Monday, 24 September 2018

Assisted Dying Campaign Group launches in Brent on Tuesday September 25th - Willesden Green Library

A new group campaigning to change the law on assisted dying is due to launch in Brent on Tuesday 25th September 2018.

The group is encouraging local people to come along and get behind their campaign to allow terminally ill people the right to die on their own terms. They meet for the first time on Tuesday at Willesden Green Library at 7pm and anyone is welcome to attend.

Brent is the latest group to join a network of 40 across the country which supports Dignity in Dying in campaigning for a change in the law to allow terminally ill, mentally competent adults the option of an assisted death.

Dignity in Dying has been supporting Noel Conway, a 68-year-old man from Shropshire who is living with terminal motor neurone disease, to challenge the current law on assisted dying. He fears that without a change in the law he may be forced to suffer against his wishes, and hopes his case will be heard at the Supreme Court in the coming months.

Francesca Hall, Campaigns and Outreach Officer at Dignity in Dying, said:
We believe that terminally ill people in Brent and beyond should be able to die on their own terms, peacefully, at a time and place of their choosing – but right now, they can’t. People are taking drastic measures at home and abroad because the law denies them true choice and control over their death.
If you agree that this is unacceptable, please join us and come along to our first local meeting on the 25th of September at Willesden Library to find out more about Noel’s case, the campaign, and how you and your community can be part of it.

When: Tuesday 25th September at 7pm
Where: Willesden Green Library, 95 High Road, Willesden NW10 2SF

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Why aren't we worrying more about global warming? Meeting with Natalie Bennett Tuesday September 25th

Natalie Bennett will be speaking at this timely meeting organised by Kensal Kilburn A Better 2018 on Tuesday September 25th  7.15-8.45pm at St Lukes Church, Fernhead Road, W9 3EH.

In 2017/18, the Arctic had its warmest winter in the last 40,000 years. The old frozen Arctic is gone, and will never come back for centuries. We know this, but we do not seem to be talking about it, or what it may mean for our future. Are we reacting by going into denial? What are the facts? What are the implications? And what can and should we be doing, and asking our politicians to do now?


Natalie Bennett
was the leader of the Green Party of England & Wales from 2012 to 2016. As a scientist, journalist, activist and politician she has been deeply involved with these questions over many years. She will share her insights with us, and engage in discussion and debate.

Dr. Nicholas Smith
from the University of Westminster explores social representations of climate change. He has also worked as post-doctural researcher with the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the Liveable Cities Project.

Roger Hallam is a climate activist and theorist and was an organic farmer for 20 years. He has most recently been involved with campaigns such as Kings College Climate Emergency, Stop Killing Londoners and Vote No Heathrow.
You can book for the meeting on Eventbrite HERE

Nearest Station Queens Park (London Overground and Bakerloo)

Friday, 21 September 2018

GREAT NEWS! Pensioner's power is back on

Shortly after I posted the story below that John Healy was still without power and tweeted the link to Wates Group and Brent Council an electrician from Jaylec visited John late tonight and has restored the power. John had made the appointment before the South Kilburn Housing office closed at 5pm.

John told me, 'That should be the end of my 'leak saga' which lasted exactly three weeks. The kitchen is almost dry but my carpet will probably take a week to dry out. It is nice to have everything working, even though my fridge is empty.

I am glad for John but I do hope that councillors will review this case with Brent Council and Wates Living Space to see how their communication and procedures could be improved in such an emergency.

48 hours after leak repaired pensioner still without power

Disabled pensioner John Healy is still without power in his flat in William Dunbar House in South Kilburn 48 hours after the leak which flooded his kitchen was repaired.

He was expecting a visit from Brent Council's out-sourced repairs service, Wates Living Space, to assess the situation and hopefully restore the power but they have not called.

He is without full power in his kitchen and also in his sitting room and bedroom.  He first reported the leak more than two weeks ago.

Foxy mystery in Willesden Green

A friend in Willesden Green has told me about mysterious goings in in her garden. In a clearing in her woodland garden, frequented by a local fox, she has found over a number of days a soft toy where she leaves out eggs and Vegemite sandwiches for the fox.

