Tuesday 31 August 2021

Brent’s “secret” Council Housing projects – now in the public domain!

 Guest post by Philip Grant

A month ago, Martin published the above map, from a report to Brent’s July Cabinet meeting, which included the locations of a number of the Council’s “infill” housing projects which were ‘not yet in public domain’.


I believe that our Council should be open with residents, especially those who will be most directly affected, about what its plans are (and I will say more about that later!). I added a comment to Martin’s 30 July blog, saying that I had asked for some information on the four ‘not yet in public domain’ schemes in Fryent Ward, where I live. 


I have now received a reply to that request, so am writing this to share that information with you. If you know anyone who lives in, or near, any of these estates, please bring this article to their attention, so that they are aware of what may be in store for their home. The Council estates mentioned below are Campbell Court, Elvin Court, Westcroft Court, Broadview (and Gauntlett Court in Sudbury).


Aerial view of Campbell Court, Church Lane, Kingsbury and surrounding area. (Source: Google Maps)


The four three-storey blocks of flats (diagonal to Church Lane) which make up Campbell Court were built around 1950, as part of Wembley’s post-war Council housing programme. They were named after a Second World War Mayor of the borough, Malcolm Campbell. As you can see, the compact site includes grassy areas and trees, pairs of senior citizens’ bungalows between each block and small access drives for deliveries and parking.


Like all of the four Fryent Ward ‘not yet in public domain’ schemes, I was told that: ‘at present, the project is at the Feasibility stage’, and that: ‘no consultation has been undertaken at this stage.’ “Feasibility” implies that they are looking at whether the project is possible (either structurally or financially), but Brent’s Cabinet have been told that 97 new homes could be delivered on this small estate. That suggests Council Officers already have a pretty firm idea of what they have in mind, even though they have not yet let residents there know what it is, or given them the chance to have their say!


The information I have now been given is that the Council are looking at a ‘mixture of rooftop development and infill’, with ‘1-2 stories added to Campbell [Court]’. Infill would inevitably mean the loss of some of the green space and mature trees around the existing homes. It would also mean more residents sharing a smaller amenity space. 


Building an extra one or two storeys onto the existing blocks may well be structurally possible. However, it would mean (quite apart from the disruption to the lives of existing residents during the construction work) some overshadowing and overlooking of the 1930s suburban homes in Boycroft Avenue, whose gardens back onto the estate. 


Gauntlett Court flats under construction, June 1950. (Brent Archives online image 3850)


Although it is in Sudbury, not Fryent, I will also mention the ‘not yet in public domain’ scheme for Gauntlett Court here. This Wembley Council estate was also built in 1950, with blocks to the same design as those at Campbell Court, and it too was named after a wartime Mayor, Herbert Gauntlett. You can read more about it in Sudbury – Then and Now (no.20).


The expected number of new homes on this site is 120. There is a small “green” between some of the blocks which could be “at risk” if the Council’s plans include “infill”, but otherwise it seems likely that “rooftop development” would be involved, adding one or more storeys to the existing blocks.


Elvin Court, Church Lane, Kingsbury.


Like Campbell Court, Wembley Council’s Elvin Court flats were built on a narrow strip of land alongside Church Lane. You can see the grass verge and access road (for deliveries and emergency vehicles) in front of the three-storey blocks, and there is a similar width behind them, before a line of trees which separates the estate from houses in Sycamore Grove.


These flats were built in the late 1950s / early 1960s, and named after Sir Arthur Elvin, a Freeman of the Borough of Wembley who had died in 1957. Some of the first tenants were families transferred from temporary “pre-fab” homes which had been built around the edge of Silver Jubilee Park in 1946.


The map above shows 40 new homes expected to be provided at Elvin Court. The information I have received says that this will be through ‘a mixture of rooftop development and infill’, and that, like Campbell Court, it would involve ‘1-2 stories added’. Once again: ‘no consultation has been undertaken at this stage’.


Maisonettes built by Wembley Council c.1960, at 353-359 Kingsbury Road.


The next Council estate where some new homes are proposed (but ‘not yet in public domain’) was actually part of Wembley’s post-War “pre-fabs” programme. In 1945, the Council had requisitioned spare land belonging to the Victoria Dance Hall in Kingsbury Road, and erected temporary factory-made bungalows there. These “pre-fabs” housed families until the late 1950s, and when they were demolished, Wembley Council built some attractive two-storey yellow-brick maisonettes, to the east of what had then become the Ritz Ballroom.


