Friday 8 March 2019

Granville - the South Kilburn community strikes back - Brent Cabinet urged to reject housing plans

Author Zadie Smith (Left) spoke up for the Granville in November 2016 LINK

These are interesting times in Brent as 'People Power' is exercised in Stonebridge/Bridge Park, St Raphael's Estate and South Kilburn. This is the letter about the Granville Centre plans as featured in this week's Brent and Kilburn Times. LINK

To Brent Council Cabinet:

Please keep the Granville/Carlton site for use by the community and run by the community
The Granville Carlton buildings were built for the purpose of serving the South Kilburn community. The Carlton as a school in 1910, which later became an adult education centre and closed in Spring 2017. 
The Granville was built in 1888 as a community centre and place of refuge, respite and learning for the poor of the area.  The Granville had a strong arts direction from the 1980s. It was well used as part of Brent Youth and Community Service hosting over 800 children and young people a year in arts activities. This service was closed in March 2016.
The building was left to The Otherwise Club and The Granville Community Kitchen to steward. It was filled with community and educational activities, exercise classes, award winning food related activities and fun. In August 2017 the South Kilburn Trust took over responsibility for running the Granville.  After renovations,  the building re- opened in May 2018 as an enterprise hub and community centre.
South Kilburn itself is in the throes of major changes with huge building works with Gloucester site being built, the Peel site about to be started, the Winterlees site in consultation and work on the HS2 vent started. The new buildings do not have community meeting spaces in them as the buildings being demolished did. This leaves Granville/Carlton as the only non-denominational community buildings in the area.
There are 2400 plus new homes planned to be built in South Kilburn. Where are these people going to do an exercise class? Where will they hold their parents 50th wedding anniversary party? Where can children and young people outside of school go to socialise and learn in a space that’s safe? Where will marginalised groups of people go to a place where they feel welcomed and not judged because they have been in prison, or mentally ill or because they are poor or hungry ? You can see the need for the community space.
The building already functions as a community hub offering social and welfare services which will be greatly affected or lost. 
In this new plan you are being asked to agree to there is a slight increase in square footage but that is a nod to new community space being built, with the 3 community spaces separated by some distance. Nor does it take into account the community hall lost in 2018. The housing aspect of this plan is said by the Regeneration team to be minimal (25-30 homes)and cannot be guaranteed to be social or even affordable housing as there are so few planned now. The cost of building may necessitate that they all be sold on the open market.
How will these two necessary but incompatible uses of these spaces play out into the future? Already South Kilburn Trust, who manage The Granville, have had numerous complaints from residents of Granville New Homes on Granville Road about the noise from the community centre. The community activities had to quieten down as the residents have priority now. Do you believe  the needs of community groups using community spaces on the site will be prioritised above the needs of home owners?
We see this site as a place for community activities only and exclusively. In fact we argue that given the number of new people moving into the area and the loss of community rooms this community space is even more vital.
This housing is likely to be the beginning of the end of community use on the site. If you agree to this plan you are going against a decision you took in December 2016 only two years ago when you voted to save Granville/Carlton as spaces used for the community. 
The Granville/Carlton site must be kept solely for the community in perpetuity. For this reason we would like to present a different scenario for the Granville/Carlton site.
We would like to ask that the Cabinet support the local community and community groups to establish a Granville/ Carlton Alliance run by the community and stakeholders in South Kilburn to oversee these buildings for the community in perpetuity. This would be a self financing organisation which is viable, credible, transparent and accountable to the South Kilburn community. There is precedent for this in other communities.
We would not tear down the wing of Granville built in 2005 that is still perfectly viable with happy tenants. We would not build housing on 2/3 of the Granville building going against cabinet promises made to safeguard Carlton and Granville in 2016. We would return the Granville hall to its rightful place as the centre piece of both these buildings. We would ensure the use of these buildings will support a community to feel proud about itself and glad to be a part of.
We ask you to please reject this plan and work with the communities of South Kilburn towards a long lasting legacy, by preserving the Granville/Carlton site as the heart of the South Kilburn Community.
Yours sincerely,
Leslie Barson The Otherwise Club and Granville Community Kitchen
Deirdre Woods The Otherwise Club and Granville Community Kitchen
Cllr A Abdi , Kilburn, Brent
Sara Callaway, BAME officer, Hampstead & Kilburn CLP
Pete Firmin, Alpha, Gorefield and Canterbury Tenant’s and Residents Association.
David Kaye , Chair  Kilburn (Brent) Branch Labour Party

These are the options being considered by Cabinet on Monday. Option 3 is recommended by officers.

Carlton & Granville Centres Site – South Kilburn Development Options 1-4
1.0 Option 1
53 units provided meeting a mixture of housing tenure to meet a section of the community which may not be catered for in the existing South Kilburn programme this would include:
9 Family Homes. Affordable Housing for medium to large families

18 units for the New Accommodation for Independent living initiative for those who have extra care or support needs, arranged in 3 co-living clusters.

15 Move-On Homes for single people who are homeless or on the housing waiting list
 11 Down-size/accessible homes aimed at elderly residents already in South Kilburn wishing to down-size.
2.0 Option 2
53 units provided all of one tenure.
Having met with the Operational Director for Adult Social Care to discuss the NAIL programme in further detail this site could be ideally suited to accommodate the biggest demand in this service from older people needing extra care.
This NAIL programme is still to deliver 400 of the required homes in a bid to provide a replacement for residential care. This is known to be the biggest revenue savings programme at Brent Council, and something we could accommodate on this site.
External community activity is an excellent fit for these residents and there would be an excellent blend of services in the activities already happening in The Granville for older people and the day time services sought by this section of the community. Benefits may also be found between this and the children’s services on site.
The minimum number of units this scheme would need to provide is 40 plus accommodation for care staff to cover the night time care required.
3.0 Option 3 (Recommended)
Approximately 23 units delivered in response to some of the consultation responses. This option endorses the principle of a less dense scheme whilst still achieving the benefits housing provides on a site, specifically community safety with 24 hours passive surveillance of the outdoor spaces below.
A reduction in housing presented on this option will responds to the community concerns on scale of development and residential impact on this community site. It also resolves technical issues regarding the build and management of the space and should provide a more acceptable level of development as the taller housing element is removed from this option
It should be recognised that viability will have to be worked through and some private housing may be required however the preference is for affordable units.
4.0 Option 4
No housing delivered as part of the longer term plans this option would still require refurbishment of the existing buildings for community and enterprise use. Financial impacts would need to be further considered.

No comments: