Monday 28 February 2022

March 3rd - International Women's Day: SHE IS SUMMIT Valuing Girls and Women at Box Park Wembley



Part 1 Practitioners 10.00-15.30 

 Part 2 Young Women 15.30-18.00


She Is Summit is an opportunity to listen, better understand and seek solutions. Join us with Safer London, Brent Council, Streetgirl and Sancia Williams as we generate ideas to design multi-sectoral services to improve safety, protection and recovery, especially for those who already suffer multiple forms of discrimination.

Brent Council Webinar: Reduce, Recycle: Creating a Circular Economy 6pm tonight


From Brent Council

Think about when you are about to buy or consume something. A product or service perhaps. The different considerations that you are weighing up when asking yourself - do I purchase or do I not? Now think about whether protecting the environment or tackling climate change forms part of this thought process?

Why does it matter? Well, the ‘stuff’ we consume is contributing to the climate crisis by increasing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the world’s atmosphere. Whether this is from the energy used to create the product, the way it has been transported to you, and whether the materials it’s made with are recyclable.

The good news is however, that we have the power to make a difference. Consuming less, reducing waste and using items to their full life cycle is what the ‘Circular Economy’ is all about! This is the economic model of the future if we are tackle climate change, and will go a long way in creating a more sustainable environment.

Join us for a free webinar on Monday 28 February (6pm-7:30pm) Our expert speakers will guide you through this vitally important topic, providing key insights on what the circular economy is and practical tips for what you can do to help. We will be bringing together national, regional and local experts to discuss how we can start making changes, save money and lead a healthier lifestyle – and have a positive impact on the planet.

Our speakers include:

• Susan Evans, Senior Policy Adviser at Green Alliance

• Doug Simpson, Senior Advisor at ReLondon

• Oliver Peat, Education, Communications and Outreach Manager at Veolia

• Sophia Flucker, Director at Transition Kensal to Kilburn

Click here - Register Now

Saturday 26 February 2022

Olympic Way tile murals on display, 1st to 21st March

 Guest post by Philip Grant in a personal capacity

1.The tile murals on the east wall of Olympic Way, March 2021. (Courtesy of Quintain)


On 14 February, I received an email from Brent Council to let me know that ‘the heritage tile murals outside Wembley Park station will be on display’ from 1st to 21st March 2022. This is the three weeks each year that we are currently allowed to see the mural scenes on the walls of Olympic Way, under the secret advertising lease deal which Council Officers made with Quintain’s Wembley Park subsidiary in 2019.


The same email must have been sent to the “Brent & Kilburn Times”, as they published the news online, and featured a picture of the murals on the front page of their 17 February edition. I was told that Brent would be issuing a proper press release about the murals being on display, but as I write this, it has yet to appear on the Council’s website. (Perhaps they are waiting until the murals are uncovered on 1st March, so that a Cabinet member can be photographed in front of them, and featured in their publicity?)



2.The then Mayor, Cabinet members and guests at the tile murals “reveal” in January 2020.
(Courtesy of Brent Council)


I’m pleased to see that the Council are again recognising the heritage importance of the Bobby Moore Bridge tile murals, which they first seemed to accept at the start of Brent’s year as London Borough of Culture in 2020. The email included this “quote”:


‘Mayor of Brent Cllr Lia Colacicco said, “The tile murals are a part of Brent’s rich heritage so it is exciting to see more tiles revealed at the historic Bobby Moore Bridge. My hope is that when looking at the images we remember the historic and iconic moments that have happened in Wembley and I am looking forward to more memories being created at new events later this year.” ‘


Although the 2020 “reveal” of the Olympic Way mural scenes only involved the east wall, it appears that in 2022 they’ve remembered one on the opposite side! The email says: ‘The west wall features a scene of a drummer in concert at Wembley stadium to represent the Live Aid concert in July 1985.’ I have a photograph of that, which I took in 2009, before it was covered over with Quintain’s adverts from 2013.


3.The drummer mural, just outside the subway on the west side of Olympic Way.


If you look at the top left corner of my picture, you will notice that the mural has been patched up with some different tiles. That is because a much larger “Live Aid” mural scene was destroyed around 2006. Steps were built down to Olympic Way from the (then) bus stop on the bridge, in preparation for the opening of the new stadium. I’ve been told that TfL were responsible for this, but Brent Council must have given planning consent, and Quintain as owner of the land must also have agree to this work.


