Monday 29 April 2019

South Kilburn Chase House defects persist 6 years after completion

This tweet caught my eye this morning . It refers to Chase House on Hansel Road, South Kilburn.

How could UK Defence Policy better protect us? Monday May 13th with Lucy Roberts

Support Palestine! Two events on Saturday May 11th

From Brent and Harrow Palestine Soldiarity Campaign and Brent Friends of Palestine

The Palestinian people need our solidarity more than ever, and are calling for global protests to protect their collective rights. As Israel continues to flout international law and violate human rights, there is a responsibility on the global community to hold it to account and push for an end to the oppression of the Palestinian people.

No new Nakba! - End the Siege! - Defend the Right of Return!

Organised by: Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, Palestinian Forum in Britain, Friends of Al- Aqsa, Muslim Association of Britain

Plus in the evening this event organised locally:

Ticket Reservations HERE

Sunday 28 April 2019

Get Mapping Brent - Thursday May 2nd, Willesden Green Library

From Philip Grant

Brent Museum and Archives at Willesden Green Library are hosting a very interesting event on Thursday 2nd May, to help anyone interested in our local heritage get involved with the "Layers of London" project ( ). 

This project aims to get details about the local history of every corner of the capital onto an interactive online map, so that anyone can discover the stories behind the place where they live. I think it is a fantastic idea, but currently there is hardly anything about Wembley on the website!

I am attaching the poster for this workshop event, from 5.30 to 7.30pm, and hope that anyone who is interested and can attend will come along to this session, so that we can help to put Wembley's history "on the map". 
For more details contact; booking is not necessary but would be helpful:


Friday 26 April 2019

Residents must not pay for Grenfell-style cladding removal, FBU union says

From the Fire Brigades Union

The cost of removing dangerous flammable must not fall onto building residents, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has said. The government must fund residents’ removal costs until those responsible can be held accountable.

Nearly two years on from the Grenfell Tower fire, the same flammable cladding covers a total of 434 residential buildings. Dangerous cladding has been removed from just 29% of social housing blocks and 6% of private residential blocks.[1]

Combustible cladding has been removed from just 10 of the 176 private blocks found to be at risk., with  The FBU is backing the #EndOurCladdingScandal campaign, launched today by Inside Housing and UK Cladding Action Group, to address an overlooked risk to residents.
Across local authority and private housing, the government should take a risk-based approach to removing cladding and improving fire safety, rather than waiting for blame to be attributed, the FBU believes.

Andy Dark, FBU assistant general secretary, said:
It’s a scandal that residents who are living in tower blocks covered in flammable cladding and where basic fire safety is substandard have no certainty whatsoever that their homes will be made safe.
Whether publicly or privately owned the remedial work needs to be completed quickly and the government must take responsibility for getting the job done.
Grenfell Tower’s flammable Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding was one of the key factors that caused the fire to spread so rapidly, alongside the failure of “compartmentalisation”, where each flat is built as a fireproof unit.

The next phase of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry will focus on conditions that led to the fire, including those in business and government who did not act on warnings about unsafe building practices
The FBU is a core participant in the ongoing inquiry and has been a strong advocate for improving tenants’ rights. The union has repeatedly criticised the government for its complacency on Grenfell, cladding, and wider fire safety issues.

[1]Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government, 31 March 2019, Building Safety Programme: Monthly Data Release. Available from:

SAFER KIDS: Brent parents launch petition to local politicans calling for immediate action on 'daily threats' their children face

Local people have launched a petition demanding that Brent's three MPs  and local councillors  act quickly to ensure that

We demand immediate solutions to the daily threat our children face through:
·      More police/security details patrolling the Kensal Green, Kensal Rise, Queens Park and Harlesden area, especially at key points in the day
·      More CCTV in key locations
·      The creation of a positive action network consisting of schools, residents and local businesses that raises awareness and encourages positive, social behaviour within the community.
We also demand long-term solutions such as investment in local youth centres and helping the youth committing these crimes to become part of the community, rather than fighting against it.

