Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Petition launched to Save the Bobby Moore Bridge tile murals

The image used in this poster may be the work of Amanda Rose ( ©amandarosephoto )
– we are still waiting for Quintain to confirm whether or not this is the case.

 Guest post by Philip Grant, in a personal capacity.
Comments on my guest blog about the Bobby Moore Bridge planning applications last week LINK led to a paper petition being started. Signatures were collected from last Friday onwards, and forms for this are still in circulation. I will write a little more about those efforts below.
From 21 May until 5 June, there is also an e-petition on the Brent Council website, saying:

We, the undersigned, petition the Council to put the tile murals in the Bobby Moore Bridge subway at Wembley Park back on permanent public display, through its Planning Officers or Planning Committee rejecting both of the current applications relating to this site: 19/1387 (illuminated panels and surrounding metal cladding) and application 19/1474 (advertising consent).’

If you live, work or study in Brent, and support the aims of this petition (explained in last week’s guest blog), and have not signed the paper petition, I would encourage you, please, to sign the online petition LINK . The more signatures we achieve, the better the chance of getting these planning applications considered properly, and hopefully in public at a Brent Planning Committee meeting in June or July.
Following the suggestion that we should have a petition, and getting the first signatures on it from local residents, Jaine and I went out on Saturday afternoon, to bring the hidden murals to the attention of fans going to the F.A. Cup Final, and seek their support. They, after all, are some of the visitors to Wembley that the tile murals were designed to welcome, to “the Venue of Legends”.
I had been standing in the Bobby Moore Bridge subway, in front of the hidden tile murals and with a copy of the poster above as a “bib”, for less than ten minutes when I was approached by a uniformed lady from “Wembley Park Security”. She asked me what I was doing, and whether I had a permit. I explained, and said that as I was not selling anything, or collecting money for a charity, I did not think that I needed a permit. She insisted, politely, on taking pictures of my “bib” and petition on her mobile ‘phone.
A few minutes later, she returned with a larger male colleague. They told me that I was not allowed to petition anyone on Wembley Park land, and that I should move away, across the white tiled line at the station end of the subway. I said that the subway belonged to Brent Council, not to “Wembley Park”, and that Quintain had admitted that fact in the planning applications the petition was seeking signatures for. The lady insisted I was wrong, as did her colleague after ‘phoning “Security Control”. I said that they had been given incorrect information, but decided not to argue the point further!

Fans on the steps at Wembley Park Station, seen from the subway about 2 hours before kick-off.

As the place that “Wembley Park Security” had directed me to was right at the bottom of the steps down from the station, and would have caused an obstruction and been a safety hazard, I went across to Olympic Square. I was glad that I did, because it was easier to approach people who were standing, waiting to meet up with friends, rather than those walking towards the stadium.
I have to admit that I only got around 50 signatures – I am more “at home” in a quiet archive than amid the noise and crowds of Cup Final Day! I believe that Jaine got many more, possibly several hundred. They will all help, when submitted with those which two other supporters are collecting.
Among the people I spoke to, there was genuine concern that the tile murals (which few knew about, but some had seen on visits to the stadium in the past) had been allowed to be covered over with adverts. As well as the poster, we had some photos with us showing other sections of the murals that are covered up. When I was speaking to the mother of one family group, her daughter (no more than ten) said: “Look, that’s Michael Jackson!” Although the late singer had serious “issues” in his personal life, he remains a popular entertainer for his music and videos, and she had recognised him from the mural.

Tile mural scene, from Michael Jackson’s record-breaking
live concerts at Wembley Stadium in the 1980’s.
One older man was disgusted at the disrespect to Bobby Moore, by covering up the mural and plaque in his memory. He wished me luck with our efforts to get the murals put back on public display, but warned that “money always wins.” Unfortunately, he was right about that as far as the Cup Final went, as he was a Watford supporter, and his team lost 6-0 to Manchester City (funded by the billions of a Gulf state ruler). But, with your help, money (in the shape of Quintain) does not have to win over the tile murals.
So, please, use the link above to go to Brent’s e-petitions page, and back the efforts to have the planning applications rejected, so that all of the Bobby Moore Bridge tile murals are saved from damage and put back on public display.
Better still, if you can spare the time, please use the link from last week’s guest blog to go to Brent’s Planning website, and object to both applications, 19/1387 and 19/1474. The blog gives some good grounds for objection, with both applications going against Brent’s Wembley Area Action Plan, and the covering up of the tile murals being against the ‘interests of amenity’ under the advertising consent Regulations. 
Thank you.