4.The original west wall mural celebrating popular music concerts at Wembley.


I don’t know who took the photograph above, but I’m very grateful to whoever shared it with me a few years ago, so that I at least have a record of what the mural scene on the west wall of Olympic Way originally looked like. We have “lost”, through neglect, murals of Mark Knopfler, Tina Turner and Freddie Mercury. I believe that the drummer, who you will be able to see this March, is probably meant to be Phil Collins.


For the moment, Brent residents and visitors will have the chance to see these ‘heritage tile murals’ on the walls of Olympic Way for just three weeks, from 1st to 21st March. We should be able to see them all of the time. Quintain’s consent to place their vinyl advertising sheets over these murals expires on 25 August 2022, and I wrote to their Chief Executive Officer on 1 January asking the company not to seek to renew it, so that these murals can be on permanent public display.


5.Back to black – adverts covering the east wall murals in March 2020, after the LBOC 2020 “reveal”.


I did receive an acknowledgement to my letter on 20 January, with an apology for the delay in replying. I was promised a full response ‘within the next few weeks’, after Quintain had consulted with ‘other Stakeholders’ (Brent Council?). At the time of writing, I have still to receive Quintain’s answer, but if they do decide to seek renewal of their advertisement consent, that will be strongly contested. Murals which are ‘part of Brent’s rich heritage’ should not be covered over and hidden from view.

Philip Grant.

Friday 25 February 2022


 Dear Editor,

No one wants a 3rd world war. I never had any grandparents. One was killed fighting in the 1st World War and the other 3 were murdered in concentration camps by the Nazis in the 2nd World War.

But innocent people are being killed in Ukraine today by the Russian army and lessons from history teach us that by not standing up to Dictators things will only get worse.

In 1938 Czechoslovakia had a defence pack with Britain, France and other countries. When in 1938  Britain, France, Italy and others signed the Munich pact with Hitler giving in to his demands Czechoslovakia was betrayed and Hitler soon invaded the whole country.

That was the signal to Hitler that those countries were disunited, unprepared and weak and that he could expand his empire and deliver his 3rd Reich. Tens of millions of people died in the world war  that followed, two thirds of my family were wiped out and my parents had to endure the horrors of the concentration camps.

When in 1968 Communist Russia invaded Czechoslovakia to defeat an attempt for democracy and breaking out of the shackles of communism the West did nothing. The country was occupied and subjugated by the Russians for the next 20 years.

I lost my country and all my friends. Although I have been able to build my life in the UK it was not easy and especially tough on my parents. No one becomes by Refugee by choice and the journey to rebuild your life can be tough.

The invasion of Ukraine confirms that you cannot trust Putin and that Russia continues to be a real threat to its neighbours and to world peace. Sadly 'diplomacy' does not work with Dictators.

Despite spending £billions each year on keeping standing armies and on developing new weapons it is not surprising that US, Britain and the rest do not wish to get involved militarily. Iraq, Afghanistan were all disasters and as a result even NATO is ineffectual and was clearly not ready.

So what should we do?

In 1968 the Czechoslovak army capitulated without firing a shot. It is clear that the Ukrainian army is made of sterner stuff. The west should supply Ukraine with all necessary weapons for their defence.

Ukraine should receive all possible humanitarian aid and borders should be open to their citizens under threat of Russian bombardment. Poland, Slovakia and other nearby states should receive assistance from the EU and the US to make this possible.

Russia should be completely isolated. This means that all business, sporting, cultural and educational links should stop immediately. Business should be instructed to withdraw all their employees and all assets from Russia, Russian football clubs should be expelled from all competitions, non Russian citizens in Russia should be given a deadline to leave and all international flights with Russia should stop. All Trade with Russia should stop and all Russian assets abroad should be frozen. World Universities must stop their doors to students from Russia. 

And yes if we are serious we must STOP buying Russian Oil and Gas. We may experience some pain but that is not the same as being killed by unprovoked Russian bombs and bullets.

It is when Russians feel total isolation and suffer economic and cultural pain that they will turn against Putin. 

Putin will not stop with Ukraine. The world did nothing when Russia invaded Crimea in 2014  and this is the consequence. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are next in line. The sooner the western alliance recognises this and builds up its defences along this line the better.