Why is this important?

We the undersigned residents of Brent demand our streets be made safe for our children. We are writing to you to demand you immediately address the radical increase in muggings and assaults on children in our local area. Lawlessness is rampant and impunity is now rife in our neighbourhood. Our streets feel like the Wild West - anything goes, and no one can do a thing about it.
Muggings and assaults on children are now occurring daily, often between 2pm and 7pm on the peripheries of schools, in parks and around the Chamberlayne Rd area. These crimes are committed by youth, at times in balaclavas, often using knives, sometimes using steel bars as a threat, other times using direct violent assault - and all this in broad daylight.
In the cases where adults have tried to intervene, they too have been violently assaulted. One parent was recently punched in the head in Roundwood Park numerous times in front of his son, and another parent had a plank of wood smashed into his face, loosing several teeth in the Queens Park area - also in front of his children.
Sadly, many cases go unreported as the victims are fearful if they tell, they could be putting themselves in more danger. Moreover, parents at times fear nothing will be done as the police rarely turn up, or if they do it’s 30 minutes late, when the perpetrators are long gone.
At an age when our children should be cherishing a newfound independence, they now have to fear for their safety. They must ask themselves: Will I be attacked on the way home from school today? Is it safe to take my phone? Do I have to walk in a big group to be safe? What should I do if I get assaulted? Will they knife me?
No child should have to ask him or herself these questions. We want our children to:
- be able to walk to school and home from it
- go the the park/skatepark
- walk to a friend’s house
- go to the corner shop
- catch a bus/ the tube etc...
without having to worry that they will be assaulted or mugged.
The effect of daily fear in these young minds, if not addressed, is likely to lead to a dramatic increase in anxiety, depression and isolation in our local community.
May we remind you, in 1991 the UK signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, one of the nine core UN human rights treaties. The CRC protects the rights of children in all areas of their life, including their rights to “freedom from violence, abuse and neglect”.
It is tragic that almost three decades later, in this supposedly civilised society, our children are not protected from violence or abuse in their very own neighbourhood.
It is tragic, that due to austerity, our society is now one in which crime is rampant, impunity rife and our children - our future - are the ones having to suffer the devastating consequences.
It is tragic that they must now live in fear in their own community.
We demand you make our streets safe for our children. We demand action and we demand it now.
Yours sincerely,
AC Collet on behalf of Safer Kids

UPDATE: Responding to a request for a comment by Wembley Matters, Cllr Tom Miller, lead member for community safety said:
We are broadly sympathetic to the aims of the petition and I've offered to meet with the organisers and anybody they would like to join with them.


From the Brent branch of the National Education Union (NEU)

UPDATE: The Call-In will be heard by the Scrutiny Committee on Thursday May 9th 

Brent NEU Officers have written in the strongest terms to Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of the Council, after the Labour Cabinet voted to support a ‘Free’ School on the Roundwood Youth Centre site. ‘Free’ schools are academies and part of this Government’s privatisation of state education programme.

Brent NEU had been repeatedly assured that there were no plans for any more ‘Free’ Schools. Cllr Butt had also publicly assured the local Labour Party of this when the idea was first mooted. Yet that is exactly what is happening – with Brent actually being the ‘sponsor’. It is to be run by Brent Special Academies Trust. 

Now the decision has been called in by a group of councillors led by Cllr Jumbo Chan stating that the Cabinet has not fully explored options for a Local Authority controlled school to provide alternative provision at the site of the Roundwood Centre or other potential school sites in the borough such as the Roe Green Strathcona site.

Brent NEU understands that local Headteachers are opposed to a ‘Free’ School, and that some of them had initially been approached to take on Roundwood as an extension of their own school. We have been told that these approaches had not been taken up. We have formally requested, under FoI, copies of any correspondence relating to this as we do not believe this was fully pursued by the Local Authority.

