Wednesday 19 January 2022

Muhammed Butt hails High Court's Bridge Park Appeal ruling that Brent Council is the sole owner of the Centre

 From Brent Council website

Plans for a new community centre in Stonebridge Park can now go ahead after the Court of Appeal upheld a High Court ruling that Brent Council solely owns Bridge Park Leisure Centre.

Leonard Johnson (first Defendant) and The Stonebridge Community Trust (HPCC) Limited (second Defendant) were granted permission to appeal the High Court decision by the Court of Appeal in March 2021. However, the Appeal was unsuccessful and has been dismissed in a judgement released yesterday.

The plans to create a new community centre – with much improved leisure facilities, community spaces and modern workspaces – in addition to new homes can now progress.

“The council is pleased with this outcome,” said Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council. “It means we can now continue working with local communities in Stonebridge and surrounding areas to realise the potential that’s been trapped in this treasured, but crumbling, site for far too long.

“It is time now for everyone to work together to help create a fairer and more equal Brent by providing the fantastic new leisure and employment centre that local people need and deserve.”

For more information visit:


Philip Grant said...

This decision means that the development of the long-blighted Unisys building can also go ahead.

That would give Brent the opportunity to work with the developer, to include in the redevelopment scheme the modern college facilities that Brent Start Adult College needs, paid for by the £15m of CIL money which the Council has set aside for that.

The new college on that site would be ideally placed, next door to 'the fantastic new leisure and employment centre that local people need and deserve' at Bridge Park.'

Building the new college facility there would mean only one disruptive move for the college, rather than a move into temporary accommodation in the "Stonebridge Annexe" building at Twybridge Way, then back again to Morland Gardens after two or more years.

A decision to pursue the "Unisys" option for the college would immediately free-up the Twybridge Way site for Phase 2 of Brent's Stonebridge Housing scheme, including family houses and much-needed New Accommodation for Independent Living flats.

It would also mean that the locally listed Victorian villa at 1 Morland Gardens would not need to be demolished, but could be sympathetically incorporated into a new housing scheme on that site, once the college had moved to its new facilities.

That looks like a win/win/win situation, and should be quickly and seriously considered.

Anonymous said...

As much as this is an awful day for Brent residents in that the Council has taken (stolen) control of a property asset belonging to the residents of Brent. However, as Philip has suggested this could ctually be a great day for Brent. Just think about what he said.

A new sports centre right next door to Brent Starts, loads of new Social Housing, Assited Living Properties, all of which are much needed. Then to top it all, we get to keep a splendid heritage asset known as Morlands.

The worry is that Butt and his cabinet of lovies will probably make a complete and utter mess of it as they always do. There hubris is unbelievable. Last night at Scrutiny Cllr. Tatler would even admit to the LTNs being a failure and a bad choice on her part. Yes she says she accepts responsibility (strange way of doing that I think) - has she been listening to Bojo? she uses the same lines as him doesn't she (perhaps she is a Tory as has been suggested before). I mean blaming the government for giving them money that she and her officers didn't know how to deploy properly isn't her fault, not HMG. As for saying they had learnt lessons, when asked what those lessons were she couldn't give an answer of any value.

As DD told Bojo today, for god's sake go.

Philip Grant said...


Further to my comment at 17:21 above, this is the text of an email which I sent to Cllr. Muhammed Butt (at his Leader email address) this evening, with the text of my comment pasted below it:

Dear Councillor Butt,

I read with interest the news of Brent Council's Appeal Court victory, and your comments about the Council now being able to realise the potential arising from it.

The press release was publicised on the "Wembley Matters" blog this afternoon, and I have added the comment below, which I would urge you to read, please.

The decision opens up the possibility of a much better solution to the current flawed and delayed proposals for 1 Morland Gardens. That better solution needs to be carefully considered, as a matter of urgency.