Philip Grant.


Justice4Grenfell campaign will speak at Brent Trades Hall tomorrow May 22nd

On Wednesday 22nd May, Moira Samuels will be speaking at 7.30pm at Brent Trades Council's meeting.
Moira Samuels is from the Justice4Grenfell campaign whose goal is to obtain justice for the families, survivors and the local community. 
On 14 June 2017 Grenfell went up in flames and on 14th June 2019 local residents and supporters are still marching in silence to remember this horrendous tragedy.

Willesden Trades and Labour Hall, 375 High Road, London NW10 2JR.


From Kensal and Kilburn Better 2019

Is private education a key source of our country's problems?

Social historian David Kynaston, co-author of Engines of Privilege: Britain's private school problem, will set out the argument made in his book, followed by responses to the book by Patrick Derham, Headmaster of Westminster School and Melissa Benn, author of Life Lessons: the case for a National Education Service, and then discussion. 

 The event will be chaired by Judith Enright, Headteacher of Queens Park Community School.

The debate will not be about whether individuals should or should not send their children to private schools; it will be about the effect of the private school system on wider society.  

Therefore we warmly welcome parents and students from both state and private schools, as well as everybody else who has ever attended school and wants a well-informed discussion on our education system and our society. 

A Kensal & Kilburn Better 2019 event put on in association with Queens Park Book Festival

Monday, 10 June 2019 from 19:00 to 20:30 (BST)
Queens Park Community School
Aylestone Avenue
NW6 7BQ London

Drug related crime community meeting tonight 7pm Brent Civic Centre

End drug-related crime - Public Meeting Drugs affect us and our community
7pm-9pm Tuesday 21 May 2019 Brent Civic Centre Grand Hall Tea and coffee from 6.45pm

How can we stop the violence and exploitation caused by drugs? Have your say – make a difference:
Find out:

• whose lives are affected by drugs
 • how drugs fuel exploitation, crime and violence 
 • what the police are doing 
 • how mentors with first-hand experience can help 

What can we all do now and in the longer term?
How can parents help?
How can young people help? 
How can schools help?
How can policy and legislation help?

 Hear what the panel say. Ask them questions. Make suggestions.

  •  Louis Smith, Police Superintendent, North West London
  • Tom Sackville and Mary Payne, Brent substance misuse service
  •  Danny Coyle, Headteacher of Newman Catholic College 
  •  David MacKintosh, drugs policy adviser
  •  Brent Youth Parliament member 
  • St Giles Trust mentor for schools 
 Organised by Brent Safer Neighbourhood Board


Friday, 17 May 2019

Quintain secures a further £172.5m of development financing to support the continuing expansion of Wembley Park

Site E05 proposals (from Quintain website)

 Press release from Quintain Ltd

Quintain has successfully completed a £172.5m financing package with Cheyne Capital to support the development of the next phase of its development programme at Wembley Park. The funding will support the development of the latest block in its Eastern Lands quarter, consisting of 458 homes and includes a multi-storey coach and car park that is being part funded by Homes England.

Angus Dodd, Chief Executive at Quintain said:

Cheyne is an existing funder of the business on other phases under construction and we are delighted that it is continuing its support through co-funding the next development in the pipeline. The funding structure is bespoke for Build to Rent (BtR) and was executed in a highly efficient manner, demonstrating Cheyne’s expertise in this area. The funding will take the aggregate number of residential units under construction at Wembley Park back to over 3,000. These homes are on track to be delivered in phases over the next two years and will all be managed by Tipi.
Arron Taggart at Cheyne Capital said:
The Quintain loan demonstrates Cheyne’s continued ability to provide large development loan solutions to high quality projects such as Wembley Park and support borrowers of the calibre of Quintain. The Wembley Park project is a complex and innovative example of how the London landscape continues to improve and change from large scale redevelopment such as this, and we are delighted to be able to play a part in that journey.
The latest plot on the Eastern Lands is called E05 and comprises 458 homes across three blocks, ranging in height from 10-21 storeys. The homes are being delivered entirely for rent, including discount market rent and London living rent, all of which will be managed by Tipi, Quintain’s lifestyle-focused rental brand. Also at E05 is 83,000 sq ft of innovative amenity space in the form of podium-level private landscaped gardens, roof terraces and a resident’s lounge. The contractor for this project will be John Sisk & Son.