In 1968 Czechoslovaks pleaded for international help. There were fine words but little else. Fine words and softly softly approach will not work against Russian military might or its Dictator. Unless the Russians stop now and withdraw their troops from Ukraine immediately the international community must engage its economic, financial and other strengths to bring Russia to its knees in other ways.

Paul Lorber
25 February 2022.
Paul Lorber was born in Czechoslovakia but had to leave his country as a child following the Russian led invasion of his country in August 1968. He has lived in Brent since 1969 and was a Councillor in Brent for 32 years and Leader of Brent Council between 2006 and 2010.

Thursday 24 February 2022

Controversial tall towers on Wembley Park Station car park approved by minister


The five towers proposed to be built between Brook Avenue and the Metropolitan railway line, previously the station car park, have been approved. Philip Grant wrote about the planning issues involved HERE.

It is ironical that this has been announced on the day Full Council is set to approve the new Local Plan that will pave the way for many similar developments.

Construction News writes:

Transport for London (TfL) and Barratt Homes have been given the green light for a 454-home development near Wembley Park.

The minister of state for rough sleeping and housing Eddie Hughes MP made the decision to green light the project on behalf of communities secretary Michael Gove.

Planning permission for the scheme was initially granted by the London Borough of Brent in November 2020. However, the scheme was called in by former communities secretary Robert Jenrick in May last year.

Up to five new residential buildings will include replacement train crew accommodation, retail space, parking facilities and other communal areas. Up to 152 of the new homes will be classed as affordable housing.

The project faced a delay after concerns were raised that the scheme could impact heritage and listed buildings in the neighbourhood, especially the Barn Hill Conservation Area and the Lawn Court Conservation Area. Other listed spaces included Wembley Arena.

The minister accepted a report from the Planning Inspector, submitted in November, that the benefits of the scheme were enough to outbalance “the less than substantial harm” to the conservation areas.

Some of the benefits identified were the regeneration of brownfield land, increased affordable housing, delivery of a car-free development, and economic as well as environmental improvements to the local area.

The project spans 0.7 hectares, with Wembley Park Station and Olympic Square to the east, and railway lines that serve Wembley Park Station and the Chiltern Railway to its north. The project has an estimated value of £123.2m.

Wednesday 23 February 2022

STRA call on residents to ask their ward councillors to reject the Local Plan at tomorrow's Full Council meeting


Sudbury Town Residents Association have launched a petition and are crowdfunding legal action over Brent Council's Local Plan, and are asking residents to lobby their ward councillors to vote against at tomorrow's Full Council meeting which will also adopt the budget for 2022-23.

This is their appeal:

Ask Your Ward Councillors to VOTE NO to the Draft Local Plan on Friday 24 February 2022

SAY NO TO MORE Development in Brent

Brent Council planning officers have created the Draft Local Plan.  Once this plan is adopted by Brent Council, planning officers can grant permission to build within and around our green spaces, force the sale of homes and turn our wonderful neighbourhood into rows of high rises.

We are all aware of the housing shortage in England, and like every borough, Brent was given a target to build new homes to help the Government minimise the shortage. 

To meet housing shortage in England, Brent’s target was 23,250 new homes from 2019 to 2029and it has already met this target via developments approved in Northwick Park Hospital, Wembley Park  Wembley Central, Beresford Avenue, Alperton House, MinavilHouse, Alperton Bus Garage and Bridgewater Road.  However, as per their own Draft Local Plan, Brent Council plans to continue  unnecessarily granting permission to build more new homes. An interesting observation is that there is insufficient planning to develop or add to vital infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, GP clinics and adult social services. 

Everyone living in Brent has a say on the Local Plan and it’s the Council’s duty to consult its residents, but most residents are not even aware of its existence!

We are challenging Brent Council’s plans on a number of issues that will affect all Brent residents:

• Tall Buildings
• Intensification Corridors
• HMOs
• Compulsory Purchase
• Demolition of rows of houses
• Residential dwellings in rear gardens
• Replacement of pavilions and other buildings within green spaces with residential dwellings
• Building on brownfield sites within green spaces

Our group of community minded volunteers are trying to spread the word and let people know. We are local residents volunteering our precious time and expertise to try and protect our area from unnecessary development.  We are non-political and independent.  We are just trying to take care of our area and borough.

