and be counted in defence of Wembley FC - sign the petition against FA bullying

Following recent publicity about the Football Association taking action against our local football club Wembley FC to stop them using 'Wembley' in their name LINK a petition has been set up by a Wembley resident which has already attracted more than 11,000 signatories.

Please support Wembley FC by signing the petition:
Wembley FC are being told to drop Wembley from their title because it could cause confusion with Wembley Stadium.

Wembley FC have had their name for over 70 years and are in fact a Football Club in .... Wembley!
Wembley Stadium on the other hand was known as the Empire Stadium, this was changed to Wembley Stadium because .... yes it is also in Wembley!

The two have co-existed for years without any issues so why are the FA forcing this on a small local club now and ordering them to pay the cost which will cripple them and probably force them to not exist anymore.  Is this a ploy to get the land from them that they have?  It is ridiculous and just shows that big organisations and throwing their weight around yet again to crush the little guy !  

Well my fellow Wemblians let’s see how the force of a towns’ residents over the 70 years feels about it!

Stand up and be counted and support the name Wembley remaining on the local team!