Development of the rest of the site was held up, because “the Ritz” was purchased by National Car Parks Ltd. From 1961, they submitted several planning applications for a petrol station and some housing. After a public inquiry in 1963, they were allowed to build their garage and car showroom (now the site of Kwikfit). As part of a land-swap deal, Wembley Council built a nine-storey block of 2-bedroom flats, and six 3-bedroom maisonettes in three-storey blocks, where the dance hall and its social club had stood. These were called Westcroft Court, after the old name of the field (most of which now forms part of Roe Green Park).


Westcroft Court, Kingsbury Road, opposite Roe Green Park.


The scheme which Brent Council are now looking at would add 16 new homes at Westcroft Court. I have been told that they do not intend to add any extra storeys to the main block (this may be because they already receive a good income from the mobile phone masts on its roof!), but that they are looking at part demolition and redevelopment on this small estate. 


The last of the proposed Fryent Ward ‘not yet in public domain’ schemes would be at Broadview, part of another Wembley Borough Council housing development. This small estate of semi-detached family homes was built around 1960, on a triangle of land between Fryent Way and the Bakerloo (now Jubilee) Line, just south of Kingsbury Station. Some of the original tenants were transferred here from the Pilgrims Way “pre-fab” estate, 114 factory-made aluminium bungalows erected after the Second World War as a temporary solution to the post-war housing shortage.


This proposal would be an “infill” development, for just three homes, described to me as ‘on garage site’. I have marked this site on the aerial view below, and you will see how small it is, tucked away behind the end houses in the road, and bordered by the tube line and the edge of Fryent Country Park. There is only a narrow access road to the site, between the side of a house and a wooded area of the Country Park, bordering the Gaderbrook stream, and that also provides access to the rear gardens (some with garages) of at least four homes. Space for any new homes here would be very restricted, and both the Country Park and the railway bank are local nature reserves, where the existing trees and bushes should not be destroyed.


Aerial view of the proposed site at Broadview, off Fryent Way, Kingsbury. (Source: Google Maps)


Surely the people affected by these proposed schemes should be consulted before the projects get “firmed-up” any further, and their views taken into account? We have seen recently, with its Kilburn Square housing proposals, the mess that Brent Council can get itself into by not consulting properly. 


In that case, it appears Council officers had already decided how many extra homes they could build on an existing Council estate, and that it would be acceptable to reduce the “green space” used by existing residents, while greatly increasing the number of people who would need to share it. This was before any “consultation”, which was then only about “design details”, not whether the scheme was one that made good sense! There is a danger that the Council will make the same mistake over its ‘not yet in public domain’ proposals.


Brent does need to provide more homes for people on its waiting list, but it should also take into account the needs of existing residents. The Council needs to be open and honest about what it has in mind, before any detailed proposals are made. It should discuss with those living in homes on its estates (who will include leaseholders who actually own those homes) how best extra homes could be provided. It should listen, and be prepared to think again and compromise. It should not just bulldoze through plans which might look good on paper in the Civic Centre, but would be detrimental to our borough’s community if actually built.

Philip Grant.


Editor's note: Yesterday the Guardian published this story when mentions the Kilburn Square development previously covered on Wembley Matters:

Protests grow against new council homes on green spaces in London


Monday 30 August 2021

'Elusive' butterfly spotted in Fryent Country Park by Conservation Group


Brown Hairstreak butterfl

Barn Hill Conservation Group in its latest Newsletter  report some good news in this summer which has not been kind to butterlies and moths. On 14th August, on the Beane Hill Butterfly Transect study, a butterfly was resting on a plant and opened its wings. It was unmistakenly a female Brown Hairstreak – the first adult ever seen at Fryent Country Park. This confirms the presence of the Brown Hairstreak at the Park following the first record of eggs on New Year’s Day 2019. The Brown Hairstreak is an elusive butterfly to observe and has only recently moved into North and West London, and depends on blackthorn for the larval food. 

The Brown Hairstreak is on the "at risk" species list, because it relies on hedgerows. Having it in our local Country Park, which has deliberately retained old hedgerows, managed by BHCG, is a great story for a holiday weekend.