If you are also unhappy about the excessive development in Brent and would like to help, please:

• Donate to support our legal challenge via our Go Fund Me page


• sign the petition HERE
• ask your Ward Councillors to VOTE NO at the Full Council Meeting Friday 24 February 2022

Brent Council & partners move to enforce street drinking ban ahead of Sunday's Carabao Cup Final - will it work?


Euro2020 crowd violence

With arrangements facing their first major test since the Euro2020 Final disturbances and the subsequent Casey Report, Brent Council has issued a press release announcing new steps to enforce the street drinking ban in the area surrounding Wembley Stadium. :


A ban on street drinking in the streets around Wembley Stadium will be in force ahead of the Carabao Cup Final, as part of the existing Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).

The no street-drinking zone on Olympic Way and surrounding areas bars people from drinking alcohol in public spaces ahead of the match between Chelsea and Liverpool. 

Fans drinking on Olympic Way and the surrounding streets will be asked to hand over their alcohol and enforcement action may be considered.

The move by Brent Council and its partners aims to crack down on anti-social behaviour related to drinking ahead of the game on Sunday 27 February 2022

Cllr Muhammed Butt, Brent Council Leader, said: “The iconic Wembley Stadium has successfully played host to countless memorable and historic events over the years. The vast majority of visitors enjoy themselves responsibly but a minority do not and this new approach targets those people intent on causing disorder after drinking heavily on street.

“There are a number of pubs, fan zones and fantastic restaurants to enjoy in Wembley before the game so there really is no need for anyone to be drinking alcohol on our streets.”

If you are attending the Carabao Cup Final, there are a range of pubs, fan zones and restaurants available to enjoy in Wembley before the game. Please book early to avoid disappointment.

The ban on drinking in public will be enforced by a team of officers from Brent Council, Wembley National Stadium, Wembley Park, The Metropolitan Police Service, Transport for London and the British Transport Police.

A letter has been sent out to licensed businesses in the area that quotes the Casey review on drinking in  public spaces near the venue. (Click on image to enlarge) and reminds owners and staff that they should not sell alcohol to anyone who appears likely to drink it on the street.


A local resident remarked to Wembley Matters:

This should be fun to watch........ wonder if its just for Quintain land around the Stadium?  Guess the new White Horse Pub won’t be doing a massive trade if they can’t take their drinks outside?  


Perhaps the Stadium are desperate for cash and only want fans to drink the lousy beer they sell at grossly inflated prices.


And what happens to the High Road?  Liverpool fans are in the West End, so this should be interesting to see if it’s enforced on High Road outside all Off Licences and pubs.

 The details and map of the PSPO are below (Click bottom right to enlarge):


It is a big test - will the number of enforcment officers deployed be sufficient to control thousands of fans?

Monday 21 February 2022

UPDATE: Cllr Mitchell-Murray resigns from Labour and joins Brent Conservatives


Councillor Wilhelmina Mitchell-Murray (Wembley Central ward) has joined the Conservative Party followed her resignation from Labour.

In a letter to Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, she said:

I am writing to you to tender my resignation from the Labour Party with immediate effect.

I have been concerned at times with the policies of the party nationally and I have been very unhappy with the direction the Brent CLPs have taken. I am particularly concerned with the way Momentum has been influencing and in some cases taking over the party.

Yours sincerely
Wilhelmina Mitchell-Murray

The Conservative Group on Brent Council confirmed that Cllr Mitchell-Murray had joined them and said:

Cllr Wilhelmina Mitchell Murray has resigned from the Labour Party citing her dissatisfaction with the direction that the party has taken.

It would appear that the Labour Momentum have an unhealthy influence in the selection of local candidates and many sitting Councillors and activists are unhappy with the situation.

Wilhelmina has joined the Conservative Group.  Cllr’s Suresh Kansagra and Michael Maurice have warmly welcomed her saying that she will make an excellent Conservative Councillor and look forward to working with her.


Cllr Mitchell-Murray, asked to comment on her resignation by Wembley Matters, appeared to suggest she would be standing for the Conservatives in the May 5th Council Election. Asked to confirm that she was joining the Tories, she said:

Yes.  I have joined the Conservative Party.  Others must come to their own conclusions but, I came into politics to serve not to be self serving.  I hope to continue to serve the residents of Wembley Central Ward.  I hope everyone understand that at age 8 I skipped, to the polling station holding my daddy's hands to vote for the Labour Party.  It's up to the residents of Wembley Central Ward to decide if my days in public service are numbered.