When she told me that a toy rabbit had been left I said, 'You watch, it will be Eeyore next.' It was.

The soft toys have that distinct smell of fox and when I visited today Eeyore and Rabbit had been washed and were hanging out to dry on a very blustery day.

I am hoping that a grateful fox won't be dragging Christopher Robin into the garden next.

Speaking exclusively to Wembley Matters the recipient of the foxy gifts said:
I think this is the fox's way of saying 'thank you' for the food and leaving me with a gift in exchange. Rather than mangling the soft toys it is obviously holding them very gently in its jaws as there is little damage. The arm of one of the bears has been torn a little but that may have already been done so, apart from the smell, they are fine.

It may be that a lonely fox has been taking them from a child's garden as companions although it does seem to get on well with the local cats.

There may be a child in the neighbourhood who is sad and missing her much loved soft toys. Now that they have been washed, they are ready to be returned to their owner and I hope his or her parents will see this story and get in touch with Martin.
If you think that the toys belong to your child please get in touch with me at with a note giving some clue of a name etc on the label of one of the toys.

Brent Council should reinstate the role of Allotments Officer to tackle overgrown plots and poor billing

The overgrown allotment next to my plot at Birch Grove, Kingsbury
I was pleased to see Cllr Janice Long take up the issue of Brent Council's allotments at the recent Full Council meeting. It is a subject that has been covered on Wembley Matters several times.

Cllr Long said that she was receiving a lot of complaints about the state of our allotments: the billing process is disorganised, the council does not therefore know who no longer requires their allotment and the result is that many are left overgrown - 'a mess.'

She went on to say that the Council had got rid of its Allotments Officer (something I campaigned against) and the work had  'been dumped on someone in the parks department.'

Long mistakenly said she thought that allotments had been converted to self management, in fact allotment holders except for one site turned this down but the Allotments Officer was nevertheless made redundant. There are however allotment representatives who can liaise between allotment tenants and the council.  There used to be an incentive of free plot rental for people taking on this role but I am not sure this is still the case. My allotment site at Birchen Grove has recently elected a new representative and I hope this will result in some improvement. However I think the problem will only be resolved if Brent Council decide to reinstate the Allotments Officer position - there is a lot of potential income in those plots that are not currently being cultivated.

Cllr Krupa Sheth, lead cabinet member for the environment, responding to Cllr Long said, 'We definitely want to get the best out of our allotments. I'll take this back to the parks team and make sure the billing is done properly as well.'

Watch out for major traffic delays in Wembley area Saturday evening

Major emergency works to a collapsed sewer at the junction of Wembley Park Drive and Wembley Hill Road and Joshua v Povetkin boxing at the stadium (gates open 5.30pm) means that there are likely to be major delays to traffic, including local buses, during the evening, restricting local residents' ability to move around the area,

Event Day parking restrictions will apply.

UPDATED: Brent Civic Centre, or Quintain billboard?

Brent Civic Centre from Olympic Way (from the 2018 Open House website)

This weekend (22 and 23 September) it’s the annual London “Open House” *. One of the buildings you can visit and tour as part of this event is Brent Civic Centre, but if you rely on the outside view of the building shown on their website, you may be in for a disappointment. 
The reality of the view, as shown by this photograph taken by a local resident earlier this week, and shared with me (thank you), is rather different. Parts of Brent’s highly praised Civic HQ may not be the most picturesque architecturally, but do they really need to be covered up with a huge advertisement?
The advertisement, for Quintain’s Tipi Rental flats, makes a striking addition to the area, but is this what public buildings are meant to be for? For some reason, it makes me think of the Soviet Union during the Stalin era. Is that an appropriate image for our Civic Centre to project?
You may, like me, wonder how this use of a prominent Wembley Park landmark was allowed to happen. The answer lies in application no. 17/4177, which was dealt with by Brent’s Planning Officers, not its Planning Committee, in October 2017. This was an application for advertising consent, for the ‘installation of a non-iIlluminated advertisement banner to the side elevation of the Brent Civic Centre.’
The application drawings showed that the proposed banner would be 30.25 metres high and 9.45 metres wide. They also included an elevation drawing, showing what the proposed banner advertisement would look like:-

I have researched the law on advertising consent recently, in connection with the adverts which have covered the tile murals in the Bobby Moore Bridge subway, at the Wembley Park Station end of Olympic Way, since 2013. The law is set out in the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007.  Regulation 3 says that:
‘A local planning authority shall exercise its powers under these Regulations in the interests of amenity …’ and that,
‘… factors relevant to amenity include the general characteristics of the locality, including the presence of any feature of historic, architectural, cultural or similar interest.’  
By inviting visitors to the Civic Centre for Open House week-end, Brent Council would appear to claim that the building is a feature of, at least, architectural interest, but this does not seem to have carried much weight when it exercised its powers ‘in the interests of amenity’.
That does not come as a surprise to me, however, as when it considered a similar application LINK , it failed to take into account the historic and cultural interest of the tile murals, a major piece of public art welcoming visitors to Wembley Park, which it allowed to be covered with adverts! I may write more on that subject, another time.
The decision letter of 20 October 2017 on application 17/4177, was addressed to a Mr Welbourne of Leeds (who I presume was acting as agent for Quintain) and signed by Brent’s Head of Planning. It granted consent for an advertising banner on the side of the Civic Centre for a period of 5 years. The reasons for giving consent were:
‘The proposed development is in general accordance with policies contained in the:
Brent’s Development Management Policies (and)
Council’s Supplementary Planning Guidance 8.’
I have not checked through all of those planning policies, so can’t say whether or not I agree!
You may think that at least Brent Council is getting some income from allowing this advert to be displayed on the side of the Civic Centre. But perhaps not. I have heard (unofficially) that the part of the building with the advert attached actually belongs to Quintain, as part of the deal with Brent for building the Civic Centre. Can anyone confirm whether that is true or not? Is it our Civic Centre, or just a Quintain billboard?

See the Open House website LINK  for details of all the interesting Brent buildings and architecture available to visit this week-end.


Asked for a comment on Philip's article a spokepserson for Brent Council said:
“With Government funding to Brent being cut in half, we’re having to find new ways to generate income to help meet that shortfall, which can then be spent on protecting services that matter most to residents, so this isn’t just an adverting sign, it’s a sign of the times.

“To get the most out of the space on the side of the building, we are partnering up with Wembley Park who, as well as having excellent contacts with Wembley event organisers, also offered the council the most amount of money in a competitive tendering process to use the space, under an agreement which will also ensure that adverts displayed there are in line with Brent values.”

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Standing together against racism and Islamophobia in Dollis Hill

The T-shirt says: There are two types: they are either your brothers in faith or your equals in humanity
Standing together in solidarity
Local people, including members of North West London Stand Up To Racism, received a warm welcome tonight at the Al-Majlis and Al- Hussaini Centre in Dollis Hill when they visited to express support and solidarity after the previous night's attack. The Chair and Secretary of Brent Trades Council were amongst the visitors.

The group were invited in to share in the celebrations and the atmosphere was positive with clear determination that such episodes would not be allowed to divide the community.

I was struck particularly by a very articulate lower secondary boy who was keen to explain his faith and at the same time emphasise his respect for all religions by explaining the meaning of the slogan on his T-shirt.

Women visitors were welcomed with  food and sweets and speeches were made thanking them for their support.

There was a low-key police presence at the Centre in Edgware Road as well as effective stewarding by the Centre itself.

Earlier Brent Council had issued this statement from Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of the council:
Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been injured and all those affected by the serious act of violence which took place outside the Al-majlis Al-Hussaini Center last night.

We are in close contact with the police who are looking into this as a possible hate crime. However, we are reassured that the police do not believe there is an ongoing threat to Brent's Muslim community. There is absolutely no place for hate in our borough. Violence like this will not be tolerated.

We visited representatives at the centre this afternoon and will give them all the help they need.

