Thursday, 11 April 2019

UPDATE: Carlton-Granville back at Brent Council Cabinet on Monday. Will they listen to the community?

The Cabinet is due to consider the Scrutiny Committee's recommendations on the Carlton-Granville development at its meeting on Monday April 15th, 4pm Brent Civic Centre. The Scrutiny Committee report was only published on the Council website Cabinet Agenda this afternoon which gives only a limited time for campaigners to prepare their representations.

A crucial point is that the Scrutiny report refers to 'social' housing without any reference to rent levels. At the meeting councillors referred to affordable, council and  social housing without further definition.

This is the key extract from the officers' report for Cabinet:

Recommendation

That as required under the call-in procedure, Cabinet reconsider its original decision on the Carlton & Granville Centres Site – South Kilburn, taking into account the comments made by the committee (set out ibelow) and agree one of the following outcomes:

.        To amend the decision, having taken account of the comments made; or

.        To confirm the original decision made, enabling it to take immediate effect.

Background

At the meeting held on 11 March 2019, Cabinet considered the report from the Strategic Director of Regeneration and Environment, “Carlton and Granville Centres Site – South Kilburn” where it was RESOLVED:

a.     To approve the continuation of Phase 2 of the project at the Carlton and Granville Site to planning submission, on the basis of design Option 3 presented in the report; 

b.     To engage with South Kilburn Trust regarding possible future management arrangements of the Carlton/Granville Centres; 

c.      To note that Property Services would immediately engage with ULFA as set out in the report and to trigger the break clause as set out in the lease; 

d.     To approve in principle that funding will come from different sources as set out in Appendix 2 of the report, with the intention to seek Cabinet approval to enter into any necessary agreements with the Greater London Authority or South Kilburn Trust in due course. 

.   
The Scrutiny Committee met on Wednesday 3 April 2019 to consider the call- in. The Committee heard from the Lead Member for Regeneration, Highways and Planning as well as a number of representations from local residents and stakeholders. As a result of this process the committee agreed to refer the original decision back to Cabinet (as the original decision-maker) for reconsideration.

In referring the decision back, the Scrutiny Committee insisted that Cabinet only proceeds with the scheme if clear written promises are provided on the following four issues:

.        In terms of the recommended design option, the 23 units of housing being sought must all be provided as social housing. Whilst recognising the need to address issues in relation to viability, committee were also keen to ensure a predominance of three or four bedroom ‘family-sized’ accommodation.
 
.        Appropriate noise-reduction safeguards be provided for tenants within the new housing units in order to manage the relationship between the mixed residential and community use on the site. Such a provision is to ensure that noise concerns do not limit the use of the facility by the community.

.        A minimum level of local social enterprise provision is guaranteed within the Enterprise Hub.

.        Community governance options being developed in terms of future management of the site must be based around the Key Stakeholder Group and involve a broader local community membership. Such governance options must have open membership to locals, with democratic processes for the selection of people and positions.

 The Scrutiny Committee have also requested a further report back in 3 months’ time enabling them to continue monitoring progress in development of the scheme.
 [End of extract]

It is likely that the community will again be present at the meeting to ensure that their voices are heard and that the Cabinet give serious consideration to the recommendations.

You can support the community's demands by signing their petition HERE

Meanwhile this is  the submission made by the Kilburn Housng Co-op to Scrutiny:

Kilburn Housing Co-op is a fully mutual housing co-operative, founded in 1978.  For nearly forty years we have provided high quality well maintained secure and decent housing on low rents, only possible when profit is not the motivating factor.  We now have 37 flats in Kilburn, including several on Princess Rd, near the Granville and Carlton centres.  Our tenant members represent a diversity of ages, ethnic and social backgrounds, household types and situations.

As a self-managed co-op, we know how vital community input is, and that community spaces run in co-operation and with the good will of local people, are the most likely to succeed in meeting community needs. 

In the 80s our office was in the Carlton Centre, and we used the hall for our General Meetings.  Our current office is at the OK Club, around the corner.  Our members and their children are long-standing users of the facilities in both Centres: nursery school, cafes and community kitchen, youth clubs and activities, social and meetings spaces.  It is the only non-denominational community space in our area, and is treasured by many. This why there has been such strong and consistent opposition to the Council’s very damaging plans.

The local area needs an extension of community space, not cuts

·       We strongly oppose the Council’s proposal for a devastating reduction to community services, facilities and space that the planned development would involve. We note that this strength of community feeling has already succeeded in considerably scaling back the original plan which involved demolition of all the community buildings. This is welcome but not enough.
·       Community space has already been reduced as South Kilburn Trust which manages them favours enterprise space over community facilities.  We do not believe enterprise space should be a priority in the Granville.
·       Local people were not widely and fully consulted by the Council and South Kilburn Trust about these changes; many of us who live nearby have heard nothing about it.  And those who opposed the plans have been ignored.
·       With cuts and austerity it is  even more urgent to preserve community spaces like the Granville and its garden where people can meet, get information, services, run projects and generally come together to decide and act on improving our living conditions and the quality of our and our families’ lives.

·       It is a priority that the beautiful hall in the Granville, which has been ruined, be fully restored to its full size and community purpose.  Finding spaces to hold meetings, celebrations and other activities has been a growing problem for years now.  Many in the area complain about this lack. 
   
We oppose any housing being built on the Granville/Carlton site

·       We strongly support building council houses, which are desperately needed. But  Brent’s 11 March 2019 Report from the Strategic Director of Regeneration & Environment gave no guarantee that any of the 23 units planned for the site would be council housing. Indeed the opposite is indicated: introducing “shared ownership and/or private housing elements”.  
·       Many other housing developments are completed, underway or planned all over South Kilburn.   None of it has solved or is solving the escalating housing crisis. For example, at Peel Precinct just metres away, of the 308 homes already planned, only 42 would be “social” and are earmarked for existing Council tenants being moved out by other development.  That means in effect no new Council housing, while over 250 homes are likely to be sold or leased - more gentrification, more housing for those on high salaries, and nothing for low income families.  We suggest that those units be converted to Council housing.
·       We are told there is little public land left in Brent on which to build housing and therefore, it must be built on the Granville & Carlton Centres’ site.  Brent Council has created this crisis: between 2015 -2018, Brent Council sold 13 public spaces for about £30 million. Those sites could have been used develop Council homes. Further the Peel Precinct development and others in the area shows the Council’s low priority for Council housing.
·       We understand that the government aims to cut a further £21 million to Brent’s next budget.  These cuts which always hit the most disadvantaged communities hardest, combined with the housing crisis (homelessness, overcrowding and sub-standard unsafe homes) will only lead to more mental ill health, violence and deaths. We don’t believe the Council should accept implementing these cuts and plan around them without consulting the public who elected them.

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