The news comes as Quintain also announces the appointment of Richard MacDowel to the role of Group Treasurer. Richard joined from the real estate lending team at Lloyds Bank, where he was Head of Major Private Groups. Working alongside Cath Webster, Executive Director of Strategy & Investment, he will have responsibility, among other things, for the group’s relationship with external debt funders. Richard said: “I join at an important time for the business, as it further develops the Wembley Park project. The Build to Rent funding market in the UK is still nascent, and it is exciting to be a part of the team that is at the sector’s vanguard and looking to establish new funding templates.

This image refers to Philip Grant's comment below:

Some mistake, surely? Brent Council wins planning awards while complaints about housing escalate

Chase House, South Kilburn
Guest post by Pete Firmin, South Kilburn Estate resident

Legend has it that emperor Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Brent Council leadership seem to be staging a modern re-enactment when, while receiving baubles for its planning team, it turns a blind eye to reports of the poor standard of housing being built.
The Council website proudly proclaims LINK 

Brent scoops planning award 
A UK planning industry award was handed to Brent council's planning team yesterday (24 April) in recognition of the projects and plans and commitments made by the team to borough.
The RTPI [Royal Town Planning Institute] awards for planning excellence is the longest running and most high-profile awards in the industry and celebrates the teams and projects that transform economies, environments and communities all over the UK and internationally.
Brent scooped the Local Authority Planning Team of the Year award ahead of nine other shortlisted authorities.
The judges noted how Brent's planning team excelled in all areas of work. They were impressed with their desire to continually reflect on their performance and look for ways to develop and improve their service.
Cllr Tatler, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Highways and Planning, said:
"This is a great achievement and one that we should be proud of. We were up against some of the best nationally to win Planning Team of the Year and it just shows that we are on the right path with what we are doing here in Brent for residents, creating new homes, opportunities and building a better borough.

In stark contrast, about the same time, Catalyst Housing announced that all residents would have to leave Merle Court in Carlton Vale within 18 months. Not only has the flammable cladding on the building to be removed, but Catalyst say that the need for major internal works mean residents have to move out.

In recent months local Councillors and the MP, Tulip Siddiq, have received many complaints from residents of Argo House in Kilburn Park road of major problems, including poor ventilation, internal mould, intermittent hot water and heating, loose cables and loose cladding. Residents also say they are getting little or now support from the property managers or Home Group Housing association.

A few weeks ago, residents of Chase House in Hansel Road tweeted photos of the state of their bloc, including mould. This week the Kilburn Times picks up on that LINK but with the additional facts this concerns not just Chase House, but also Franklin House (Carlton Vale) and Hollister House on Kilburn Park Road. The common factor to all three is that they are all managed by L & Q. Their common problems are like those of Argo House.

Such problems are not new. Like Merle Court, Swift House and George House (managed by L & Q) on Albert Road, have flammable cladding and have had 24-hour firewatch since shortly after the Grenfell tragedy. L & Q is currently in the process of removing the cladding on Swift House, which means residents are surrounded by ugly scaffold for an extended period.

George House also needed a new roof after the previous one leaked. It still has flat roofs which collect water.

Kilburn Quarter (Network Homes, Cambridge Road) had to have their balconies waterproofed after it was discovered they were leaking.

These problems come on top of a myriad of lesser issues (though not to the residents…) that have been reported for years, as well as issues of rocketing service charges imposed.

What all these properties have in common is that they have been built as part of Brent Council’s regeneration of South Kilburn. All are new, and the problems are common to both “social” and market-price residents.

Before this latest award, Brent won several plaudits for its “flagship” regeneration and refused to listen to those residents and community activists, including the local Kilburn branch of the Labour Party, who tried to raise these issues.

Clearly the problems are common to several different property developers and housing associations. Despite the awards (which never seem to involve local people among their judges), builders and housing associations have been taking advantage of Brent’s enthusiasm for regeneration to build sub-standard housing.