Brent has one of the most diverse communities in the UK and we are extremely proud of this. We will not allow cowardly acts like this to spread fear and hate amongst our residents.

Wembley sewer collapse will mean severe traffic delays for up to two weeks

From Brent Council

Due to a sewer collapse on Wembley Park Drive near the junction with Wembley Hill Road, Thames Water are doing emergency works and four way, four phase temporary traffic lights have been set up to control traffic. Clarendon Gardens has also been closed to assist with traffic flows.

It is estimated that these works will take up to two weeks to complete and delays in the area are expected to be severe, especially during peak times. There will be clashes with events at Wembley Stadium, the boxing on Saturday and potentially Spurs v Barcelona.

Repair carried out at pensioner's flooded flat. Power still off.

The good news is that after two weeks the repair to dry risers at William Dunbar House on the South Kilburn Estate  that caused John Healy's flat to flood has at last been carried out. There was a residual amount of water that continued to drip from the ceiling but that has now stopped.

Unfortunately the flat will need to dry out before power can be restored and meanwhile John has no heating or hot water. Wates will need to visit to assess when power can be safely switched back on.

Don't let the government off the hook for meaningless platitudes on housing

Tim Clark of Construction News writes some straight-talking updates for the sector and today's is no exception:

Is there any part of the industry that has seen more false dawns over the past decade than the housing sector?
I ask this following this morning’s unprecedented visit to the National Housing Federation’s annual conference by the prime minister, where she gave a speech making all the right noises.
Theresa May got a standing ovation for a speech full of platitudes, faint praise, promises to understand social housing needs, and an announcement of £2bn in extra cash.

Unfortunately, promises made on the stump are often too good to be true.

While this announcement was billed as genuinely new cash rather than recycled spending, it still comes with a catch: the £2bn will only be available from 2022.

Call me a cynic, but if a company chief executive stood up in front of their staff and said, “Great news: you’re all getting a raise… in four years’ time”, how many of those employees are going to whoop in delight?

Following May’s announcement, how many development managers will call a meeting to plan how to use this new cash?


Because there’s absolutely no guarantee this money will ever actually be available. You might as well place a bet on the 2022 Grand National.

No parliament can bind its successor, and the PM’s promises today are empty because she cannot guarantee she’ll be heading up the government for the next decade.

Right now you’d be brave to bet on May surviving beyond Christmas, let alone 2022.

Even then, this £2bn has been pledged for a period of time for which departmental budgets have not even been set out yet. May knows that we can have no idea how this money will fit in with the overall social housing settlement for 2022-28, or how it will compare with the £9bn in total funding committed for 2015-21 – not to mention the pre-2010 level of £3bn-a-year.

This all falls far short of the PM’s claims to be providing clarity for the social and affordable housing sector.

Of course, the government has also broken promises before.

At the NHF conference in 2015, the then communities minister Greg Clark struck a historic deal with the sector that opened up housing associations to right to buy. This meant HA stock was set to be sold off for the first time.

The sector agreed to the plan because it feared what the then Cameron government would devise if it did not.

The government promised that homes sold would be replaced on a one-for-one basis. New figures show this has not happened – in fact, fewer than a third of the 60,000 homes sold by councils since 2012 have been replaced, mainly due to lack of funds.

It often feels that the housing sector suffers from a form of collective amnesia, happy simply to be given attention and lap up the warm words. 

An announcement of real cash to build real homes right now would be welcome, but this is not it. We shouldn’t let the government off the hook for giving out meaningless platitudes. 

Vigil tonight 9pm outside Cricklewood Islamic centre after last night's attack by a car mounting pavement

Cllr Tom Miller, lead member for Brent Council for Stronger Communities, speaking about the incident last night when a car drove into the crowd outside  Al-majlis and Al- Hussaini halls on Edgware Road, Cricklewood, said:
It's not clear that Islamophobia was the actual reason why the incident developed, but it may have had a role as it went on. There's not much more information for now, but I'd just like to reassure that we don't believe Muslims are being deliberately targeted.
The Guardian reported:
Three people have been injured after a car ploughed into a crowd outside a north London Islamic centre, in an incident that is being treated as a hate crime.