A decision to award a contract for the 1 Morland Gardens scheme may be imminent, although I wrote to Alan Lunt and Cllr. Thomas Stephens as recently as 16 January setting out some important questions which still need to be answered before any contract is awarded.

To award that contract before those points are resolved risks wasting further large sums of Council money on the current flawed proposals. It also risks another "Granville New Homes", further down the line, if the Design & Build model is used for 1 Morland Gardens.

I hope that you, in consultation with Councillor Stephens, Mr Lunt and the Stonebridge Ward councillors, to whom I am copying this email, will agree that a review, based on the reasoned points set out in my comment below, should be carried out without delay.

I look forward to hearing from you with your response. Thank you. Best wishes,

Philip Grant.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Phil, there are great opportunities here for the Councillors that represent us and Council staff paid for by our taxes to make our Borough better for us, not the developers they are keen to serve.

Philip Grant said...

Dear Anonymous (19 January at 21:22),

Thank you for your comment.

I am currently working on a new "guest blog" which I'm sure will be of interest to you (and others concerned about Brent Council and developers). I hope that Martin will be able to publish it within the next day or so.

Anonymous said...

Well done Cllr. Butt, you've just lost a load of votes in the Stonebridge area. Did you really have to gloat quite so much in your statement? I'm sure that all these private properties will be hoovered up by oversees investors. Yet again the people of Brent lose out as they won't be able to afford to live in them. I'm sure that the new wealthy residents will enjoy THEIR new liesure centre.

Philip Grant said...


Yesterday evening (see 19 January at 19:49 above), I sent an email to the Leader of Brent Council, Cllr. Muhammed Butt, responding to his comments in the Brent Council press release about its Bridge Park court victory and saying:
'The decision opens up the possibility of a much better solution to the current flawed and delayed proposals for 1 Morland Gardens. That better solution needs to be carefully considered, as a matter of urgency.'

At 12:29 today he emailed his response to me. I will set out what it said in full below. Readers can form their own judgement on what he has written:-

'Dear Mr Grant

Thank you for taking the time to write to myself about the recent decision taken by the courts in relation to Bridge Park

I do not read Wembley Matters, as I have found it to be completely biased, has hosted racist and defamatory comments about myself and continues to be a talking shop for people who just want to talk to each other and just denigrate everyone else who does not agree with their point of view.

Morland Gardens is not part of the work around Bridge park and will continue to progress in its current form separately to Bridge Park.

Thank you for your comments and suggestions.



Cllr Muhammed Butt
Leader of Brent Council.

Philip Grant said...


How do you respond to the Leader of Brent Council, when he has sent you an email like the one I copied for your information at 13:58 above?

With courtesy and reason:-

'Dear Councillor Butt,

Thank you for your email, which you ended by thanking me for my comments and suggestions.

However, your personal loathing for a local blog website, which I had mentioned in passing, seems to have distracted you from the much better solution to a new home for Brent Start college, an opportunity which I suggested should be urgently reviewed.

At the moment, 1 Morland Gardens and Bridge Park / Unisys are separate projects, but considering their possibilities together could offer a win/win/win situation for Brent Council - that is why I took the trouble to bring it to your attention.

I hope that Alan Lunt and Thomas Stephens, to whom this is copied, will take a more objective view of those possibilities, and give my suggestion proper consideration. Best wishes,

Philip Grant.'

Alison Hopkins said...

If Mo doesn’t read it, how does he know it’s “completely biased and has hosted racist and derogatory comments “ about him?

Schrodinger’s blog me thinks.

And I know full well that Martin doesn’t allow anything libellous and does allow views which differ from his own, including posts from those in other political parties.

Anonymous said...

As for "hosted racist and derogatory comments “ about him? " That is probably when people have said that several councillors are related to him, which he says is a racist slur. What an idiot that man is.

Anonymous said...

Having read the comments and Cllr. Butt's comments on Bridge Park. Who do these elected councillors think they are representing, it is obvious that it is not the residents of Brent.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same Cllr Butt who shared a post comparing Israel to ISIS? Calling other people racist? Horrible hypocrite.

