Monday 28 May 2018

Celebrating Brent's Conservation Areas

I am please to publish this guest post by local historian Philip Grant
Conservation Areas were introduced in England by the Civic Amenities Act 1967, as a way of preserving the character of areas in towns or villages which had special architectural or historic interest. They are meant to provide a level of protection for those areas when planning decisions are made.

The Victorian commercial character of the Willesden Green Conservation Area helped campaigners in 2012 to save the remaining Victorian section of the Willesden Green Library building, despite the plans of Brent Council and their development partner, Galliford Try, to demolish it. The façade of the 1893 library now forms the High Road frontage of the modern Willesden Green Library.

The distinctive late-Victorian and Edwardian suburban villas which characterise the residential Mapesbury Conservation Area have, so far, managed to save “The Queensbury” in that area from demolition, and from an inappropriate development of flats on its site.

The inter-war planned garden suburb of the Sudbury Court Conservation Area, has relatively narrow tree-lined streets with grass verges, which form an essential part of its character. However, this did not prevent Brent Council pushing through its plans in 2016 to expand Byron Court Primary School, built in the early 1930’s as a two-form entry school for the children of this Comben & Wakeling estate, to five-form entry, generating traffic that the areas roads will not be able to cope with.

Anyone interested in Conservation Areas and their history will be very welcome at a Wembley History Society talk on this subject, on the evening of Friday 8th June:-

Brent’s first Conservation Area, designated in 1968, was the Roe Green Village Conservation Area in Kingsbury (whose proud sign is shown on the poster above). As well as marking 50 years as a Conservation Area, the village is also celebrating its centenary this year. It was specially planned by the Government’s Office of Works during the First World War, as housing for workers at an aircraft factory (“AIRCO”) on the opposite side of Stag Lane.

The Roe Green Village Residents’ Association is holding a number of events during June 2018 as part of the village’s centenary celebrations:-

If you don’t know Roe Green Village, why not treat yourself, and come along to the Village Day on Saturday 30th June! As well as lots of other attractions on offer that afternoon, on the Village Green in Roe Lane (yes, the WW1 plans included a village green, although the village pub that was meant to stand beside it was not built!) Wembley History Society will be putting on a display of pictures, telling the story of AIRCO and how the village came about. I look forward to seeing you there.

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