The collision took place at Al-Majlis Al-Hussaini centre at the junction of Oxgate Lane and Edgware Road in Brent, which had been hosting a religious event.

Simon Rose, the local police commander, said at 12.30am voluntary stewards and members of the security team challenged a group of people who were in a car park around the corner from the centre. 

The volunteers and stewards were allegedly subjected to Islamophobic and racist abuse and there was an altercation.

 “The people who had been challenged then drove at members of the community in a car,” Rose said. “The car mounted the pavement twice and two people have been seriously hurt. Their injuries at this time are not believed to be life-threatening.”

He added: “It’s being dealt with as an Islamophobic hate crime. It is not at this time being dealt with as a terrorism incident, although that is as always subject to continuous review.”
A spokesman for the Hussaini Association, which organises Islamic lectures at the centre, told ITV News : "We are in deep shock at such an attack taking place on our community but remain proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society."

There will be a vigil outside the centre tonight from 9pm:

North West London Stand Up To Racism urged local people to join the vigil in solidarity with the victims. Vigil at 9 p.m tonight at Al-majlis and Al- Hussaini halls, 403-405 Edgware Road, NW2 6LN.

Should Wembley residents be picking up the bill for Quintain’s mistakes?

Guest blog by ' A Wembley Park Resident'.

The first residential block in Quintain’s rapidly expanding Wembley Park empire, Forum House was a flagship development at the time it opened back in 2009.   Along with neighbouring Quadrant Court which opened a year later, these developments were intended to establish Wembley Park’s reputation for “destination living” at an affordable price.   These early developments were mixed tenure - with private leaseholders and renters, shared owners and social renters all moving in to the new blocks. But as Quintain rolling out new developments at a rate of knots, some of which feature no properties at social rent, they appear to have taken their eye off the ball when it comes to ensuring that their original residents remain satisfied.  Most of their efforts are going into marketing newer luxury properties, and promoting their much-vaunted Tipi scheme, based on a build-to-rent model.

Quintain implicitly acknowledged that the managing agents they had originally contracted to oversee the developments were under-performing when they took the contract away from LRM and awarded it to rivals First Port.  But the full scale of LRM’s failure only became clear subsequently, after they left a vast deficit (thought to be just short of £100,000) in the Forum House annual accounts for 2016-17. Despite already high-levels of service charge, LRM had apparently failed to make any provision for a sinking fund - necessary for prudent management of any estate - and had consistently overspent despite failing to address recurring problems in servicing the estate, including the regularly faulty boilers and pumps.

So who is to pay for the shortfall?   LRM has now pocketed its fees and the accounts have been signed off.   Quintain might yet to be entitled to query whether LRM delivered on its contractual obligations, and potentially recover some of their cash.   But in the meantime, it’s been left to residents to cough-up for a significant “balancing charge” running into hundreds of pounds each, whilst at the same time being hit with major service charge increases from First Port (using LRM’s questionable figures as a baseline guide).   

In his usual suave manner, Quintain boss James Saunders promised WPRA’s febrile Wider Residents Meeting in June that the company would undertake a review of what monies could be reclaimed from LRM, which he anticipated might take three months.   But when the residents have asked for a progress update, no further reassurances have been given. Residents fear they’ll still be on the hook for the costs of having been failed by the freeholder and managing agents. Isn’t it time, they are asking, that Quintain paid the price for its own mistakes?

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Northwick Park development. The question they didn't want you to hear.

Brent Council is involved in several multi-million regeneration and development projects with wide repercussions for the community. When it comes to making representations about them to Planning Committee they are limited to just a few minutes to speak on extremely complex issues while the Planning Officers involved have plenty of time to sing the praises of applications that they are backing.  The only way a representation can be extended is by the councillors on the committee asking questions of the person making representations to enable them to elaborate on their case. In my experience this seldom happens.