Brent NEU fully understand and support the need for more provision for students who are temporarily excluded from school, but strongly maintain that such provision should be under LA control and not as a ‘Free’ School run by a Labour council and an academy trust. 
It has been national Labour Party policy since last year not to support any new academies or ‘Free’ Schools and, when in power, to allow academies to return to the Local Authority. Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, reinforced this message when he spoke to the NEU annual conference in Liverpool on 16th April. A motion was also passed at the Brent 
Central Labour Party meeting on 18tht April condemning this latest move by Brent Council. 

Hank Roberts, Brent NEU President and National Executive member said:
Has no-one at the top of the Council watched the Panorama programmes exposing the iniquitous practices of academies? I am sure they have, yet Cllr Butt and Cllr Sandra Kabir, who led the privatisation of The Village school, continue to support the privatisation of our schools supported by Gail Tolley, Strategic Director, Children and Young People. Instead they should follow the lead of other Labour Councils who are promoting the party line such as Newham, Barking and Dagenham, Camden and Redbridge to name but a few.
Editor’s Note: At the last Cabinet meeting when the free school proposal was approved local Labour Party member Graham Durham interrupted the proceedings to condemn the Labour Council’s move to invite potential sponsors to set up an alternative provision free school at the Roundwood Centre:


Wednesday 24 April 2019

Big changes ahead for cash-strapped Brent Clinical Commissioning Group

Brent Clinical Commissioning Group (Brent CCG) which has an £11.2   deficit, is to move from Wembley Centre for Health and Care in Chaplin Road, Wembley to the Brent Civic Centre. In turn the social work team will be moved from the Civic Centre to the Willesden Centre for Health and Care.

Other nearby Clinical Commissioning Groups are also in deficit and so they, along with Brent will be moved into a ‘super’ CCG covering the whole of North West London to save costs.

The way each proposal interacts with the other is as yet not entirely clear. 

The Brent CCG move to the Civic Centre is premised both on saving money and improving working conditions and there is an additional justification based on the benefit  joint work with Brent council departments, although it is not clear why that does not also apply to the social work team.

One key element is the role of NHS Property Services (NHS PS). As covered previously on Wembley Matters as part of the gradual marketisation of the NHS they seek market rates for their properties and charge for ‘void’ (unused) spaces. Brent CCG will save on these charges but there is a risk that NHS PS will not accept the ‘hand back’ of the current space they occupy.

The Brent CCG is required to adopt the North West London ‘Agile Working Policy’ which doesn’t mean that they combine office work with yoga - it just means that they have no fixed personal desk and that there are more staff than there are seats available. I guess the agility comes in when they all leap over each other to try and bag a seat in the morning:

In addition to the rent  for accommodation on the 5th and 6th floor of the Civic Centre Brent CCG will have to pay Brent Council an additional, discounted, charge for use of the Boardrooms and Conference Hall. Staff will have to pay to park their cars at the Civic Centre if they wish to drive to work.

The rent paid by Brent CCG to Brent Council will be £299,000 annually, Brent Council will pay £180,000 annually for the Willesden Centre, but this will be reduced to £80,000 over the 10 year lease period because Brent will have to spend £800,000 to ‘kit out’ Willesden because at present it is a ‘shell.’

While all this is going on the move towards a single CCG to cover North West London has accelerated. This extract from yesterday’s Health and Wellbeing Board explains:

Single CCG Across North West London 

1.     The 10 Year Plan requires that there will be a shift to a CCG for every ICS area – in Brent’s case this would be a North West London CCG. This would mean a consolidation of existing CCGs, which will become leaner, more strategic organisations that support providers to partner with local government and other community organisations on population health, service redesign and long-term plan implementation. 

2.     The movement towards a single CCG may take place either via changes to the constitutions of the 8 individual CCGs in North West London or via a formal merger application to NHS England. In the latter scenario this would mean that Brent CCG would cease to exist as a legal entity and that commissioning responsibilities would be merged into a new organisation – North West London CCG. 