Philip Grant said...

Dear readers,

Cllr. Butt has replied to the email I sent him (posted on 20 January 2022 at 15:39, above).

It appears that I may have misunderstood some points in his email to me. In fairness to him, I will copy his email as a comment.

Before I do, and while I understand some of the reactions set out in comments above, could I ask, please, that no more personal comments about Cllr. Butt are added to the chain under this blog item. They might reinforce his (I believe ill-founded) opinion of "Wembley Matters", if he were to read them.

Let's stick to comments about the situation following the Court's decision over Bridge Park, and what this could potentially mean for proposed developments at other sites in Stonebridge, including 1 Morland Gardens.

You will have your chance to express your views on Cllr. Butt and his Leadership of Brent Council at the ballot box, in the local elections on 5 May. I will be using my three votes, and I hope you will use yours.

Thank you.


Philip Grant said...


I hope you have read my comment (21 January at 11:40) ahead of this "post".

Here is the reply I received from Cllr. Butt yesterday evening to my email (posted on 20 January 2022 at 15:39, above):-


Cllr Stephens and Alan will get back to you on Morland Gardens. Thank you for accepting the fact that they are completely separate.

You are using words to describe something I have never said. Wholly inappropriate of you to do so. Where have I used the word “loathing “in any interaction with you or anyone else?

You mentioned the site and I stated a fact to yourself that I do not read it for the reasons I outlined below.

I can assure you there is no distraction. The council and its officers along with the Cabinet are completely focused on delivering the best that we can.

Thank you for taking the trouble to write to us, always appreciate the interaction, even though we may disagree, it’s good to have an exchange of views.



Cllr Muhammed Butt
Leader of Brent Council.
Labour councillor for Tokyngton ward.'

Philip Grant said...


This is the reply to Cllr. Butt's email (see 21 January at 15:14 above) which I sent today:-

'Dear Councillor Butt,

Thank you for your email, and for confirming that Cllr. Stephens and Alan Lunt will respond to me over my suggestion on 1 Morland Gardens. Although that development site is separate from those at Bridge Park/Unisys and Twybridge Way, they are all part of Hillside in Stonebridge, and offer the opportunity of a better overall solution if considered together.

It appears that I may have misunderstood parts of your previous response to me, and if that is the case, I apologise.

Your sentence, saying that Morland Gardens would proceed separately from Bridge Park, seemed to infer that the main suggestion I'd made had been overlooked, and would not be considered.

Your comments about Wembley Matters gave me the impression that you had a strong dislike for that website, which is why I thought that 'loathing' was an appropriate description of the feelings which, it appeared to me at the time, had distracted you from the main point of my original email.

I'm glad that those points have now been clarified, and as I had "posted" our previous correspondence on this matter as comments under the blog article about the Bridge Park court decision, I will do the same with this latest exchange of emails.

I agree with you that it is important to have a reasoned exchange of views, in an open and transparent way, even though we may disagree. Best wishes,

Philip Grant.'

Anonymous said...

Sorry Philip, I don't agree. Butt is a hypocrite: he has accused this site of defaming him - but it is him defaming those of us who post here by accusing us of racism without providing any evidence. You seem like a man of great integrity, Philip, but I'm afraid you are communicating with a man who lacks any integrity himself. Indeed he is using your fundamental decency to blunt your legitimate criticism of his record.

Philip Grant said...

Dear Anonymous (21 January at 19:47),

You are entitled to disagree, but I was not trying to defend Cllr. Butt, just to concentrate on the actual issue here.

That, for me, is trying to get Brent Council to see the opportunity of a better solution for the modern Brent Start college facilities they want to provide, which would avoid having to demolish a beautiful heritage asset, the locally listed Victorian villa at 1 Morland Gardens.

