Wednesday, 19 May 2021

UPDATED: Triumph for campaigners as planning application to build flats on Barham Park withdrawn



A triumphant Sudbury Town Residents Association published the above on Twitter this afternoon. The Sudbury Court Residents Association (SCRA) waged a well-researched battle including uncovering covenants to stop the building of a block of flats to replace the present modest houses. 

They deserve credit for this long-running. extremely determined, grassroots campaign  LINK which had latterly been joined by some local councillors.  

Sudbury Labour announced the withdrawal of the application on their website LINK

The painstaking work of Sudbury Court Residents Association (SCRA) can be seen in this exchange of emails that are likely to have influenced the application withdrawal.  Readers may remember that  Wembley Matters drew attention to the fact that Brent Council Leader, Cllr Muhammed Butt, appeared to have taken on the chairmanship of the Barham Park Trust Committee since its last meeting.


SCRA wrote to the Barham Park Trust Committee:

 Re: Brent Planning Application 21/1106 | Demolition of dwelling houses and erection of a four storey residential building comprising 9 self-contained flats with roof top terrace and associated access, parking and landscaping | 776 & 778 Harrow Road, Wembley


Dear Barham Park Trust Committee


I am writing on behalf of the Sudbury Court Residents Association.  We represent approximately 2800 households on the Sudbury Court and Pebworth Estates. Some our residents are located less than 850m from the site.


We wish to draw your attention to and OBJECT to the above application and we support the objection submitted by the Brent Council Member for Barnhill Ward.


In addition, we strongly feel that this will cause numerous problems for our residents, detailed below:


1.     Initial soundings of residents have been a resounding rejection of any development over and above the Covenanted limits especially as the site is 'within' the Barham Park boundary.

2.    As our residents use Barham Park for recreation and exercise, their enjoyment and even privacy will be compromised as this large building will completely spoil its view. It is the nearest park for many of our residents, so it is critical that it is preserved as such, especially as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and both physical and mental health have been affected.

3.    This development will increase congestion on an already busy road, increasing pollution and road danger.

4.    Vehicles turning into the site will increase danger for pedestrians and cause disruption to traffic flow, including buses. This is at the start of the number 18 bus route and this may delay the bus further and increase danger for pedestrians accessing the bus stop.

5.    There is no provision of delivery parking so this will either lead to obstruction of the road or footway.

6.    Car parking provision is contrary to the Council's policy on parking provision in developments.

7.     There is likely to be significant impact on wildlife, especially bats, which are a protected and rare species.

8.    Damage to the Cedar of Lebanon tree is unacceptable.

9.    There are restrictive covenants placed on the site, which forbid such a development. The covenant limits use on the two separate parts of the site (776 & 778) in each case to 1 single private dwelling houses and garage.


Councillor Butt replied that he would pass the comments on to the planning team.


SCRA responded:


My apologies as I don't think I clarified the purpose of my email to the Barham Park Trustees.


Our email was meant to have been addressed to yourself as Chair.


We wished to draw your attention to the above application in case you were not aware of it, as it would be the expectation of the SCRA that the Barham Park Trust would be lodging a strong and robust objection to the application.


Titus Barnham gifted the site to Brent in 1937, and as a Charitable Trust, it has an obligation protect the endowment.


To allow the park to be ruined by permitting the building of a residential block of flats, would be ignoring the obligations of the gift and is in direct contradiction of the restrictive covenants (inserted at the end of my email).


The roles of the Barham Park Charity LINK  are:


What the charity does:

·       Education/training

·       Arts/culture/heritage/science

·       Amateur Sport

·       Environment/conservation/heritage

·       Economic/community Development/employment


Who the charity helps:

·       The General Public/mankind


How the charity helps:

·       Provides Buildings/facilities/open Space


It does not have a role in providing/facilitating private housing.  


We are aware that errors were made when the cottages were originally built and when they were sold, I am sure that the Charity Commission have taken a dim view of the management of this gift to the people of Brent.


If the site was to be developed for the benefit of the public, eg a park cafe or other community facility, this would perhaps be acceptable, but to build a private block of flats is, in our view, a direct breach of the covenant.  


If any land is disposed of, we envisage that the Trust would seek to obtain a good market value for such a desirable site.


Councillor Butt, we trust in your role as Chair of the Board of Trustees, you will be leading a strong objection to this application.