Brent appears to want to disclaim any responsibility for these problems, referring all enquiries from journalists about Merle Court to Catalyst without comment. However, not only was Merle Court built in partnership with Brent Council, but Brent gave panning permission for all these blocks (which replace previous Council housing). They are all part of the Council’s regeneration of South Kilburn, and social tenants in them were referred on by Brent after their Council housing was demolished. Brent shares some responsibility for this situation beyond simply being the Local Authority in which poor quality housing exists.

The concern is that, with South Kilburn regeneration to continue for many years, and Brent wanting to “regenerate” St Raphaels estate, we can see further similar problems.

South Kilburn residents and community activists are, however, getting organised. As well as calling for current faults to be rectified, we must call for a halt to regeneration until Brent and the community, are satisfied that housing is build to a decent standard and housing associations and property managers take real responsibility for their buildings.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Day after Bobby Moore Bridge mural article is published Brent Council issue planning notice

Coincidence or the power of Philip Grant's article?

The day after Philip's article was published on Wembley Matters  regarding the planning application for the Bobby Moore Bridge at the end of Olympic Way (below Bridge Road)  the site notice above (dated 15/05/19)  was posted by Brent Council.

You will see that it gives a deadline of June 5th for comments.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

The Bobby Moore Bridge tile murals - will Brent’s Planners let the “cover-up” continue for the next ten years?

Guest post by Philip Grant, in a personal capacity.
Readers may remember a “guest blog”, just over a year ago, when I wrote about an attempt to persuade Brent Council and Quintain to put the tile murals in the Bobby Moore Bridge subway at Wembley Park (which have been hidden by adverts since 2013) back on permanent public display LINK .

An update post, last November, reported on a presentation to Wembley History Society by Julian Tollast, Quintain’s Head of Masterplanning and Design, giving what he saw as the options for the future of the tile murals, which could involve some public display of part of the murals LINK

Quintain have now submitted their applications, seeking approval of their plans for the (Brent Council owned) Bobby Moore Bridge. 

The elevation drawing for the east side of the Bobby Moore Bridge subway,
from a document submitted in support of both applications.

Application 19/1387 is for the lighting and other fixtures that they wish to install, including illuminated panels around 3.5m high by 1.2m wide on the walls of the subway (15 on the east side and 22 on the west side), surrounded by metal cladding, and large illuminated screens facing outwards from the north and south parapets of the bridge. One section of the tile murals on the eastern wall would be displayed, showing a scene of footballers, with the “twin towers” stadium in the background, and including the plaque unveiled by Bobby Moore’s widow when the subway was opened and named in his honour in 1993.

Application 19/1474 is for consent to show advertisements on those panels and screens for the next ten years.

Although I appreciate the effort put in by members of Wembley History Society over the past year, and the willingness of Quintain to at least consider some mitigation of the “cover-up” of the tile murals, I still feel strongly that it is wrong for the murals to be hidden from public view. I will continue the fight to get them put back on permanent public display, and hope that many readers of this blog will join that fight.

I only found out about these applications from careful monitoring of Brent’s planning website. I had asked the North Area team, last year, to notify me if there were any applications relating to the Bobby Moore Bridge (which is not an “address” which the planning website allows you to monitor), but received no notification. It now appears that the only person who has been consulted about the applications, made in mid-April, is a Council Officer in the Transportation Unit (‘Neighbours/Representees: 0 by email, 0 by post’).
There doesn’t appear to have been any reference to these applications in newspaper adverts about planning cases “of Public Interest”. When I visited the subway on Saturday, there were no “Planning Site Notices” about these applications displayed on any lamp post, railing or anywhere else in the vicinity. The only one I did find was a battered old notice, for a 2018 application in Brook Road, tied to a lamp post in Olympic Square.

The only Brent planning notice in the vicinity of the Bobby Moore Bridge on 11 May 2019.
You could easily imagine that Brent’s planners do not want the public to know about these applications! But when I contacted the case officer dealing with one of them, I was told: ‘We would welcome your comments.’ That is good to know, and the Council will certainly receive some from me, in support of my objections to both applications. If you would be interested to know some of the comments I will be making, perhaps to assist you in making your own objections, please read on.