Last night at Full Council Gaynor Lloyd was informed without prior notice that she had just one minute to ask a supplementary question about the One Public Estate regeneration of Northwick Park. Despite her request for more time (she had rehearsed her question and got it down to 2 minutes) she was told she had just one minute and was not able to ask her full question. You can see the exchange HERE.

In the interests of local democracy and the public interest I publish below Gaynor's full question that she was unable to complete:

I am grateful for the opportunity to ask a supplemental question on the Council’s response to my original question. It may assist the Deputy Leader if I outline some further background, as my question relates to public consultation on the OPE proposals, in particular, the access road and Metropolitan Open Land swap – and when it will take place and on what basis?

I have just received a response to my FOI request to which  Councillor Butt kindly directed me at the August Cabinet meeting . 

I have seen some illuminating emails and sections of reports – even though at least half of over 1400 pages has been blacked out. Firstly, I saw that, when approving a press release for the February Cabinet on OPE, Ms Downs asked whether it had to “mention all green land, including play golf? Can’t we just say it is protected and any plans will fully take this into account?” To which the lead officer responded, “I agree with Carolyn, keep the statement brief and positive. I would be inclined not to mention MOL at all. It is opening us up to further question. 

I also learned that the 4 current partners in the OPE project (Brent Council, Network Housing, London North West University Healthcare Trust and University of Westminster) employed GVA, the consultants who (I believe) are the lead advisers on the OPE project to prepare professional representations on behalf of  those 4 partners for the Council’s  first consultation on the Local Plan. This Consultations and Options Paper was published in February 2018, for response by all residents and others by March 2018.

As lead adviser, GVA was fully briefed on all the proposals including the proposed reallocation of Northwick Park for “regeneration”; potential sites for the access road across the Ducker, or through the  golf course; the alterations to Watford Road to make right turns into the Hospital; and Metropolitan open land swap. By contrast, the public were in complete ignorance. No mention was made in either the papers put out for Local Plan public consultation to residents, or at the Northwick Park ward Local Plan public “consultation” meeting. There was  no reference to Northwick Park in any document, apart from its propensity to flooding. Northwick Park was, however, apparently consulted on in something called a Developer’s Forum. According to the Consultation outcomes document (1.17), it is in a list of sites about where housing should be put and whether at high or low density. 

As to the access road, and MOL swap, discussions have been going on since at least  early 2017. Roads through the Ducker Pool and the golf course are suggested but , amongst the emails about eventual consultation, a lead officer mentions putting 3 options in relation to the access road so that residents would “feel genuinely consulted”.  The Council met the GLA re  swapping the pavilion (which is on MOL anyway)  for the triangle by the tube station  on 15 March 2017. 

The Council paid public money to their own professional advisers to put in representations to the first Local Plan consultation to prepare the way for a “regeneration” allocation. It briefed a “Developers Forum” about developing on Northwick Park - but those living next to the Park were kept in the dark  for their Local Plan consultation. When the Consultation results were published, there is no mention at all of the GVA representations on behalf of the Council & its partners. When the Cabinet agreed the grant application for £9.9 million - and all the work that will need to be done by Council officers,  there was no public mention of what the grant is for: to widen Watford Road to allow for a right turn into the Hospital and provide other access across Northwick Park - to improve the PTAL rating and justify “reallocating” Northwick park for high density development as a “regeneration” area. Even a Cabinet press release had to be sanitised to minimise reference to green land.

Cllor McLennan is fortunately a Ward member from Northwick Park and knows both the Park and her residents (as mature and sensible a group of people as you would ever wish to meet) . My question is when is all this going to be shared with us residents - who will be most immediately affected - and consulted on? 

Monday, 17 September 2018

Leak in pensioner's flat spreads into sitting room

As councillors gather for tonight's Full Council, meeting I have just heard from John Healy that the saga of his flooded flat on South Kilburn Estate continues.  Despite the best efforts by Cllrs Long and Abdi, discussion at last week's Housing Scrutiny Meeting and visits from housing officers and Wates, the leak has not yet been repaired.

John tells me hat the leak is still in the kitchen but in a worsening of his situation has now spread into his living room as well.