Meanwhile Harry Mackie  has reported on the website Next Door two  sightings in  in his Queens Walk garden,  10 minute's walk from the borders of the park.


Mint Moth

Holly Blue butterfly

Saturday 28 August 2021

Get behind the Granville Community Kitchen Triathlon Team fundraiser - if you can keep up with them!


The Granville Community Kitchen is so important to our local area that Oi, Michelle and Georgea wanted to raise awareness and funds for their work.


They have formed a Triathlon Relay team to train and take part in Blenheim Palace Triathlon on 11th Sept.


This involves training to do a 800 metres open-water swim (Oi), a 13km bike ride (Michelle) and 5.4km run (Georgea). They will be joined by an amazing 189 people from across our community, fundraising for vital local causes.

Please sponsor and encourage our team on this page


Granville Community Kitchen is run by the community for the community. The kitchen offer the South Kilburn community a place for repair, resilience, resistance and safety, while the Community Garden educates local people in how to grow food. The Kitchen also provides food aid to hundreds of people every week beyond south Kilburn.


More about the 189-strong Kensal Tri Team is HERE

Chicken shops galore for Wembley as two new shops greet pupils returning to school next week despite planning policy


New shop on Bridge Road

Secondary school students returning to school next week will find two new chicken shops within a the few hunded yards of Ark Academy and the bus stops that are used by pupils from Preston Manor, Michaela and the Lycee, bringing the total to 6.

The new shop above is particularly problematic because it is at the bus stop that was moved at the time of the reconnection of Bridge Road and North End Road. The pavement there is narrow and the single bus stop serves the 83, 182, 206, 223 and 297 bus routes resulting in large crowds. Imagine the chicken licking crowds of school children mixing with the public at peak times while local families with push chairs and several childre try to get home from primary school. Not very Covid secure...  I have asked Brent Council and TfL to move the bus stop to its old position on a wider pavement away from shops.

Another chicken shop serves the 245 bus route.

Clearly issues are raised about Brent Council's attempts to tackle teenage obesity and its policy to limit fast food outlets near schools.

A Brent JSNA report (2019-20) stated that for the last 5 years Brent had a higher proportion of obese children leaving primary school than the London and National average. These statistics (note 4 years old) are stark. What would have been the impact of lockdown, I wonder?:

 The report notes as an action:

Red stars denote fast food chicken outlets

Grand Parade, Forty Avenue

Sam's on the corner of Forty Avenue and Bridge Road

A new outlet on Bridge Road on the site previously occupied by Nat West Bank

One of the earlier Bridge Road chicken shops

Wok 'n Roe on Bridge Road predates Ark Academy by decades but has a line in spicy and non-spicy chicken and chips as well as other dishes

The latest Bridge Road chicken shop - opened just this week


A little further away but heavily frequented by school children at the end of the school day is McDonalds at ASDA. McDonalds controversially replaced the ordinary restaurant some years ago. It is clearly marketed at children.

Note: I have asked Brent Planning and Brent Public Health officers for clarification.

Friday 27 August 2021

Hundreds rally to support of popular Harrow councillor Pamela Fitzpatrick, threated with expulsion by the Labour Party.


Pamela Fitzpatrick campaigned to save Belmont Health Centre from closure in 2019 (more HERE)

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition LINK in a single day in support of a popular Harrow Labour councillor.


The petition in support of Labour Councillor for Headstone South, Pamela Fitzpatrick, was launched by local Labour members when she was threatened with expulsion from Labour this week. The bizarre reason for expulsion was for giving an interview to a publication (Socialist Appeal) in May 2020, support for which was banned by Labour more than a year later in July 2021.  A similar move  based on of what appears to be retrospective guilt by association, has been made against Pete Firmin of Hampstead and Kilburn Labour Party .


The petition attracted a huge response when it was shared on Wednesday 25 August and is still growing. It can be signed HERE .


Today  Fitzpatrick announced on Twitter: 


In respect of the Labour Party threat to auto exclude me from the party for giving an interview in 2020 to Socialist Appeal. I have now instructed Solicitors who have today written to the Labour party to put them on notice of potential legal proceedings.


Elected as a councillor for Headstone South in 2014 and re-elected with an increased majority in 2018,  Pamela also stood to be Labour MP for Harrow East in the 2019 General Election, attracting hundreds of volunteers who came to Harrow from across and beyond London to canvass for her. In an effort to defeat Bob Blackman, the Green Party candidate Emma Wallace stood down and demonstrated her respect for her opponent saying,  ‘Whilst there are a number of differences between the Labour party and the Green Party, we believe Pamela Fitzpatrick is a progressive voice, one that is committed to working with the local Harrow East community and standing up for all their best interests.’


Pamela Fitzpatrick was  recently elected to Labour’s Women’s Committee and is well known nationally across the Labour movement. Her interview to Socialist Appeal in May 2020 was given when she stood to be General Secretary for Labour.


In addition to her political work, she set up Harrow Law Centre and continues to work there supporting people in often desperate situations.  LINK


Cllr Maxine Henson, councillor for Roxbourne ward in South Harrow, said:


Pamela is a very caring and hardworking councillor who has done a lot for her community. It would be a great loss for residents and the Labour Party if she were to be expelled.


Cllr Fitzpatrick is not the only member at risk from Labour’s recent rule changes banning support for groups deemed to be ‘left’. Respected British director Ken Loach, who has spent decades making films exposing social injustice and campaigning, was also recently controversially expelled by the Labour Party in similar circumstances.



This petition was started by members of Harrow West Constituency Labour Party (CLP)

We understand that Pamela Fitzpatrick, a member of our CLP and Labour Councillor for the Headstone South ward in the London Borough of Harrow, has been threatened with "auto-exclusion" from membership of the Labour Party by the party's Compliance Unit on the grounds that she is allegedly a supporter of Socialist Appeal, an organisation that was proscribed by Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) in July 2021.

The Compliance Unit's evidence for Pamela being a "supporter" of Socialist Appeal is, in its entirety, that she gave an interview to Socialist Appeal in May 2020. This is not a valid basis for exclusion, for two reasons.

First, the conduct that may amount to "support" for a proscribed organisation, as defined by the NEC, is clearly set out in the updated Labour Party Complaints Policy (https://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Labour-Party-Complaints-Policy.pdf Pamela is not alleged to have done any of these things listed there. Giving an interview to Socialist Appeal does not amount to any of those things. Therefore the Compliance Unit has provided no evidence that Pamela has supported Socialist Appeal as defined by the NEC.

Second, the interview took place more than a year before the NEC made the decision to proscribe Socialist Appeal. Anything a member is alleged to have done at a time when an organisation is not proscribed cannot possibly be a basis for auto-exclusion on grounds of support for that organisation.

Pamela's conduct did not amount to supporting Socialist Appeal as defined by NEC, and even if it had, it took place at a time when Socialist Appeal was not proscribed. Therefore there are no grounds on which to auto-exclude Pamela from membership of the Labour Party. The Compliance Unit's purported action against her is contrary to Labour Party rules, the decision of the NEC and the principles of natural justice.

In the light of the above, we urge the Compliance Unit to immediately cease its purported action against Pamela and confirm in writing that she will not be auto-excluded from Labour membership.

Thursday 26 August 2021

Gaynor Lloyd challenges proposal to consider amending the restrictive covenant on development of 776/778 Harrow Road in Barham Park

Gaynor Lloyd sent this comment on my earlier post on the possible removal of the restrictive covenant on 776/778 Harrow Road, the houses in Barham Park that were the subject of a controverial planning application to demolish them and build a block of flats in their place. LINK

As ever, thank you for highlighting a point of great local interest. The Trust Committee  has commented in the past about how much of the Council’s resources in staff time is taken up administering the Barham Trust. Of course, the site is complex with various lettings and maintenance issues and a building crying out for repair. It is a pity the Trust was unsuccessful in its recent NCIL bid. Perhaps it was hoping for  a windfall from “developers” instead. 


I wonder, however,  what time (and possible expenditure on advice) will be given to consideration in principle of this application to the First Tier Tribunal to get the covenant lifted/modified. And then of course, independent advice on costs, valuation aspects, timing, overall negotiating position and even choice of “developers”.


Leaving aside whether this is appropriate, would such an application be fully funded by these “developers” ? How do you choose which? And  what are the prospects? It has now been many years since I was in practice but I can’t see a snowball in hell’s chance  of the Tribunal finding the covenant is obsolete  - even  just on the substantial evidence of the huge  and demonstrable level of opposition to the recent Planning application. Including, very vocally,  by local (& other)  Labour Councillors and our local MP. 