At the heart of objections to both applications are the tile murals themselves. They are an important, large scale, public work of art, specially commissioned by Brent Council and its partners to decorate the walls of this subway, in a way which showcases Wembley Park's heritage as "the Venue of Legends". They depict, in bright ceramic tiles, scenes from famous sporting and entertainment events at Wembley Stadium and Arena, and give a strong "sense of place" for both residents and the millions of visitors passing through the subway every year.
Brent’s adopted planning policy covering this location is the Wembley Area Action Plan. By seeking to cover up the tile murals, both applications go against the policies in Paras. 4.51 and 4.52 of that document, which set out the importance of public art to the area. The Plan also identifies Wembley Park Station as ‘a key gateway into the area’, and emphasises the importance of ‘a sense of arrival’. The Bobby Moore Bridge subway acts as that gateway in a literal sense, so that allowing any proposal to cover up the tile murals (which help to give that ‘sense of arrival’ at Wembley Park) breaches that planning policy as well.

Although my main concern is with the tile murals, I could not help noticing that 19/1387 also includes replacing the existing banner adverts above each end of the subway with new illuminated display screens. The top of proposed screens would be level with (or even slightly above) the top of the existing parapet balustrades. I measured the height of these balustrades during my “site visit”, and the top of them is 105cm above the pavement level. This would mean that a young child, or anyone else under around 110cm in height, or anyone in a pushchair or in some wheelchairs, would no longer be able to see the Stadium from the Bobby Moore Bridge. All they would see through the open balustrades would be the rear cladding of the screens, a few centimetres away.

The adverts above the south end of the Bobby Moore Bridge subway, as seen last Saturday, and as shown by the “white static visual” submitted as part of the applications.
I have written before about Brent Council’s commitment in the Wembley Area Action Plan to protect views of Wembley Stadium LINK . Planning policy WEM6 lists the protected views, which include the view of the National Stadium from: ‘7. The Bobby Moore Bridge’. The proposed new screens would deny that view to children and some disabled people, which is another reason why application 19/1387 should be refused.
The key to the advertising consent application, 19/1474, is the effect that the advertisements (which would be shown on the illuminated panels in the subway) would have on the “amenity” of this location. Special regulations for advertising consent applications were set out in 2007. Regulation 3 clearly states what the Council's responsibility is:

'A local planning authority shall exercise its powers under these Regulations in the interests of amenity ....' 

The Regulation goes on to say:

'… factors relevant to amenity include the general characteristics of the locality, including the presence of any feature of historic, architectural, cultural or similar interest.’ 

One of the main characteristics of the Bobby Moore Bridge subway is the presence on its walls of a large and colourful work of public art, depicting scenes of historic and cultural interest which reflect Wembley Park’s heritage as “the Venue of Legends”. As well as the tile pictures on the east wall, showing the 1948 Olympic Games (which Olympic Way gets its name from), football at the old Wembley Stadium, ice shows at the Arena, the record-breaking Michael Jackson stadium concerts and show jumping (the “Horse of the Year Show” was held at the Arena for many years), the west wall also has a variety of different sports and entertainment events depicted in the same mural style.

The tile murals on the east wall of the Bobby Moore Bridge subway (image courtesy of Julian Tollast).

It would not be 'in the interests of amenity' to allow any part of the tile murals to be hidden by the proposed illuminated advertising panels and their metal surrounds, so that Brent, as the local planning authority, has a duty to reject this application.

You might ask why these tile murals have been covered with vinyl adverts since 2013, if the case against advertising on the walls of the Bobby Moore Bridge subway is so strong? WHY INDEED! This is why:

Quintain’s original advertising consent application, 13/2987, was made in September 2013, seeking to display advertisements on the walls of the subway from 22 October 2013 until 21 October 2018. However, the application was not dealt with by Brent’s Planning Department until August 2017.

The planning case officer’s delegated report, dated 7 August 2017, concluded that ‘the [vinyl advertising] signage would have no impact on amenity.’ This conclusion was made because the case officer had not considered the existence of the tile murals on the walls of the subway at all!

It is possible that the planning officer who prepared the report was not even aware of the existence of this feature of historic and cultural significance, because the 2013 application documents did not mention the murals on the tiled walls of the subway, and those murals had been covered over with vinyl adverts, without consent (and therefore, unlawfully), since October 2013.