He says that nobody from the council has been in touch today even though on Friday they said they would contact him today to offer him temporary accommodation.

I really did hope for better from Brent Housing now that it has been brought back in-house. The Council took over from BHP on the 27th September, 2017 promising big improvements in their performance targets, especially regarding repairs.

Is Northwick Park open space safe? Cllr McLennan's response

This is the written reply to Gaynor Lloyd's question regarding the futire of open space in Northwick Park in the light of the One Public Estate Plans for redevelopment. She is allowed a supplementary question if she attends tonight's Council Meeeting. The meeting can be viewed on-line live HERE (if the broadcast does not go wrong again). Towards the end of the meeting there is a potentially controversial (and poorly formulated) motion reaffirming Brent Council support for the IHRA definition of anti-semitism which doesn't actually mention adopting the examples.

Question from Mrs Elizabeth Gaynor Lloyd to Cllr Margaret McLennan, Deputy Leader of the Council:
In the light of (1) the change in Cabinet member responsibility since the assurance given by Councillor Tatler at the Cabinet meeting in August that the Metropolitan Open Land/ open space at Northwick Park was safe, and (2) her comments to the Harrow Times that all proposals will be made in consultation with residents which is scheduled for the coming months, and (3) the fact that a Transport Viability study was carried out almost a year ago indicating the possibility of an access road through the Ducker pool area or the golf course or the Fairway (all of which would involve a road across Metropolitan Open Land), can the Cabinet Member now vested with responsibility for this project please either confirm that these access road proposals have been abandoned or, if not, please publish a simple indication of the rough alternative routes for the access road to the Northwick Park Regeneration area proposed?
If the open space is safe, can the Cabinet member also confirm that there will be no development on the SINC Grade 1 Northwick park & the Ducker Pool B103 area and open space protected under CP18, and that these areas will be fully protected so that their value is not prejudiced by the adjoining/nearby development?
Peter Brett Associates (transport and infrastructure consultants) have been engaged by the four landowners under the One Public Estate Initiative to work alongside other consultants, to assess the transportation issues that affect the Northwick Park site and its surroundings.
Part of this study included access to the site. A number of options were considered by Peter Brett, with advantages and disadvantages of each given careful consideration. The format and details of future public consultation has yet to be agreed, but this is likely to include access options for discussion and feedback.
The February 2018 Cabinet paper, updating members of progress at Northwick Park, confirms current proposals consider a possible “land swap” of Metropolitan Open Space, subject to the necessary consents. In broad terms this would involve swapping the area currently occupied by the sports pavilion and car park, with an equivalent area immediately to the south of Northwick Park station.
(Para 4.7 Appendix One of February 2018 cabinet report):
“.... include the smaller MOL swap involving the existing pavilion area and the area immediately to the south of Northwick Park station.”
This too would form part of any public consultation.
Mrs Lloyd may be reassured by para 3.2 and 3.3 of the same report, which stated:
3.2 All of the Council freehold ownership, and the Ducker Pond, is designated as Metropolitan Open Land (‘MOL’). This effectively affords it the same planning status as Green Belt, where development for uses other than those deemed appropriate for the Green Belt will be refused unless there are exceptional circumstances. The same land area is also designated as local open space.
3.3 The Ducker Pond area is designated as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation Grade I, being of high biodiversity value. This designation extends to part of the Playgolf site, particularly the hedged area at the boundary. Part of the site also forms a section of the Capital Ring public walkway. Policy seeks to preserve and enhance the habitats in these areas.

Full Council – 17 September 2018 Motion selected by the Conservative Group

With anti-Semitic hate crimes rising across London and the United Kingdom – this Council expresses that it is appalled at the increase in anti-Semitic Hate Crimes, and reiterates its support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism.

This Council is shocked at the recent spate of anti-Semitic posters that have been going up across TfL run bus stops, and it is further shocked at the recent comments by those who have described the recent condemnation of anti-Semitic language and behaviour as a ‘Zionist’ movement – using anti-Semitic language and imagery in campaigning and online, further enflaming anti-Semitic hatred across the Borough.