The most concerning point is that it appears to be a  proposal that the Barham Trust (or a developer with the approval of the Barham Trust) applies to lift the covenant the Trust imposed for the protection of the Park - and which the purchaser accepted, paying a price appropriate to the limited use. The only apparent "benefit for the Trust" being getting money in from this queue of developers. (I was only aware of the current landowner’s interest but you live and learn.) I wonder what consultation there has been with the local Councillors or even Park users. 


The Charity Commission provides a useful "Councillors' Guide :to a Council's role as Charity Trustee." https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/351608/council_as_charity_trustee_overview.pdf


This interesting publication outlines why Local Authorities make such eminently suitable trustees of gifted assets of land - "rooted in the local community; open and transparent in their dealings; highly accountable for their actions." 


The Guide also says: "Depending on the size and circumstances of the charity, it may make sense for a committee of councillors to be allocated this task. It must not be forgotten, however, that responsibility continues to rest with the whole council."


Planning (as a council function) is separate from the business of council as charitable trustee. Nonetheless, by way of background, the Trust Committee is referred to the withdrawn proposal to build a block of flats in the Park..The Committee is not, however,  referred to the large and sustained public objection from residents and statutory consultees alike. Bearing in mind that the charity's objects for Barham Park are "to preserve the same for the recreation of the public in such manner and subject to such regulations in all respects as the Council may from time to time think proper ", the Committee is asked  to "provide a steer as to how  such re-development proposals, which include seeking to amend the terms of the restrictive covenant, should be considered in the future as the site appears to be attracting the interest of developers".  


Last time I looked, Barham Park was not a "development site"; it is a charitable asset entrusted to the Council on particular trusts. The benefit of the restrictive covenant is an asset of the charity. If the Trust Committee is asked to consider that asset's disposal, shouldn't the guidance of the Charity Commission be considered first? The Charity Commission might suggest that the views of the beneficiaries be considered; even if the Charity Commission doesn't, wouldn't the "whole council" acting for their residents? If any of these considerations have been thought about, it's not on the face of the report.


Despite appearances to the contrary, I really don't want to spend my life moaning to public bodies. However, if the Trust Committee decides this is a good wheeze, I guess I'll just have to think about sharpening my quill and raising with the Charity Commission both the unpopular proposal to  lift the restrictive covenant to facilitate a development within Barham Park but, even more immediately, the suggestion of  the Committee delegating " a decision to officers in future as to whether to amend the restrictive covenant in respect of 776-778 Harrow Road and on what terms" . As the Charity Commission Councillors' Guide says: "While ongoing management may be delegated to officers, responsibility for  decision-making and oversight rests with the councillors". 


For me, this proposal goes to the heart of  the charity's objects. There is overwhelming and recent evidence of widespread, local opposition to the very idea of redevelopment on the Park - let alone that - borrowing words from the Report  " reaching agreement to amend the restricting covenants on that property" would be "for the benefit of the Trust".  

Marley Walk Residents' Association appeal for expert help in opposing building of block of flats on Willesden Green Mosque car park


The Marley Walk Estate is tucked away beside the Metropolitan and Jubilee railway line  in Willesden Green with only one road at the end of Station Parade, Lennon Road, leading to the estate.

People on the estate are aghast at plans by the Willesden Green (Brent Central) Mosque  to build a four storey block of 21 flats, with a double basement, on the mosque car park next the the Pakistan Community Centre on Lennon Road, which will overlook the estate's Elvis Road. Such is the opposition to the plans  Marley Walk Residents Association are appealing for a expert on planning to come forward to help them prepare their case against the development. They are willing to pay for advice CONTACT.

The developer describes their proposal:

The proposal is for the erection of a new building with access to the building off Lennon Road and provides 2 levels of underground parking and parking on the ground floor for a total of 48 car parking spaces to serve the mosque replacing the existing 48 parking space on site as well as secure parking for 42 cycle spaces.

There is a provision of three floors of residential apartments on the ground floor, first, second and third floor providing 7  one bedroom apartments, 7  two bedroom units and 7 no. three bedroom apartments along with a communal roof garden.