On the basis of the delegated report, Brent’s Head of Planning granted advertising consent on 25 August 2017 (not for the period applied for, but for 5 years from the date of consent).

It will not come as a surprise to you, when I say that I have little confidence that these applications would be properly dealt with if they are determined under ‘officer delegated powers’. That is why, since I first discovered the applications a few days ago, I have been trying to get them referred to Planning Committee, so that they can be considered and decided together in an open and transparent way. 

There are several ways in which this could happen, including Planning Committee itself saying that it wishes to deal with the applications, or at least three councillors requesting that they are referred to that committee. I have made approaches on these, so far without a result. 

The “safest” way to avoid these applications being decided behind closed doors is if: ‘8 or more written objections or a petition containing at least 51 signatures have been received, in accordance with the criteria* set out ….’

So please, if you agree with me that the Bobby Moore Bridge tile murals should not be covered over with illuminated panels and adverts, go onto the planning searches website LINK , enter the reference numbers 19/1387 and 19/1474, have a look at the applications, and submit your own written objections.

*These “criteria” are quite strict, and include that each objection ‘raises planning considerations that are material and related to the application,’ and ‘clearly states what is being objected to and gives reason(s) which are relevant planning considerations.’ An objection is only valid ‘if, in the opinion of the Strategic Director Regeneration and Environment or the Head of Planning, all of the criteria are met.’ 

On top of that: ‘Identical, similar or pro-forma letters or emails, which also meet all of the above criteria, will each be treated as a single signature in support of a petition and not as individual objections in their own right.’ 

Although you can use the reasons for objection that I have set out in this blog as a guide, please be careful to write any objection in your own words. Thank you, and good luck!

Philip Grant.

One in Four Photography Exhibition - Raising Awareness of Prostrate Cancer in Black African and Caribbean men: Brent Civic Centre from May 21st

From Healthwatch Brent

We have teamed up with Orchid - Fighting Male Cancer and Brent Museums and Archives to bring you a new and exciting photographic exhibition – One in Four.

This photographic exhibition comprising of sixteen powerful and thought provoking portraits of local black African and black Caribbean men to help raise awareness regarding ethnicity being a risk factor associated with prostate cancer. With prostate cancer incidence increasing every year and predicted to be the most common form of cancer by 2030, and with 1 in 4 black African and black Caribbean men being diagnosed in their lifetime this vital exhibition demonstrates the importance and need for awareness and support within the communities.

One in Four forms part of a suite of resources and activities developed specifically by Orchid as part of the “Changing lives, engaging Black African and Black Caribbean men at risk of or with prostate cancer” programme, which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund – Reaching Communities Programme.

Enjoy this FREE photographic exhibition!!

When: Tuesday 21 May - Friday 16 August 2019
Where: Brent Civic Centre, Exhibition Wall, Ground Floor, 32 Engineers Way, Wembley HA9 

Monday, 13 May 2019

REMINDER TONIGHT: How could UK Defence Policy Better Protect us? Brent Trades Hall 7.30pm

Palestinian Nakba: Past, Present and what the Future holds - May 14th Queens Park Community School

May 14th 7pm until 8.30pm

Three Palestinians and a British human rights’ lawyer talk about the history of the Palestinian people, their legal status and their hopes and challenges for their future as they seek peace and justice through non-violence. 


Dr Asad Abu Shark: Retired Professor of Linguistics, Palestinian human rights activist and international spokesperson for the Great March of Return. He is from the Gaza strip and currently lives in Ireland.


Dr Ghada Karmi: Palestinian physician, academic and writer. She was born in Jerusalem, but had to flee with her family in 1948 and has lived in the UK since then. She is the author of several books on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and is a well known spokesperson on Palestine in the UK and Middle Eastern media.


Daniel Machover: Eminent British Human Rights lawyer and co-founder of Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights.


Yana Shabana: Palestinian who grew up in the West Bank, she studied at Hebron University and then taught English language at Al-Najah National University in Nablus. She is currently undertaking doctoral research at the University of Birmingham in the role of translation in indigenous elimination through settler-colonialism.


Event put on by Kensal and Kilburn Better 2019 in association with Palestine Community Foundation.

 Queens Park Community School, Aylestone Avenue, NW6 7BQ