3.     A working group has been set up at North West London level to design the structure of the single CCG. Since North West London collaboration is currently in a significant deficit position, the movement towards a single CCG is being accelerated in order to achieve administration cost savings. Current plans are to finalise the new structure by the end of April 2019 and to approve a case for change in May 2019, with staff consultation progressing in June 2019. The plan is to have completed the move to a single CCG structure by April 2020. At the time of writing, it is anticipated that there will be a local ‘branch’ of the CCG that will be based locally within the borough. This local arm will be focused primarily upon primary and community care, and the development of the local ICP.

Will this mean that the super CCG will take up the accommodation at the Civic Centre or will it be allocated to a 'local branch'? 

What will be the extent of redundancies across the eight CCGs and how will those in the 'top jobs' be affected? 

What independent powers will a 'local branch' have?

How will both the 'super CCG' and the 'local branch; be democratically accountable to local residents?

Meanwhile a small but vital organisation, Brent Advocacy Concern, that has served disabled Brent residents for 30 years, have been caught up  in the new market rents policy and will have to find £16,000 in December for the annual payment for their space in the  Willesden Centre. A sum that they cannot afford and so they are faced with finding a cheaper alternative or closing down...

Monday 22 April 2019

Harrow School Planning Appeal starts Tuesday April 30th

The battle over Harrow School's building application enters a new round next week when the Planning Inspectorate hears the school's appeal against the refusal of planning permission. The London Mayor opposed the new sports hall development on the basis that it was not compatible with protecting the surrounding Metropolitan Open Land.

The Inspector instructed by the Secretary of State is Mr C Parker. If you wish to express a view on the appeal, you may attend the Public Inquiry and at the discretion of the Inspector, state your views in person or through a representative.

For information remember to add the last 4 numbers to the old planning reference number in order to see the appeal documents on the Harrow Council website LBH Appeal No: P/1940/16/5397

An alternative source is at   PINS Ref: App/M5450/W/18/3208434  Put in the last 7 numbers and you can make comments there. 

 Hearing details

Venue Harrow Council, Civil Centre, Station Road, HA1 2XY
Starts at 10am

Day 1 Tuesday 30th April 2019 Committee Room 1 & 2
Day 2 Wednesday 1st May 2019 Council Chambers
Day 3 Thursday 2nd May 2019 Council Chambers
Day 4 Friday 3rd May 2019 Council Chambers
Day 5 Wednesday 8th May 2019 Council Chambers
Day 6 Thursday 9th May 2019 Council Chambers
Day 7 Friday 10th May 2019 Council Chambers
Day 8 Tuesday 14th May 2019 Council Chambers

Friday 19 April 2019

Easter Appeal from Sufra NW London as Universal Credit hits families

From Sufra NW London

It’s always a busy time at Sufra. There’s lots going on this Easter weekend (see below) and we’ve got plenty to look forward to over Ramadan – including a film screening and iftar (more about that next week). And now that schools are on holiday, our young volunteers have also been hanging around, causing the usual mayhem…

Last week, whilst clearing out the chicken coop, Dahir dared Ryan to pick up and cuddle one of the chickens (he’s never had the courage to touch one before). Little did they know the chicken was about to lay an egg, which is why it was sitting in the coop. The chicken freaked out, bit Ryan’s hand and dropped a fresh egg on his new trainers.

I’m not sure whether he was more traumatised by the sight of an egg magically emerging from a chicken’s bottom or the sticky mess on his Nikes.

Speaking of which, if you would like to be part of Sami’s Chicken Club and help us look after our chickens at the weekend, please get in touch with

Running on Empty 

Universal Credit is having a real impact on our services. In recent weeks, we’ve had a significant rise in the number of families coming to Sufra in desperate need of food and toiletries.

We were so busy last week that our stockroom shelves emptied before we could serve all our guests. We realised we don’t have enough shelf space if more than 40 families arrive in the space of a couple of hours. So, we’ve made a bit more space and recruited more volunteers.

But we also need more food and toiletries to restock our shelves.