Each flat comprises an open plan lounge/kitchen diner, bedrooms and bathroom as well as private balconies accessed via the open plan living area (excluding caretakers flat). The balconies have been designed to provide shelter and privacy from neighbouring properties.

The proposed development also includes lifts and stair cores which provides access to each floor within the building, including the basement car parks. There is a provision for two lifts – one for residents to access their flats and the roof top amenity space from the car park and the second lift for the users of the car park from the basement levels to ground floor level.

The roof top amenity area comprises of a decked seating area with walking routes interspersed with green areas and a pergola in the centre of the amenity space is also proposed. The amenity space on the roof terrace measures a total of 506m².

The housing, apart from one flat on the ground floor reserved for the Mosque caretaker, is described as 'affordable/social' but details regarding rents are not given. A number of housing associations are listed as possible managers of the property.  The developer, apart from arguing that the housing will be a community benefit, also suggests that the development with a double basement and a ground floor car  park (which includes the caretaker's flat in a corner) addresses long standing car parking problems.


 Brent officers covering Policy and Transport have submitted critical Consultee comments:

Policy Comment: In summary, whilst the proposed residential use of the site is supported in increasing the efficient use of land in conjunction with its existing community facility, there are some policy concerns with this application. Most significantly this is around the provision of an amount of car parking on site which has not been sufficiently justified. In addition there are concerns about the design of the scheme, particularly at ground floor whereby vehicle entrances and bin stores create inactive frontage. FULL PAPER



Transport Comment: This proposal should be resisted, on the grounds that the applicant has failed to demonstrate that the proposed car park for the mosque complies with Brent Council’s parking standards or is required to meet a transport need that cannot be met by other forms of transport, contrary to Policy DMP12 of the adopted Development Management Policies 2016. FULL PAPER

At the time of writing there were 58 submissions on the Brent Council Planning Portal. 33 in support, 24 objections and 1 neutral comment. The objections tended to be very local and the supporters spread further afield. The supporters' comments were shorter than several of the more detailed objections. Below is the one neutral statement  and one each from a supporter and objector:


The present car park on the left and mosque on the right


A block of flats will make a difference to the area but the real issue is the parking problems generated by the mosque. But although the proposed flats will be car free this still needs to be managed. In particular the residents of Marley Walk are concerned about the access to their estate being blocked by illegally parked vehicles on Lennon Road, which is the only road into the estate and the only access by emergency vehicles.

The refuse plan does not identify an area for bulky item storage or food waste. There are already flytipping hotspots on the Marley Walk estate so how the occupiers of the new flats will get rid of bulky items must be addressed. And clarification on the food waste disposal, individual bins or a communal bin. (Albeit these are not popular)

A loading bay area should be identified on Lennon Road for deliveries to the new block. This is to prevent Lennon Road becoming blocked. Some of the current parking bays could be changed to a loading bay.

The skyline will change if the flats are built. But given the journey of the sun will have result in some reduced sunlight. This will impact on the houses at the entrance of Marley Walk and the rear gardens of Riffel Road in particular. Lennon Road may feel safer as it will be more overlooked by the new flats. Also there are claims of people currently misusing the car park so this will stop..

If residents are not to have access to the car parking areas then access to the flats from the car parking areas must be secure so that non-residential car drivers cannot access the communal areas of the flats.

It is one thing for individual residents to drive in/out of a car park but a mass exodus of cars at the end of an event could be disruptive to residents. There must be adequate sound insulation so that cars in the parking areas cannot be heard from the residential flats when they leave the site. There must also be no light penetration from headlights into residential properties or communal areas or surrounding properties.

The Affordable Housing Statement and Statement of Community Involvement states "....the proposed car park will provide much needed private parking for the community when visiting the Mosque. As a result, the proposed stresses that the current uncontrolled parking has on the surrounding streets will be removed." I disagree. The mosque has a capacity of 1k plus. The parking pressures are experienced by residents on many of the surround streets in CPZ zone MW and GB as well as the Marley Walk estate. Residents just grit their teeth on Friday and put up with cars parked on double yellow lines, across drives and on drives. And access to Marley Walk has been blocked by cars parked on the Lennon Road pavement / double yellow line making access by emergency vehicles impossible. Access/egress by residents of Marley Walk and delivery vehicles is also problematic due o the parking issues.