Regards SCRA


Restrictive Covenants as filed with the Land Registry and belonging to the Barham Trust on 776 Harrow Road (778 is the same)





Restrictive covenants by the Transferee




The Transferee covenants with the Transferor pursuant to Section 16 Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1974 and Section 33 Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions Act) 1982 to observe and perform the restrictions contained in clause 12.4.2 ('The Restrictions') and it is agreed and declared that:


the benefit of this covenant is to be attached to and endure for each and every part of the Retained Land that remains unsold by the Transferor or has been sold by the Transferor (or by any person claiming through the Transferor otherwise than by a transfer on sale) with the express benefit of this covenant


the burden of this covenant is intended to bind and binds each and every part of the Property into whosoever hands it may come


an obligation in the Restrictions not to do any act or thing includes an obligation not to permit or suffer that act or thing to be done by another person




The Restrictions are the following: 


not to use the Property otherwise than as a single private dwelling house and the garage for any purpose other than as a ancillary private garage 


not to divide the Property into two or more dwellings or residential units 


not to erect or cause to be erected on the Property any building or structure whatsoever except a greenhouse or shed of not greater length than 4 metres and of not greater height than 3 metres or permit or suffer any person under the Transferor's control to do so 


not to stand or support any vehicle, commercial vehicle trailer, mobile home, caravan, trailer, cart or boat on any part of the Property, and 


not to carry out any development within the meaning of Section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 in or upon the Property 


not to park any motor vehicle on or otherwise obstruct any part of the accessway hatched yellow and hatched green or any part of the Retained Land at any time




Positive covenants by the Transferee


The Transferee covenants on behalf of itself and its successors in title with the Transferor and its successors in title to the Retained Land for the benefit of the Retained Land and each and every part of the Retained Land and with the Transferor pursuant to Section 16 Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1974 and Section 33 Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions Act) 1982




to contribute and pay within 14 days of demand (ll) fifty percent (50%) of the reasonable and proper cost of maintaining repairing and (where necessary) renewing the accessway shown hatched yellow on the Plan


(b) a fair and due proportion of the reasonable and proper cost of maintaining repairing and (where necessary) renewing sewers drains pipes cables party walls and all other structures apparatus or installations which service the Property in common with any neighbouring or adjoining property




to maintain repair and renew at all times hereafter to the satisfaction of Transferor


a good and sufficient metal palisade fence and timber fence or wall on any of the boundaries of the Property marked with ''T'' (if any) within the boundaries of the said plan.


the pathway hatched brown stippled red and the accessway hatched green stippled red on the Plan to a reasonable standard




not to transfer the Property or grant a lease of the Property or the Transferee's freehold estate in the Property or any other estate or interest in it to any person without first ensuring that the person has executed a deed directly with Transferor and its successors in title to the Retained Land for the benefit of each and every part of the Retained Land containing the covenants and provisions of clause 12.5. mutatis mutandis including this present covenant 12.5.3.





Philip Grant said...

I hope that this information is correct. The application is still showing as "live", and awaiting a decision, on Brent's planning portal website.

There are currently 141 comments shown, all of which appear to be objections. One of the most recent is from the Member of Parliament for Brent North.

We still don't know what a number of Council Officers thought of the application, as the "View Consultees Comments" section still does not display any of those comments, only the designations of the Officers or Departments who were invited to comment!

Anonymous said...

A really good day for the residents of Brent. Thank you to all who have contributed to this. Let's hope there will be no more applications.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am not so sure who runs this website but I think it is Martin & Philip. I just wanted to say thank you so much for running this website and for your contribution to Brent. A lot of what is covered here doesn’t make it onto other local news sites or the council website. Without you many people wouldn’t be able to take action in their community, or even know about it’s history. You give people information and empower them to make change. You highlight the issues and heritage of Brent almost every day. I really hope you take a moment to pat yourselves on the back because you inadvertently serve your community very well without being a civil servant( working in government or the council). I’m sure a lot of people really appreciate this website. Thank you so much and have a good day ahead!

Martin Francis said...

Thank you very much for your kind words.

Philip Grant said...

Dear Anonymous (19 May at 16:16),

Thank you very much for your comment. It is Martin who deserves the credit, as he has been editing the "Wembley Matters" blog since 2009. It is, indeed, a much more informative website about matters affecting our local communities than Brent Council's own website!

I first became aware of "Wembley Matters" back in 2012, when Martin and I, as well as hundreds of other local residents, were involved in fighting Brent Council's plans to demolish the locally listed Victorian section of Willesden Green Library, as part of the redevelopment of the 1980s Library Centre there.

It was that campaign that got me involved in planning matters, as well as local history, and Martin has kindly agreed to publish a (quite large now!) number of "guest blogs" I have written over the years since then.

Although I have become a fairly regular contributor, if you look at the right hand column you will see that Martin has an open invitation to anyone who wishes to offer a Guest Blog, on local, environmental or social justice issues, to contact him.

As you have said, the Brent community owes a great deal to Martin for all the hard work he puts in to keep us informed, and give us the opportunity to know what is going on in our borough, and to add our comments if we wish to.

Anonymous said...

I am glad that the planning application have been withdrawn, buy for how long. Everywhere I look, all I see is high rise buildings. The greens are disappointing. I blame the tall buildings for all the crimes happening in Wembley.