Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Bridge Park community comes out fighting for its rights, Council's new plan offers less than Bridge Park currently offers

“Brent, don’t take our gold and only give us sand. 

You state you offer our Community a friendly hand...
then don’t sell our Land”
The meeting where the BPCC campaign was launched
Statement from Bridge Park Community Council February 4th 2019 about Brent Council's sale of the land at the Bridge Park Leisure Complex

The Restriction

We successfully lodged an RX1 application in September 2017 with the Land Registry, as a declaration of interest in the land on the South West Side of Brentfield Road, Stonebridge, Willesden (“Bridge Park”) Title No: NGL426015.
Brent insisted that unless we withdrew the application, they would escalate matters to the courts. They have continued to reject all our offers of cost-effective resolution, which included negotiation, ADR and HMLR Tribunal.

The Covenant

Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre (BPCLC) is a former 3.5 acres bus depot that was converted into a Leisure Centre in the 1980s using GLA funding. It has been managed by the Council for at least the last 12 years and offers 37 business units, multi-faith centre, nursery, dryside multi court sports hall, 2x Gyms, professional music studio, bar with restaurants, function hall, conferencing and meeting rooms. The Bridge Park site had a protective covenant on it, to keep it in the hands of the community. Brent Council worked with the LB Bromley (as successor body to the GLC) to have this removed.
Proposed Redevelopment of Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre
See the Brent Council Report from the Strategic Director, Regeneration and Growth and the Strategic Director of Environment and Neighbourhoods 17th February 2014


Brent Council have hidden the exchanges and correspondence with GMH and Brent Council’s Planning department – Bridge Park is community used, owned and of huge community interest. Brent council’s dealings should be made public and particularly all related planning and pre-planning exchanges. Bridge Park currently has more facilities than that offered by Brent in their latest revised plan announced 1st February 2019.
Conditional Sale Agreement (CLSA)
We now have possession of the CLSA ‘sale’ document. Brent are supposed to be Publicly accountable – yet, Brent Council are not operating open-handedly. All key information as to the Land sale has been removed and some 95% of pertinent details have been redacted.
The Community have said overwhelmingly that:
       they do not wish for Bridge Park land to be sold to private developers
       they support BPCCs community vision
       Brent should observe the protective covenant schedule titled The Community Project that was entered onto the original HM Land Registry Title NLG426015 of 1982. Brent refers to consultations held in October/November 2017 in Harlesden and Stonebridge. Both meetings were attended by BPCC members, the public and the press was present. The meetings did not cover public consultation on the areas that Brent now states as the reasons for recent changes in their latest plan. The above meetings were in fact Brent Council officers, the Leaders and senior executives, in apparent partnership with the developers GMH, both presenting the Vision for the future use of the land. One contentious area was that 5% affordable housing would be made available to the community 30 of 600 homes. The consultation session and documents presented simply provided the community with options on how they wanted the gym surfaces and facilities arranged, similarly same with the planned swimming pool. The exercise was explained by Brent’s architect with the aid of drawings laying out their proposed redevelopment of the site. The community overwhelmingly disengaged with the consultation exercise and demanded that Brent Council not sell Bridge Park.

The community’s restriction on the land sale places Brent Council under extreme pressure to complete the deal with GMH within deadline. We feel Brent Council have adopted a number of tactics to try to get past the court process and speed up the usual court timetable. The latest of which was an unexpected revised acceptance of our longstanding offer of mediation, in that Brent agreed to look at mediation within the month of February but on the terms that they would alongside, and at the same time apply for Summary/ Strike Out hearing of our restriction. This is set for 11am 27th February 2019, at the Rolls Building, High Court EC4. The Strike Out is a technicality to get the case thrown out before it can be heard at a full trial, thereby rendering any mediation before 27th February 2019, non- binding and ineffective. We see this as Brent’s attempt to get around our accusation that they have not made real or reasonable efforts to seek settlement ADR with us. 
The Conditional Land Sale Agreement (CLSA) puts Brent Council in some difficulty with settlement talks, as they will likely face huge issues if they do not go through with this commercial deal.
In summary, Brent knew prior to the sale that the community objected to it. We were not happy with the level and lack of consultation also there was no real community involvement in the process. Brent pushed through with the sale of the land and have now realised that the community effort to block any sale and our wish to be fully involved with the process is to be taken seriously.
Their recent plans do not address the fact that:
       The community does not want Brent to Sell the land. 

       Brent should halt the sale and now fully involve the community on the use of the 

Brent’s latest plan to sell would leave the community with significantly less facilities 
than that which Bridge Park currently offers.



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