Save the Queensbury Campaign present their case against demolition of the pub
Mapesbury Residents' Association present their case against demolition of the pub
The developer's planning advisor and the publican present their case
No less than four local councillors from Willesden Green and Mapesbury spoke against the developer's proposal and there was a written submission by Cllr Tom Miller who could not attend. A powerful submission by Deputy Mayor, Cllr Lia Colacicco, was read out for her by Cllr Liz Dixon, with Cllr Colacicco following proceedings via the livestreaming. She argued that there had been no proper consultation by the developer, merely an exhibition with no discussion, it was an off-the-peg design that would not win any prizes and emphasised the Planning Inspector's comment that 'less than substantial harm' occasioned by a development, does not equate to a less than sub-substantial objection.
The most telling submissions were made by Ian Elliott of the Save The Queensbury campaign and a spokesperson for the Mapesbury Residents Association who clearly had hundreds of people behind them. They had done their research and mastered their brief which was not always the case with planning officers who were left leafing through their numerous documents in some desperation.
Perhaps the most pathetic moments were when the developer's planning agent tried to claim that there WAS a kitchen in the plans and officers tried to indicate a tiny space on the projected plan, unmarked, which they said was a kitchen space; and when officers tried to justify that a black 'tin roof' on the new building would somehow both be in keeping with, and enhance, the area.
The combination of strong community campaigning winning the support of councillors led to victory.
This morning the Save the Queensbury Campaign said:
We’ve asked Brent Council leader Muhammed Butt and Chief Executive Carolyn Downs to review officer conduct running up to & including the meeting last night. Misleading content in reports, biased extracts, incorrect verbal info given to councillors brought local government & planning into disrepute.
Another London Road resident lamented that her neighbours were not interested enough to get themselves organised and that the area felt neglected by ward councillors and their MP Barry Gardiner. A new development at the end of London Road would add to congestion and crowding and she declared vehemently that after what had happened she wanted to move out of Wembley.
The architect for the development admitted that few people had turned up at the London Road consultation and that this was a continuing problem with people only getting involved when it is too late.
Officers did not mention that many of the trees that will be cut down to make way for the housing development have Tree Preservation Orders on them but it appears that when the development is on Council owned land little can be done to stop the felling. Planning officers accepted the claim that planting saplings on the estate will make up for the loss of mature trees.
The loss of green space which is both a SINC (Site of Importance for Nature Conservation) and a wildlife corridor is a worrying precedent when we have a council desperate to build much needed housing but with a blind spot regarding the environment and heritage. Officers accepted that a few bird and bat boxes was sufficient mitigation for the loss.
The Save The Queensbury Campaign have now published their own account of the meeting HERE