The Car Park Management Plan states at 2.2 "During the site visit it was observed that illegal and irresponsible parking occurs on the surrounding highway network due to the high numbers of people attending BCM." There are photos illustrating this on Lennon Road and Station Parade but any street corner with a double yellow could have been used. Illegal parking on street corners extends to Melrose Avenue.

A councillor from another ward arranged for bollards to be installed on the Lennon Road pavement outside the mosque. However this has merely narrowed the pavement and not resolved the parking issues.

The mosque car park is open to anyone to use and is frequently used by visitors to the Pakistan Community Centre. They have events running into the late evening. Some people use the car park when they travel from Willesden Green station. Use of the car park by the PCC must be incorporated into the car park management plan else it will lead to on-street parking issues.

The open access to the car parking spaces should cease and access should be managed at all times. 24/7, 365 days.

The parking bays in Lennon Road are invisible to passing motorists so are only used by drivers who know they are there. Often the bays are empty. To keep the road clear for access to Marley Walk the bays should be removed or converted to disabled parking bays, a loading bay for the new flats or bike storage.

The membership of the mosque now has older members and this has to be acknowledged. Many are disabled and cannot walk long distances. Many will be unable to walk from the car park. But often they do not drive to the mosque themselves. There should be better utilisation of taxi firms by mosque users. And drop off points outside the mosque marked out, albeit this may mean the removal of the parking bays on Lennon Rod.

To stop drivers unable to enter the car park in the new development driving into the Marley Walk estate or doing 3-point turns there should be a turning circle at the end of Lennon Road where it meets Elvis Road. At mosque times traffic marshalls should be on duty at the junction of Lennon Road / Station Parade to prevent cars entering Lennon Road unless they have a parking space booked or have a legitimate reason for accessing Marley Walk.

The parking provision in the new development will not resolve the parking problems generated by the mosque A new audit of where the mosque users who drive there come from should be undertaken. The submitted survey was done in 2020 which is not a typical year given the pandemic. A full traffic survey and transport management plan must be done, agreed and implemented before the building can be occupied.

The Travel Audit document in the planning submission is inadequate. 2020 was not a typical year for mosque usage. People who arrive early get a space in the car park. Those who arrive late park on double yellow lines etc. Evidently announcements are made requesting people not to park on double yellow lines or across drives but this clearly bas no impact.

The people who arrive early are likely to be the people who pre-book a space in the new car park. Action must be taken against those who arrive late and park on the street. Parking enforcement is non-existent as it would likely require police presence. I have been verbally challenged whilst taking photos of the parking and it is obvious I am not a parking attendant. A new Travel Plan must be undertaken to establish where the latecomers drive from.

Often the car park is used by the Pakistan Community Centre. If access is agreed by the building owners the use of the parking in the new block by the PCC must be incorporated in the transport management plan.

A parking plan is required for the construction period, both for mosque users and for builders lorries.

Whilst construction is underway there will be no car park. There must be a planning condition for a plan for where the cars that currently use the car park will park And lessons learnt from this period of time should be incorporated into a new travel plan.



For several months past, I have worked at the mosque vaccination centre queues and admin within the vaccine centre. Never have I ever had an issue with any of this. Whilst managing the queues allowed me to observe this site and all traffic movements, including those during Friday prayers.

The site at present consists of an open space offering, somewhat disorganised, car parking ancillary to the mosque, together with surrounding rough grass and scrub, together with a 6-track railway line at rear. It is a most unprepossessing spectacle.

Having inspected the deposited plans and elevations, I have no doubt that the proposed residential block will hugely improve the visual aspects of this location, without adversely impacting on the appearance or light of adjoining premises

I understand that some local residents are concerned at the car parking situation in Station Parade and Lennon Road but my, extended, direct observation does not bear out those concerns.

It is true that, on each occasion I was present, an undue concentration of worshippers' vehicles existed during some 90 to 120 minutes around Fridays' midday prayers. At other times - my shifts included Monday and Thursday evenings as well as Friday and Saturday daytimes - there was no traffic congestion, with even the existing car park no more than half full.

