Brent is lucky to have a number of waterways including the Grand Union Canal, the canal feeder, River Brent, Wealdstone Brook and Wembley Brook plus a number of others that are now mostly underground but reappear above ground after torrential rain.
New developments often boast of the amenity value of the waterways but as the situation in Alperton demonstrates the amenity value is rapidly devalued if the area is not regularly cleaned and properly maintained.
In a guest blog a resident of the Hyde Housing Estate in Stonebridge describes their experience:
Residents of Hyde Housing estate in Stonebridge Park, NW10, are facing an issue with a canal feeder that runs along the Orchid Mews, NW10, and is inside Hyde Housing Association’s estate and next to benches and gardens where residents are supposed to enjoy the sun.
The canal is not maintained or cleaned at all, and a large amount of litter and animal carcases is what we face daily. The canal’s banks are also full of rubbish. If you chose to enjoy the sun with your family using the provided benches, or if you want to open your window for fresh air, you will need to put up with the canal’s disgusting view.
We contacted the Canal and River Trust who confirmed that the responsibility falls with the Hyde Housing Association who took on the responsibility for 125 years (I assume under current land lease). Nevertheless, Hyde Housing have been unable to accept responsibility and maintain the canal. As a result, rubbish and dead animals is the everyday reality for us:
From London South East Canal and River Trust
We use three metal grates to prevent rubbish from entering the canal culverts.
However, after talking to colleagues in the area, I can confirm that the Canal and River Trust doesn't own the feeder. The feeder belongs to the Hyde Housing Association.
Hyde have never responded to our requests for comments or help and no any action have been taken. They are acting irresponsibly and in breach of their service agreement with the residents, who are paying service charges for cleaning. I assume they are in breach of their lease with the Canal Trust or the Brent Council as the leaseholders of the land the canal is in.
The London Borough of Brent has also been unable to help. We have been is several discussions with Cllr Promise Knight and other councillors from Stonebridge Ward who has been unable to help. We only hear promises but there has never been a single action from them.
Why cannot Hyde Housing Association accept responsibility and maintain the canal, keeping it in an acceptable condition? Why are residents paying service charges for cleaning but still they have to face this disgusting canal?