I make no apology for communicating, in a polite and reasoned way, with the councillors and senior officers who hold the power at Brent Council. I try to do so in a way that is open, and lets as many people as possible know what is going on. If I just shouted from the sidelines, I would be ignored.

The only "power" I have at the moment is the power to use words, evidence and argument, which might give me a chance of persuading those with the actual power to change their actions.

How they respond (or avoid responding, in some cases) reflects on them, and may assist electors in Brent to decide, when they use the only other "power" they have, how to use their votes in May 2022.

Philip Grant said...


on 21 January, Cllr. Butt wrote to me: 'Cllr Stephens and Alan will get back to you on Morland Gardens.' (see 21 January at 15:14 above).

On 24 January, I did hear back from Alan Lunt (not Thomas Stephens, the Lead Member involved), and this is what he wrote about the suggestion I had made to the Leader of Brent Council about moving the new college to the Unisys development:

'You have raised separately the issue of utilising the Bridge Park site for construction of a new college. You will be aware that the proposed use for that site is a replacement leisure facility, determined following consultation with the local community who have expressed a clear desire for a leisure facility on the site. The council do not intend to change the current plan; not least because to do so would be to go against residents’ expressed wishes.'

This was my reply to Brent's Strategic Director for Regeneration this afternoon (copied to Cllr. Stephens and Cllr. Butt):

'Responding, on behalf of the Leader of the Council, Muhammed Butt, to my suggested 'better option' following the Appeal Court decision in the Bridge Park case, you have chosen to dismiss it, as if my suggestion was to build the new adult college on the Bridge Park site, instead of the promised leisure facility there.

You have clearly failed to read, or have chosen to ignore, what my suggestion actually was!

My suggestion to Cllr. Butt was that the Council could work with the developer of the Unisys site, to whom the Council has agreed to sell the Bridge Park site, to include the new college as part of its Unisys development. I had actually spelt out that I was not suggesting the college be built instead of the leisure facility already consulted on, saying:

'The new college on that site would be ideally placed, next door to 'the fantastic new leisure and employment centre that local people need and deserve' at Bridge Park.'

I would ask that you, in conjunction with Cllr. Stephens, actually consider the suggestion I did make, please, and give your response on that, with a copy to the Council Leader, for his information. Thank you.'

To say that I was not impressed with this attempted "brush off" from Brent Council would be an understatement!

Anonymous said...

Like I said, Phillip: you are man of integrity, they are not. Keep fighting, but sadly they will not listen.

Philip Grant said...

Dear Anonymous (28 January at 19:40),

Thank you for your comment - yes, integrity is something which I value, and I agree that it is often not valued as highly (if at all) by some politicians, both local and national!

You are right in saying 'sadly they will not listen.' This is the response I've received from Alan Lunt to the email I copied above (27 January at 19:28):

'There is no further point discussing issues that perhaps we cannot agree upon but nonetheless have been determined. Your current email is case in point. To reinforce previous responses;

1. Planning consent for the re-development of Morland Gardens fully considered the potential loss of a Heritage Asset

2. In accordance with Condition 3 of the consent, the dwellings will be available at London Affordable Rents which are provided as a legitimate approach to delivering affordable housing

3. The proposed developments at Morland Gardens and Bridge Park will continue as planned. There will be no changes to the proposed re-development at Morland Gardens as a result.'

Philip Grant said...


'Dear Mr Lunt,

Thank you for your email. I agree that we will have to disagree.

If Brent Officers had fully, and properly, considered the heritage significance of the locally listed building at 1 Morland Gardens at the start of this project in late 2018 / early 2019, as required by both Brent's own and national planning policies, the present plans for the proposed redevelopment would never have been drawn up.

You are determined to continue with those flawed plans, while I and others will continue to oppose them, in any reasonable way that we can.

If (or when) your proposed redevelopment comes to nothing, the Council won't be able claim that it was not warned of the mistakes it had made, and the risks it had decided to take. Best wishes,

Philip Grant.'