Friday 31 May 2019

BREAKING: Harlesden residents vote to approve Harlesden Area Plan

Brent Council Press Release May 31st:

Harlesden residents will now have influence over developments in their local area after 89.61 per cent of voters chose to support a new neighbourhood plan. 

The Harlesden Neighbourhood plan was created by the Harlesden Neighbourhood Forum. It sets out a vision for the area and contains planning policies and community aspirations to achieve it.

The fifteen-year vision offered by the plan includes developing Harlesden whilst at the same time preserving its distinct heritage and resolving some of the challenges faced by its residents, such as rising living costs and access to employment.

The plan was supported by 1139 voters who came out to vote in a local referendum on 30 May and was rejected by 132 voters. It is now set to become a statutory document and will guide development within the area alongside other planning policies.

Cllr Tatler,Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Highways and Planning, said:
We’re working with residents to create a future fit for all and to get regeneration right. The community members of the Harlesden Neighborhood Forum put a lot of hard work into creating this neighborhood plan and they now have the support of the local residents to make it a legal document.

Brent councillor reveals enduring Tory prejudice

It used to be that Conservative politicians looked down their noses at council house tenants. The fact that in the 21st century that prejudice hasn't gone away has been revealed by Brent Tory councillor Michael Maurice.  In an email  seen by Wembley Matters he outlines reasons for his opposition to the redevelopment of the Preston Library site. They include a claim that  a four storey building will be out of keeping with the suburban neighbourhood and that the additional population will impact on parking (Maurice is a parking obsessive).

It appears however that what really gets his goat is that the flats will be 100% affordable and some or all may be social housing. He assumes that such tenants will automatically be trouble:
We also fear that the new flats may lead to an increase in anti social behaviour and whilst many of you do not live near the library, some of us do and this could seriously affect  us.
Cllr Maurice is a former member of Brent Planning Committee which has approved many extremely unaffordable housing applications...

Thursday 30 May 2019

Voting today on the Harlesden Area Plan - polling closes 10pm

From Harlesden Area Action

TODAY IS THE DAY for the VOTE on the Neighbourhood Plan!

HAA supports the Neighbourhood Plan - for more info please see this link

Eligible polling stations: John Keble Primary, Harlesden Primary, Furness Primary, Newman Catholic College (Holland Rd), All Souls Church Hall (Station Rd).

Open TODAY 30th May 7am-10pm.

You do not need to bring your polling card. If you have voted in the past local or EU elections, you are likely eligible to vote for the neighbourhood plan. If you do not live within HNF boundaries, (above) you are not. Please go to your local polling station to ask. 

The Plan (Click bottom right corner for full page version)

Wednesday 29 May 2019

Angry residents knock on Muhammed Butt's door to complain after weekend of football ends in mayhem


Residents angered by the behaviour of football fans at the weekend contacted Brent Council calling for action and some residents even turned up on Council Leader Muhammed Butt's doorstep to complain.

There were three matches, one on each day of the bank holiday, but it was theAston Villa v Derby County match on Bank Holiday Monday that was the main focus of complaints.
Photo: Blog on the Block
 Wembley Park Residents Association, in a widely circulated email said:
Yesterday’s football match was one that generated a number of complaints, worries and concerns amongst residents in both Forum House and Quadrant Court.
WPRA have received a multitude of videos and pictures as well as concerning messages but residents sent it via our WhatsApp group so we have tried to compile a list of the evidence for your perusal as it shows a lot needs to be done during such match days.
Please note that fans began arriving in the area at around 8/9am yesterday morning and the noise levels were ever increasing nearing hours before kick off so residents were extremely disturbed and felt the effects of this especially since our local Tesco remained closed for a number of hours before the match even began and Police were also called to the area but through what we have attached you can see there’s a need for a strategy that can look into local policing during match days.  
In addition, it further adds to the Wembley Park Estate charges for residents feel this should not be covered by residents on such match days as the litter and antisocial behaviour during yesterday’s Bank Holiday Monday shows why residents feel Quintain should recoup such payments directly from the FA and or Brent should subsidise our council tax (as per discussions during our meeting last week).
May you please get back to us with your thoughts on how best to address this as residents are seeking direction on how best this will be resolved so that it is not repeated in the future.
Brent Council leader Muhammed Butt responded:
I had residents calling me and knocking on my door because of the issues you mention. 
I can assure you we are looking at what happened on Monday. 
The behaviour of the fans was not acceptable and will make sure that all the relevant stakeholders are involved in trying to get to the bottom of this.  
I was sent some of the pictures and videos. 
Let us look into this and will keep you informed. 
This morning Brent Council tweeted:

To which another resident replied

Monday 27 May 2019

Apply by June 5th for Wembley Park Community Fund grants

The Wembley Park Community Fund is led by Quintain in partnership with the London Borough of Brent, Wates, McLaren, John Sisk and Son, and McAleer and Rushe. The Fund aims to make a real difference to Brent residents by encouraging community engagement, participation and place-making through funding a variety of community-led activities.


Funding is available for projects delivering within the London Borough of Brent to help address local needs under the following themes:
  • Better Places – making Brent a great place to live, work and visit
  • Better Lives – creating opportunities for and supporting education, employment and good health
  • Better Locally – ensuring local networks and services work effectively, are accessible for all and directly engage with local communities to make a Better Brent


Applicants must be locally based in the London Borough of Brent or be working with Brent residents and have an annual income of under £500,000. Organisations with an annual income of less than £100,000 will be prioritised.

Grant size

Applicants may apply for grants between £1,000 and £10,000.

How to apply

To apply to this fund, please take a look at the fund guidelines and application form guidance by clicking  below

Deadline for applications

The fund closes at midday on Monday 3rd June 2019.

Contact details

Please contact The Programmes Team at The London Community Foundation if you have any questions about your application or any queries about the Fund at or 020 7582 5117.


Sunday 26 May 2019

BREAKING: Brent European Election Result

The Brent result that will contribute to the overall London result at City Hall tonight was:

%Change 2019/14
Animal Welfare
Change UK
Green Party
Labour Party
Liberal Democrats
Brexit Party
UK European Union
Women’s Equality
-->Note percentage calculations are my own as not yet published by Brent Council
The 11 independent votes ranged from 7 to42

Total number of votes cast 69,894 (2014 72,564)

813 votes spoilt or rejected of which 595 were casting more than one vote, 215 uncertain markings and 3 voters who identified themselves.


The ward breadown will be published later but I understand Greens came second in Kensal Green and Queens Park.

In  Alperton and Sudbury there were significant nymbers of people who voted twice, once for a political party and again for one of the independent candidates.  Some people, perhaps confused with local election voting, voted for three parties.

Brent Council cabinet member Cllr Krupesh Hirani, a prospective candidate for Brent and Harrow constituency in the forthcoming GLA election, claimed on social media that Labour's performance in Brent was the best in the country.

The London-wide result:

Animal Welfare Party
Change UK – The Independent Group
Conservative and Unionist Party
Green Party
Labour Party
Liberal Democrats
The Brexit Party
UK European Union Party (UKEUP)
UK Independence Party (UKIP)
Women’s Equality Party

Sufra appeal for three Iraqi asylum seeking families in desperate need

Three Iraqi families seeking asylum turned up at Sufra this week, desperate for help. Two of the mothers are pregnant and one has just given birth prematurely.

They fled Iraq together to avoid persecution. As Asylum Seekers, they get almost no support from the government. They have nowhere safe to stay and no money to buy food – let alone nappies.

Here’s what we urgently need until they get housed (2 months) and are granted refugee status (1 year minimum):
  • Emergency Accommodation (x60 nights) = £1,200 per family
  • Baby Clothes, Blankets and Bottles (x3) = £100 per family
  • Baby Cot (x3) = £90 each
  • Pram (x3) = £120 each
  • Household Basics (x3) = £200 per family
    (Including bedding, cooking/cleaning equipment, crockery, etc.)
  • Other Essentials (x3): £300 per family
    (Including a small grant, oyster cards, a mobile phone and top-up, food parcels, etc.)
That’s about £2010 per family.

You’re welcome to donate directly to Sufra NW London here so that we can buy exactly what they need. 

Thursday 23 May 2019

Welsh Harp Half-Term Activity Day - Thursday May 30th

Join us at the Welsh Harp Environmental Education Centre for Holiday Activities!

Thursday 30th May
Pond Dipping and Mini-beast Hunt, 10.30am – 12pm
Dip in the pond to see what swims below and hunt for mini-beasts to find what creatures live in the woodland.