Having read details of the car parking provision, and limitation, intended, together with the submitted Travel Plan, and noting the proposal for a parking superintendent to be supplied by the mosque, I have no doubt but that the present traffic problems and any associated with the proposed development can be resolved and that the current development also is within the Tall buildings act of Brent (sic) as it is only 4 floors high.
I have absolute no problem with this development as it will be an excellent development for the area to clean up the local area for both the local residents and the religious visitors in a time when religion is often frowned upon and ignored.


We oppose the proposed plans on four main objections outlined in detail below.

Objection 1: inadequate parking management

The car parking management plan (CPMP) prepared in support of the planning application acknowledges that congested on-street parking due to insufficient spaces in the current car park (currently 50 spaces) is a chronic issue due to usage by Brent Central Mosque (BCM) attendees, particularly for Friday prayers as well as other religious events. This is particularly the case for Riffel Road, which is reduced to single file usage, despite being used as a through-road for the surrounding area. Resultingly there is considerable disruption (both traffic, noise, and air pollution) caused by the overspill.

Firstly, the newly proposed car park of 48 spaces remains highly likely to be insufficient for current demand given that this is a decrease from existing capacity of the car park (50 spaces). Given the insufficient nature of current parking capacity and illegal/ irresponsible parking as noted in the CPMP, it is also highly probable that current demand may be an underestimate.

The Travel Plan projects a maximum of 600 visitors to BCM and given current car usage this relates to over 300 individuals including single use journeys and car sharing. Car sharing is unlikely to be feasible nor popular in current/future circumstances given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (which is likely to remain endemic in the population). Even if car sharing is taken up by the majority of car users, the proposed car park will do nothing to abate the parking issue it is trying to address, as the proposals indicate a decrease in the number of parking spaces. Furthermore we note that the estimated numbers (max 600 visitors) is a considerable decrease from the 1000 to 1500 estimated attendance for Friday prayer and other peak times as noted previously and clarification of realistic attendance is needed.

Secondly, the 21 residential flats are going to be sold 'car free'. Residents of new purpose-built developments are more likely to own a car than London residents as a whole (TfL report, 2012). In absence of allocated parking within the basement car park, residents will have to resort to using on-street parking therefore exacerbating the overcrowding and parking issues noted in the CPMP for Riffel Road and the surrounding area. There is also no indication of how this car free policy would be enforced among residents.

Thirdly, the proposed plans will not relieve the heavy congestion and traffic in the surrounding residential area including Riffel Road as BCM users arrive and leave the area. Therefore the congestion, noise pollution, and air pollution for the surrounding residential area including Riffel Road will remain the same, or will get worse.

Finally and relatedly, the proposal includes ten fast charging electric vehicle charging points. The provision of these points could draw more traffic towards the area including Riffel road given that they will represent the largest cluster of fast charging points for electric car users in the local area (for current electric charging points see: https://www.zap-map.com/live/).

Objection 2: loss of privacy and overlooking

The proposed four-storey building presents a serious loss of privacy and high risk of overlooking for residents in multiple properties living along Riffel Road. This is based on the following:

The height of the proposed development is four-storeys, which is substantially higher than the surrounding area (mostly two-storey buildings).

The large ceiling to floor windows on the north side of the proposed development will mean that gardens and rear windows of multiple Riffel Road properties will be clearly visible. This affects multiple households given that several Riffel Road buildings are converted flats.
The proposed rooftop garden will further risk loss of privacy in the gardens and households of the Riffel Road properties given the elevation.

Objection 3: overshadowing and loss of light

The proposed four-storey building will create a significant risk of looming and overshadowing. There are no nearby buildings of such a height, with the vast majority of properties in the area being two-storeys high. Moreover, the nearby three-storey properties on Lennon Road have their impact further reduced by the fact they stand at a lower position relative to sea level than the current car park. In summary, the proposed four-storey development will be considerably out of the pattern of developments and relative heights of the surrounding buildings; this significantly risks overshadowing.

Objection 4: community space usage

The proposed rooftop community space has been described as a big benefit to the current residents and future residents of the proposed development. It is unclear whether the rooftop garden will be made publicly accessible as indicated in the community consultation documents and reflected in the statement of community involvement. If it is a publicly accessible space, there is no indication of how this space will be maintained and monitored (for anti-social or illegal activities).


 If you are sympathetic to the Marley Walk Residents' Association case and would like to respond to their request for legal advice contact the Secretary HERE