Cllr Promise Knight sets out the Council's case for in-fill
View of the estate currently
Residents of the Clement Close estate in Brondesbury Park have set up this petition opposing the Council's development proposals put forward as as part of their estate in-fill programme.
The consultation is due to close tomorrow, July 13th, 2022.
Re: New Council Homes Programme – Clement Close, Brondesbury Park (NW6 7AL)
Dear Cllr Promise Knight,
On Friday 24 June 2022, leaflets were distributed across Clement Close and neighbouring properties to inform residents of the proposed redevelopment of Clement Close.
Although we understand the need for more affordable housing and agree with Brent’s Council aspiration to make the most of its under-used land and property assets, we argue that Clement Close is NOT under-used, nor is it suitable for the outlined development, and we strongly oppose this proposal.
After careful review of your proposal, we the residents of Clement Close have put together the following summary of our concerns. The proposed development would result in:
1. Substantial loss of privacy for many residents of Clement Close and neighbouring properties: The windows of the new buildings would be overlooking the windows and/or gardens of existing properties.
2. Substantial overshadowing of adjoining buildings: The importance of natural light on physical and mental health has been well-established. Cramming 22 new family homes in “gaps” would have a severe impact on the wellbeing of all Clement Close residents.
3. Loss of trees: Clement Close boasts many beautiful mature trees, which would need to be removed if the proposal goes ahead. The role of trees in a city cannot be underestimated. Not only do they absorb excess CO2 and slow down the rate of global warming, but they release oxygen, reduce wind speeds, cool the air, prevent flooding and boost wildlife. Removing these trees from the estate while increasing human occupancy by 25% would go against Brent Climate & Ecological Emergency Strategy and Brent Corporate Environmental Policy Statement, which specifically state Brent’s commitment to “enhancing the ecological value of land for which the Council is responsible”, and “integrating environmental and sustainability considerations into all decision making considered to have significant environmental implications”.
4. Adequacy of parking/loading/turning and concerns around access for emergency vehicles: With the proposal to narrow the road to a single lane to make space for a row of new houses on the eastern side of Clement Close, parking, turning and road access would be severely impacted. Access to the far end of the site by wide vehicles, such as emergency vehicles or refuse collection trucks would be seriously compromised. The Cabinet for Housing, Homelessness and Renters Security is probably aware that #1 Clement Close is a recently redeveloped, council-owned facility for adults with special needs, and that ambulances have been called to the site regularly. In addition, refuse collection trucks are already struggling with access.
5. Increased road traffic: The increased vehicle traffic resulting from 25% more occupancy of Clement Close would result in increased congestion, noise, air pollution, directly contradicting Brent Healthy Neighbourhood scheme. It would also pose a threat to the numerous children, elderly and disabled currently living in Clement Close.
6. Substantial impact on visual amenity resulting from the layout and density of building: the addition of new buildings, combined with the loss of green spaces, would turn Clement Close into a concrete jungle. The overcrowding would also result in higher levels of noises and disturbances, which would be detrimental to the wellbeing of all residents – current and new. This would again go against Brent’s commitment to “improving the quality of life”, as highlighted in Brent Corporate Environmental Policy Statement.
7. Loss of existing services: the current plans appear to threaten existing amenities relied upon by many residents including: ground-floor storage cupboards for upper-floor flats, bicycle storage (some of which has only just been installed), recycling facilities. There is no clear plan for where these existing services would be rebuilt/moved to on the current plans. Most importantly for our youngest residents the plans seem to involve building over the existing climbing frame/slide and a bench which form a central part of community life for Clement Close children.
We also condemn the way Brent Council delivered this information to Clement Close residents:
- The leaflets were unenveloped and not specifically addressed to the residents who will be severely impacted by the proposal. They were delivered by hand, through the letterbox, like advertising leaflets and flyers.
- The leaflet looks innocuous enough to be ignored. The front page gives a high-level description of Brent’s programme and makes no mention of Clement Close.
- The summary of proposed development, starting with “Landscape improvement for all residents”, is deceptive.
- The leaflet does not clearly describe where the newbuilds will be located. It only makes mention of one bungalow to be demolished (#54 Clement Close). The only way of understanding the proposal is by carefully examining a map with no caption.
- The residents of #54 Clement Close were unaware of the proposal to have their home demolished and heard about it from their neighbours. It is completely unacceptable for the family whose lives would be turned upside-down by eviction and demolition of their family home to have not been properly consulted and reassured of their security.
- The time frame of under 3 weeks until the closing of the consultation phase is inadequate for the magnitude of the changes proposed.
- The feedback form provided with the leaflet is not specific to Clement Close.
- The QR code and URL provided on the leaflet link to Brent’s Community Engagement Hub, and not to the consultation page. It is not straightforward to find the consultation page from the hub.
- The questionnaire is inappropriately structured and includes leading questions such as “do you agree with …?”, which could influence respondents’ views and comments on the proposal. Such bias goes against the standards of ethical conduct and reporting of survey research.
- There is no confirmation email or acknowledgement that the completed consultation form was received by Brent after submission.
We, the residents of Clement Close and neighbouring properties, are hereby firmly opposing the current development proposal.