 I have many friends in the Labour Party and we will remain friends regardless.

I have no further comment to make.


Brent Council leader, Muhammed Butt, told the Kiburn Times on Tuesday:

Wilhelmina’s friends in Brent Labour will be deeply disappointed to hear of her decision. While we respect her choice to leave, we must amicably disagree with her chosen means.

If the answer for Brent is Boris Johnson, then you are asking the wrong question.

Brent Labour is a broad church of beliefs, mirroring the range of thought and experience in our borough.

Notwithstanding, in the aftermath of the elections, I will be requesting to our coordinating bodies that a full review of our diversity monitoring procedures is undertaken. 

The resignation appears to be fall out from the current selections for Labour candidates in the forthcoming local Council elections. With the number of seats reduced there has been more competition so in the game of political musical chairs several seats have been whipped away from sitting members.

I understand that Cllr Mitchell-Murray's son who is also a councillor is not standing in the May elections. As it is we now have a Conservative councillor and a Labur councillor from the same family:

The reference to Brent Momentum is particularly puzzling as they have been rather quiet recently and I have seen no evidence of organised slates. What may be the case is that rank and file members are exerting their democratic rights more forcefully and scrutinising candidates’ political credentials more thoroughly than hitherto. This may be upsetting to the more managerialist of the current leadership, including Muhammed Butt, and Momentum becomes an easy scapegoat for him to use. He may sense that in the current process some of his support is slipping away, although one of his greatest admirers, Cllr Krupa Sheth has now joined him in the two member Tokyngton ward.

Muhammed Butt is himself a member of Brent Momentum, or perhaps was, and he as well as some of his loyal supporters have attended their meetings.

Cllr Margaret McLennan, currently Deputy Leader, is not standing again so the post will have to be filled by a loyal female lieutenant. I wonder who that could be?


A tour of the new Cricklewood Library

 Cricklewood Library - 2011 Closed by Brent Council

Cricklewood Library - 2022 Opened by Volunteers

More than a decade after Brent Council closed half its libraries I popped into the volunteer run Cricklewood Library at the weekend. 

Back in 2011 I wrote on Wembley Matters:

Build on the commitment and perseverance of library campaigners 


The old adage that "you don't value what you've got until you lose it" clearly does not apply to Brent library campaigners but it will surely hit home to many others who were not involved, now that the Council has decided the six libraries will not re-open.

Of course it is mainly a matter of a place to read, enjoy and borrow books, educate yourself - but there's also so much more in terms of the social usefulness of a library as a provider of information, a place to meet, a safe public space in sometimes alienating areas, somewhere to relax and enjoy the company of your young children, a place where old people are welcome and not ghettoised.

As these community functions go they impact on the local area - everything else costs money: shops, betting shops, pubs, cafes - libraries were free and therefore open to everyone to use and enjoy.  Their demise marks another reduction in the social good of society, in cooperation and mutuality.

However although their loss represents a loss of mutuality and cooperation, the struggle against their loss shows how strong those values remain in our community, albeit not in our council representatives.  Whether an appeal goes ahead or not, whether it succeeds or not, we must continue to build on those values.

The upcoming Brent People's Assembly gives us precisely that opportunity.  I salute the Brent SOS Libraries campaigners for their commitment and perseverance in mounting one of Brent's largest and most energetic community campaigns and hope that they will join in with others in the numerous hard struggles ahead.


A campaign that has lasted more than 10 years is certainly an admirable sign of perserverance and commitment by the local community and the values I wrote about were clearly visible in the work of the friendly young volunteers I saw on Saturday. I would of course prefer a properly funded, professionally staffed public library service but that does not take away from the campaign's achievement.

Do go along and have a look for yourselves and enjoy a coffee and cake at the same time.

 You can find out more on the Cricklewood Library website


Opening hours are dependent on the availability of volunteers



In addition to the lending library and the cafe there are also two rooms available for hire as well as the library space itself and already a range of activities take place in a developing community hub which already boasts a Book Club.

These are the rooms available for hire. Details of furniture and equipment available are on the website.

As well as dependency on volunteers there is of course the issue of funding in the absence of a Brent Council run service. These are the current  funders as advertised on the library website.



Four of the six libraries closed by Brent Council have survived as volunteer led provision: Barham, Cricklewood, Kensal Rise and Preston. Neasden and Tokyngton have gone and are much missed.