That’s where you can help. Could you arrange a food delivery of the items we’ve run out of?
  • Long Life Milk
  • Tins of Tuna
  • Toilet Roll
  • Soap
  • Baby Milk Powder
  • Nappies (sizes 1-4)
  • Instant Coffee
  • Tinned Vegetables (any)
  • Tinned Fruit (any)
  • Cordial or Juice (1 litre)
Increasingly, our supporters are purchasing items online and arranging a delivery straight to Sufra. Any supermarket will do the job – and there are often voucher codes available for first time online shoppers.

The delivery address is Sufra NW London, 160 Pitfield Way, London, NW10 0PW. There is always someone around between Monday – Friday, 9.30am-6pm to receive the delivery.

Please email us to let us know when to expect any deliveries - 

Thank you in advance.  

Network Homes tenants in Northwick Park face uncertain future

The Phase 1 site between the park footpath and the road
Network Homes have told their assured shorthold tenancy(AST)  tenants in Northwick Park, part of the proposed One Public estate regeneration between themselves, Brent Council, North West London University Healthcare NHS Trust and the University of Westminster; that their tenancies could be ended with two months notice after a fixed period.

Network Homes say that they do not intend to do this until they have to remove the present housing as part of the redevelopment and that this will not happen until at least 2021.

They recognise this announcement could cause concern but promise they will work with residents over the next few years to listen to concerns and keep them informed about the development.

Network stop short of any firm promises about the future stating that tenants will want to know if they will be offered a home in the new development and how their rents will be affected.  At present a substantial numbers of the homes are allocated to NHS staff and Network have stated that they intend to prioritise NHS staff wherever possible.   They go on to say until designs are finalised and planning permission granted they are unable to provide exact details of homes that will be available.

Network Homes have purchased the land to the north of 'Northwick Park Village' from the NHS Trust and plan to build new homes as Phase 1 of the regeneration. I understand that this is the land between the incinerator and the social club, including the car parks, and 1,300 new homes are planned. They will be a mix of what Network call 'genuinely affordable' and homes for private rent and private sale. Early artist impressions of the redevelopment showed high-rise homes on  this stretch of land.

Outline proposals will include rebuilding the existing homes on Northwick Park Village but 'this is some years away' as part of Phase 2 and won't start until the new homes have been built as part of Phase 1.

As with other developments much will rest on the 'viability assessment' in terms of the balance of affordable homes versus private rent  and private sale that will give a 'sufficient' financial return to the developer. This is what will impact on the rehousing propspects of existing tenants.

Network Homes promise to consult with local residents in advance of submitting a planning application.

Thursday 18 April 2019

Euston station closed over Easter weekend - details

Start date
19/04/2019  00:00
End date
Route affected
Caledonian Sleeper between London Euston and Edinburgh / Glasgow Central / Aberdeen / Inverness / Fort William
London Northwestern Railway between London Euston and Northampton / Birmingham New Street / Crewe
London Overground between London Euston and Watford Junction
Southern between East Croydon and Milton Keynes Central
Virgin Trains between London Euston and Birmingham New Street / Chester / Holyhead / Manchester Piccadilly / Liverpool Lime Street / Glasgow Central / Edinburgh
TOC(s) affected
Caledonian SleeperLondon Northwestern RailwayLondon OvergroundSouthernVirgin Trains
Major engineering work is affecting journeys to and from London Euston on the West Coast main line, and London Euston station is closed.
Travel either side of the Easter and Early May bank holiday, plan ahead for easier journeys and check the best days to travel:
  • Up to Thursday 18 April
  • From Tuesday 23 April up to Friday 3 May
  • From Tuesday 7 May

Caledonian Sleeper:
Caledonian Sleeper services will be diverted away from the usual route along the West Coast Mainline onto the East Coast Mainline and will be starting and terminating at London Kings Cross. Trains will not be calling at Watford Junction, Crewe, Preston and Carlisle in both directions.
On Friday. the Glasgow Sleepers will be diverted and will not call at Carstairs and Motherwell, with the sleeper from Glasgow towards London on Sunday doing the same.