This Council will immediately adopt, into its councillor and public workers code of conduct, the full and complete IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, and implement policies to ensure that hate crimes against Jewish people are acted upon quickly and decisively.

Councillor Michael Maurice Kenton Ward

Help ensure the future of Preston Community Library & comment on redevelopment proposals - consultation tomorrow at the library

Preston Library, Carlton Avenue East Redevelopment Proposal, Consultation Event

Preston Library, Carlton Avenue East, Wembley, HA9 8PL

Brent Council is consulting on the future of the site of the former  Preston Library, off Preston Road, Wembley.

 Following the Labour Council's announcement of the closure of the library a huge campaign was launched to keep it open, even if that meant it being run by volunteers. For a time the building, after modification, was used by 'bulge classes' for Preston Park Primary. When it was no longer needed for that purpose community volunteers, helped by a more sympathetic Labour adminstration, set up a community library at the site on a short term licence which has been very successful putting on classes and film nights in addition to the lending library.

This consultation is about plans to redevelop the site and about the potential for incorporating a social space that could house the library or other community activities.

Consultation ends at 5pm on October 5th 2018

The consultation document is embedded below. Click on bottomn right hand corner to see full size.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Brent Council seeks injunction in order to tackle 10 day leak flooding pensioner's flat & leaving him without heating

Brent Council this evening made the following statement about the case of John Healy, the pensioner who has been in his flat without heating for more than 10 days following a leak and subsequent flood:
As soon as we were informed that there was a leak in a property at Dunbar House, South Kilburn, we responded immediately. We attended the property immediately and identified the source of the leak. 
The leak is affecting a few properties in the block including Mr Healey’s home. We made contact with all the affected residents, and offered them temporary accommodation where necessary and other support. Our Neighbourhood Housing Officer for the area has been in close contact with Mr Healey and also offered him temporary accommodation and other relief which he declined; he has stated he is happy to remain in the property.
The resident of the source property is now denying further access, despite repeated attempts to gain entry. As this is a tenancy breach, we are in the process of obtaining an injunction. This will allow us to access the property and stop the leak, as well as carry out the required repairs.
We apologise for the inconvenience caused to the affected residents, and this anti-social behaviour from the resident at the source property is completely unacceptable. In order to gain entry, we need to follow the legal process which is why it has taken longer to resolve. Our immediate concern is to stop the leak and to offer ongoing support to the affected residents. We are also taking appropriate action on the tenant who is obstructing the repairs.”
Asked for his reaction John said:
Just for accuracy my surname is Healy and it is 'William Dunbar House'.  Over the period they have blamed three different tenants for refusing access to the source- all three preventing the repair seems a bit fishy to me. 

I told my housing officer that I was ok on Wednesday evening as I thought that the repair would be done the nest day, based on the information that the council now knew the source. They did not know it immediately as the council statement claims.

Had I known that they had not even started I would at least see what decant was on offer. I am not happy to remain in the property but I will not move anywhere until they tell me the details. I have several hidden  illnesses and impairments, so I need a suitable property that meets all my needs before I can move on to it. I am on PIP for both the Daily Living component and the mobility component. This is a DWP benefit and proves my level of disability as they have strict eligibility criteria.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Latest on pensioner without power in Brent Council flat for 10 days

The case of pensioner John Healy who has spent 10 days without power in his flat at Dunbar House on South Kilburn Estate has been taken up by Cllr Janice Long and will be raised at Housing Scrutiny Committee tonight and Cllr Abdirazak Abdi is also pursuing the issue with the Council.

Nadia Khan, Communications and Marketing Manager at Brent Housing Management has emailed me for details and promised to look into the matter first thing tomorrow.

Meanwhile John has written to me late this afternoon:
Hi Martin, it has still not been repaired and it may be a long time before it is.

I spoke with Marc, the council's surveyor face to face in the South Kilburn office and he says they think the leak is on the 'dry riser', which is located between flats.

Oakray have restored my heating and microwave but they say not to use them until the Wate's electrician has checked them over and he has not arrived yet.