Shelter Building and Fire Lighting Demonstration, 1pm – 2.30pm
Build yourself a shelter in the woodland and see a fire lighting demonstration using a flint and steel.

£3 per child per activity session.

Limited spaces so book now!

What you need to know for this activity:
  • An adult must attend & supervise children throughout activities.
  • Places are limited and booking is essential, please contact us to book and also let us know if you need to cancel your booking.
  • Please pay in cash on the day. £3 per child per activity session.
  • Activities suitable for children aged 5-11 years. Children aged 4 and under who are not participating in activities are free of charge.
  • Children and adults should wear comfortable outdoor clothing that may get dirty.
To book, contact Deb Frankiewicz on:
Phone: 07711 701 694

Future of HS2 project uncertain amidst Tory turmoil

Construction News often sends me well informed articles and I think this one, received yesterday, is of particular interest:

The government confirmed earlier this week that HS2 would continue, despite a damning House of Lords economic committee report.

However, as I write this, rumours abound that the prime minister's position is uncertain once again, in the wake of another attempt to sell her EU withdrawal deal to MPs.
Unfavourable results for the Conservatives in tomorrow's European Union parliamentary elections, where the party is polling fourth according to some surveys, will just add to the pressure.

And the implications on construction could be profound.

A YouGov poll for The Times found that 57 per cent of Conservative Party members believed HS2 should be scrapped, with 32 per cent believing it should continue.
Given that these voters will likely choose the next prime minister, the future for the largest infrastructure scheme in Europe doesn’t look positive.

At least £5.5bn has already been spent on the project and firms involved have lined up workers and equipment for the works.

Bookies' favourite Boris Johnson, who announced last week he would put his name in the hat for a Tory leadership vote, is openly against HS2.

Last year Mr Johnson told The Times: “There are transport projects we should have in the north of the country that ought to take precedence over HS2.

“It’s crazy how long it takes to get east-west across the country.”

Another potential Tory leader, Andrea Leadsom, told the cabinet last year that HS2 presented poor value for money and the funding would be better spent elsewhere.
But not all leadership front-runners are opposed to the £56bn scheme.

Secretary of state for health and social care Matt Hancock is understood to have given his backing to the delivery of HS2 on the condition that there is investment in east-west transport links in addition to high-speed line.

Former Brexit minister Dominic Raab, whilst not clearly for or against HS2, is believed to want to assess if the project is value for money for the taxpayer.

And with the rumours swirling against the prime minister, the prospect of another Tory leadership contest is rising. What's certain is that the next inhabitant of Number 10 will have immense power over HS2's future.

Last week, Balfour Beatty said the workforce they had setup for its Old Oak Common station contract would be redeployed or made redundant if works didn't start soon.
If the next leader re-establishes confidence in the project, support should be parallel with a clear start date to the main civil works. 

If it were cancelled, it would be a huge blow for this industry but the money set aside for HS2 must be used on alternative infrastructure projects, which would allow the firms investing time into HS2 the ability to win work elsewhere.
Caroline Wadham, reporter, Construction News

Brent Council did not formally consult with secondary headteachers on alternative free school provision...

...Or that it what an FoI response from Brent Council to the National Education Union (NEU) seems to indicate.

At the Scrutiny Committee meeting on the free school proposal Gail Tolley, Strategic Director for Children and Young People was asked about consultation with secondary schools about the proposal and whether they were interested in running such provision themselves (extract from Wembley Matters report of the meeting LINK):
Strategic Director of Children and Young People, Gail Tolley, told Cllr Jumbo Chan that she had raised with secondary school heads the possibility of them taking on the alternative provision but they had not been interested. Those recognised by the DfE as able to set up a free school could still apply during the procurement process. Cllr Chan said that an informal discussion was not sufficient and requested evidence of a formal consultation.  Union representatives protested that they had not been consulted as educational professionals on the Council's proposal.
The NEU made the following Freedom of Information request:
We understand that local Headteachers are opposed to a Free School, and that they had initially been approached to take on Roundwood as an extension of their own school. We formally request, under FOI, copies of any correspondence relating to this.
Brent Council responded:
There has been no correspondence between the Local Authority and local Headteachers in relation to whether they had been approached to take on Roundwood as an extension of their own school. This point was confirmed at the Scrutiny Committee meeting on 9th May 2019.
 The response is ambiguously worded but suggests that the local authority did not consult on what is a far reaching proposal for both local schools and the young people concerned.

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.