London Northwestern Railway:
Friday 19 April
Trains between London Euston and Tring / Milton Keynes Central / Northampton / Birmingham New Street will not run. Trains between London Euston and Crewe will run between Northampton and Crewe only.
A half-hourly train service will operate between Harrow & Wealdstone and Rugby for the majority of the day.
Some late night / early morning services will run between Hemel Hempstead and Milton Keynes Central / Northampton only, with buses running between Stanmore London Underground station and Hemel Hempstead / Watford Junction, to allow customers to connect with London Underground services from / to London.
Customers may use London Underground on reasonable routes between London and Harrow & Wealdstone.
Saturday 20 April
Trains between London Euston and Tring / Milton Keynes Central / Northampton / Birmingham New Street will not run. Trains between London Euston and Crewe will run between Northampton and Crewe only.
A half hourly train service will run between Bletchley and Rugby.
Replacement buses will run between Stanmore London Underground station and Watford Junction / Milton Keynes Central, to allow customers to connect with London Underground services to / from London. These replacement buses will not call at Cheddington between 07:30 and 22:30, when replacement buses will run between Cheddington and Leighton Buzzard.
Sunday 21 April
Trains between London Euston and Tring / Milton Keynes Central / Northampton / Birmingham New Street will not run. Trains between London Euston and Crewe will run between Northampton and Crewe only.
Rail replacement buses will run between Rugby and Birmingham International. A train service will also run approximately every half hour between Bletchley and Northampton / Rugby.
Replacement buses will run between Stanmore London Underground station and Watford Junction / Milton Keynes Central, to allow customers to connect with London Underground services to / from London. These replacement buses will not call at Cheddington between 08:00 and 22:00, when replacement buses will run between Cheddington and Leighton Buzzard.
Monday 22 April
Trains between London Euston and Tring / Milton Keynes Central / Northampton will not run. Trains between London Euston and Birmingham New Street / Crewe will run between Northampton and Birmingham New Street / Crewe only.
A half hourly train service will run between Harrow & Wealdstone and Northampton.
Customers may use London Underground on reasonable routes between London and Harrow & Wealdstone.

London Overground:
On Friday and Monday, trains will run to amended timings with three trains per hour between Kilburn High Road and Watford Junction.
On Saturday and Sunday, trains will run to a normal timetable between Kilburn High Road and Watford Junction.
On all days, customers should use London Underground Bakerloo Line services to / from Queens Park and central London.

As a result of this engineering work, Southern trains will not run between Clapham Junction and Milton Keynes Central.
Customers may use tickets on London Overground trains between Willesden Junction and Watford Junction and on London Northwestern Railway trains and replacement buses between Watford Junction and Milton Keynes Central.

Virgin Trains:
Friday 19 April and Monday 22 April
Virgin Trains services will start / terminate at Harrow & Wealdstone. Your ticket will include free travel on London Underground Bakerloo Line services between Harrow & Wealdstone and London Paddington. If you require onward travel beyond London Paddington on London Underground, please purchase your London Underground travel ticket before you travel, or at London Paddington.
Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 April
Trains will start / terminate at Milton Keynes Central, and will not run between London Euston and Milton Keynes Central. Customers travelling into, and out from central London can use the Journey Planner to obtain alternative routes.

Check before you travel:
You can plan your journey using the National Rail Enquiries Journey Planner
You can find the location of your bus replacement by checking station signs or by searching for your station on our station information pages
Replacement Bus Travel Advice:
Bicycles are not allowed on rail replacement bus services at any time, unless fully folded. More travel advice for your replacement bus journey is available by selecting the Train Operating Company you are travelling with here.

Brent ward boundaries consultation extended to April 30th

From the Local Government Boundary Commission

Have your say on our draft recommendations for Brent Council.

Due to a small number of files on our review site being unavailable to visitors during part of the consultation, The Commission has decided to extend the consultation on draft recommendations for Brent Council until 30 April 2019.

We have proposed new wards, ward boundaries and ward names for Brent Council.

Check out our proposals through the buttons below: