Friday 15 July 2022

Common threads emerging as Council tenants rebel over Brent's infill plans

 Newland Court, Wembley Park

Brent Council's project to use space on existing council estates to build new council homes is running into trouble from current tenants.  In a nutshell the council's commendable commitment to house people on the waiting list in council accommodation puts puts the backs up of existing residents  who feel patronised and treated with carelessness, if not disdain.  

Early on the building of 4 bungalows on existing car park and garage spaces encountered opposaition but is now nearing completion.  The saga of Kilburn Square has been frequently covered on Wembley Matters and more recently Rokesby Close, Watling Gardens, Clement Close and Newland Court have all provoked opposition.

There are several themes emerging across the borough. Claims include:

1. Consultation letters not delivered

2. Poor information, wrong information and lack of detail on the consultation letters

3. Consultation web portals that are difficult to access

4. Questions phrased  in  such a way as to provide the answers the council wnts

5. Insufficient time to respond to the consultation

6.  Loss of open space that was previously designed into estates by enlightened architects and planners that became essential during lockdown and loss of mature trees,

7. Estates picked out to cram in much needed affordable housing while the council encourages the building of unaffordable housing, often sold abroad, in other parts of the borough. 

8. The proposals are being made despite the council's lack of response to long-term issues on some of the estates.

Some residents feel that estates are being picked off one by one and suggest that those affected should get together to campaign on these themes.


This letter sent to Cllr Promise Knight and Barry Gardiner MP (Brent North) covers some of the issues and more:



I am a tenant living in Newland Court for the last 22 years. I OBJECT to this planned development going ahead at Newland Court in its entirety. I am aware that currently we are at the initial consultation stage of the planning. I am also aware that there will be a further consultation in September 2022. 


It is important that I express how this new development will affect residents. 


Whether we are tenants in Newland Court as well as adjacent Grendon Garden feel about these new development plans. Several residents feel insignificant at both locations because they did who not receive the Newsletter with the Feedback form when it was supposedly hand delivered to all. 


After making a call to Brent Council last week, I found out that the Newsletter was delivered to every household sometime around mid-June 2022. I can confirm I did not receive it. I found out about this after speaking with a neighbour in early July 2022 only to find out that we have to respond by the end of the day of the 12th July 2022. 


I was aware of some plans regarding improvements to the Newland Court area has been on the agenda for about by Brent Council for the past three years. However, I as well as other residents knew nothing about this plan until a few weeks ago. We have a very short time to consider the development plan with vague and misleading information provided on the Newsletter. The majority of residents do not see this plan as an improvement like me. It is important to take into account that all residents want a pleasant space. Brent Council could be prioritising the development needs for the existing residents. We will collectively resist any new development that would prejudice safety and the livelihood of our local community. 


I recently supported my neighbour Marc with getting a petition signed with residents who oppose this development plan and we asked residents in Newland Court if they got the Newsletter. We went door to door and spoke with many residents. We asked them if they were aware of the development plans and most people did not read it, or did not receive it. I think it is unreasonable to expect to get a realistic input or feedback from the majority of residents and for all of us to consider the information carefully. It is important for all of us that you should provide a more realistic plan. The full extent of the development including all the dimensions and how this will affect our day-to-day lives. We believe that this development will have a direct negative impact on all the community both short term and long term at Newland Court and Grendon Gardens. 


It would have been more appropriate if the development plan information had not been casually sent in a Newsletter; when there was a deadline for feedback of the 12th July 12.00 midnight 2022. It is only reasonable to expect this information to have been received via recorded delivery by each resident and leaseholder at Newland Court. Ideally, a reasonable amount of time such as 30 working days to be fair. This would give us more time to raise concerns individually. We should have been provided with links to easy to understand and access drawing; maybe both to scale and a 3D Plan to give clarity. 


At Newland Court, we had the impression that the garages were going to be knocked down to make more car parking spaces for the residents. For many years we have been aware of that, all the Garages have Asbestos on the roofs. It is more important to address the problem with Asbestos as well as the drainage in the grounds around and between the Garages. The drains haven’t been cleaned for many years and there are issues already with flooding. However, it makes perfect sense for Brent Council to demolish the existing Garages and make more parking spaces for the existing residents instead of building these 7 town houses planned. 




Brent Council has done nothing about tackling the ongoing problems with Fly tipping, lighting in communal areas, not enough refuse bins both general and recycling, no proper security gates at the entrance, no marked parking bays, no disabled parking bays; just to name a few safety concerns raised with Brent Council over at least the last 5 years. 


The gate for emergency access at one end, towards the end of by 55-60 Newland Court, which has been broken for at least 10 years, it has never been repaired or fixed. The padlock on the gate has been stolen or removed many times in the last few years; Whenever it has been reported to Brent Council, they still take up to 3 weeks to replace a lost or stolen padlock every time . This is supposed to be an emergency access but because it is adjacent to Forty Avenue, many drivers normally using the busy Forty Avenue have been using it as a short cut speeding down the road without a care in the world. This is dangerous especially as many families with young children live here and they play in the little greenspace by this road after school, weekends and in school holidays. This space is close to the road and we need Brent Council to consider the safety concerns we have as existing residents’; not ignore the safety concerns we have raised many times and then decide to erect 7 houses directly on top of us. 


This development plan will damage the character of our street. It will psychologically affect all the residents, local community as a whole and it is not in the public interest to proceed. In accordance with the new plan, Disabled and Older Person’s walking access will be restricted as well as Wheelchair user access to name just a few concerns. 


We have had significant problems with the Refuse bins are overfilled. There are no cameras to deter fly tipping and it is happening on a regular weekly basis. There are no consequences for fly-tippers and this has been going on for years. There are Refuse bins for general waste as well as Recycling but they are not enough for the 60 flats at Newland Court. At present, they are located between garages, some under the flats on the greenspace, and some in the designated area .The new plan shows only one designated space for the placing of the existing bins; which residents in that Block deem to be unacceptable. This simply is unrealistic and inconvenient, as the bins will not be able to fit in that small space .It looks like we will have lines of large bins right outside the blocks to ensure there are enough bins. We strongly believe this will be impractical, very unpleasant, and dangerous for children to have to play in the small green space left. Local Infrastructure, as well as the green space will be practically gone; especially if you erect a concrete jungle, looking play area for the children. This consideration in the development plan to entertain the new kids on the block; or do Brent Council think its compensation for taking the greenspace. The reason I bring this to your attention is because it t has never been a consideration in the past for us residents with kids in Newland Court. 


Brent Council has not considered the current issues with parking at all. There are no allocated spaces for the disabled residents or wheelchair users and not enough spaces for the current residents. The new plans show that there will be 11 parking spaces only .I am sure they will be pay and display too. How can this be a consideration for Brent council? when we currently have maybe 30 parking spaces and these are not enough for the residents now. Some Garages are in use for some residents to park their cars; this development plan will be detrimental to those needing access for emergency services, those residents who drive and park here as well as resident motorcyclists, where will they go? Where will delivery drivers park? Where and how will the Refuse Collection vehicles get through to the Refuse Bins when you are narrowing the current road plan? We have no dimensions to view in the space between the proposed development plan and the current layout. Many parking spaces will disappear along with Garages. Are there any safety considerations that Brent Council have identified for drivers? All drivers should be able to see any potential hazard in time to slow down or stop before reaching it. 


We have a reoccurring issue with parents picking up their children from the Ark Academy and they use our parking spaces, park their cars blocking the emergency exit. I have reported this to WING many times over the years and they do not do anything. This issue is between Mondays to Fridays. At weekends, residents cannot park at Newland Court because if it is not an event day parking is free. So it is FREE for anyone to park here and leave their car for whole day or all weekend .There are no consequences for them only the inconvenience for residents. What can we expect from the new plans that would not make this problem a lot worse? 




Instead of addressing the problems, we currently have and listening to us, you are going ignore us and plan to try erect 7 houses to make it worse. How many of the 7 houses will be affordable homes? If you want to reach your target to build affordable homes then stop selling all the land to developers and use the land, you own only for affordable homes that would be fair. Brent Council have already sold enough land in Wembley to private developers. Wembley Park is a concrete jungle of new developments. Why it is that existing residents at Newland Court and Grendon Gardens have to pay the price for your greed? 


We have no idea about the dimensions of the planned new development. It will block light for us and for Grendon Gardens. We have come to know that the roots of the large trees will damage the new development because you will need to dig the foundation for the new development. You will have to cut the Trees down the middle at the back of Grendon Gardens because so many are leaning over to Newland Court. 


You destroyed the beautiful Tree on the Corner at Masons Court so why  are you providing us with misleading information .We know that you will be removing the Tree at the entrance of Newland Court on the Corner of Corringham Road. You will most likely destroy the smaller existing trees in our greenspace too. How does existing destroying existing Trees and then planting new trees feel justified to you. The new trees cannot replace the charisma of the existing trees by a long shot. 


The impact of the construction work alone will cause mayhem on the green area and the road. There is no indication of how long this construction will take and I know residents have a lot a great deal of concern about the disruption, noise, increased safety risk as well as the inconvenience of delivery vehicles and trades people increase. Disabled and Elder residents will not be able to walk freely or use most of the parking spaces as they will be taken up by the construction for a significant period of time most likely a few years.. This will be very disturbance to the residents and the local community; as access roads and footpaths will be restricted and narrowed during works. They will not wide enough for residents who use a wheelchair , mobility scooter or a pushchair .The lack of outdoor space will have an impact on wellbeing and mental health of the local residents. 


There will be a significant Loss of privacy for all the residents affected. This has not been a consideration in this new development plan by Brent Council. I strongly believe the planning of the new 7. houses proposed at Newland Court with the windows that will not be able to open will cause problems of natural lighting in the new houses and a deficit in our natural lighting because these houses will block the natural light. 


WE DO NOT HAVE ALL THE FACTS IN THE PLANS FOR THE NEW DEVELOPMENT I would like to draw your attention to the following

5.1 Privacy and amenity Development should ensure a good level of privacy inside buildings and within private outdoor space. Directly facing habitable room windows will normally require a minimum separation distance of 18m, except where the existing character of the area varies from this. A distance of 9m should be kept between gardens and habitable rooms or balconies. Reduced distances between new frontages may be acceptable subject to consideration of overlooking and privacy as well as high quality design and solutions, which can sometimes mitigate impacts and allow for efficient use of land. For sites within an existing street scene, the distance between front elevations should normally be determined by the character of road widths or setbacks from roads in the area. Windows may be designed to direct views in certain ways and to avoid overlooking in other directions.


We all believe that it is only fair that Brent Council provide us with all the answers to the points myself and other residents at Newland Court and Grendon Gardens have raised. Also provide us with an accurate scale plan with transparency on the dimensions in reference to the above for us to consider further. 


Yours faithfully. 




Rokesby Place


Gauntlett Court


Clement Close


Newland Court


Watling Gardens


Kilburn Square


Potential Compulsory Purchase Orders


Brent's "secret" Council Housing Projects:





Anonymous said...

If Cllr Promise Knight is serious about consulting the residents, she should follow a proper process, provide full information and allow time to hear and consider the residents concerns, not simply pretend to consult by asking for views and then pressing ahead regardless.

Anonymous said...

There are 60 flats at Newland Court. Residents currently struggle for parking as it is. Under new proposals 7 houses will be built yet they allow little or no parking. How does this provide for the needs if existing appalled at their lack of thought and consideration

Anonymous said...

As a long term tenant at Newland Court I totally agree with the sentiments regarding these proposals. I have given up spending hours on the phone to Brent Council to complain about everything that has been raised concerning fly tippers, parking, lighting, rats, and especially security. Being elderly, I have been mugged right outside my block, harassed by teenage school kids who use Newland Court as a cut through or others who come here just to drink and take drugs shouting or talking loud till past midnight

Anonymous said...

Why haven’t you said anything about Windmill Court plans with serious Fire Safety concerns?

Martin Francis said...

Hello, I have missed that - hard to keep up on all these issues across the borough. I am sure there will be more. Please send me details and I will add to the post. Send to Thank you.

Philip Grant said...

Although I'm not a resident of any of the estates that will be affected by Brent Council's infill plans, could I make a suggestion, please.

I don't think that much will be gained by expressing your concerns to Brent's Cabinet (we saw the contempt that a resident who spoke to them about Kilburn Square was treated with a few months ago).

But if residents from a number of estates get together, and organise a joint petition against the way the New Council Homes project is failing to consult and work with residents to develop acceptable infill schemes, and is breaching the Council's own planning and environmental policies in the plans they are trying to force through, Brent may have to take some notice.

I would also suggest that this group of Borough wide Council estate residents puts forward a Deputation to speak at the next Full Council meeting in September, with as many supporters as possible attending the meeting, as members of the public, in person.

Anonymous said...

Add Rokesby Place to the list

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Butt and his Cabinet won't listen, they've proved that over and over.

The Planning Committee are besotted with building as can be heard at the beginning of every Planning meeting when Cllr. Kelcher says there is a national shortage of housing, the meaning is obvious, the Committee will support any developments regardless. More boxes in Brent then?

Anonymous said...

Hello Martin the email address is coming back as failed to deliver

Anonymous said...

Brebt Council need to provide answers and be transparent in their responses to the areas affected. I can tell you that emails opposing there INFILL developments across the borough are inconsiderate and not justified Esoecially when you weight up the problems that will arise from them going ahead.

Brent Council are being tight lipped about it all and choosing not to engage with clear responses to all emails sent by residents and their representatives They have been passing the buck onto another member of staff in the council IRS the samr with some councillors responding with generic emails

Iti s simply unacceptable for residents all over the borough to stand down . It's not that we don't want families in temporary accommodation to get more secure and permanent housing . After all many of us waited for years before we got permanent housing so we do accept their is a shortage of permanent housing in the borough and their always has been

The reason this has got worse is because or private developers investing all over Brent.

I feel that Brent Council have actually let the families in temporary accommodation down by selling off the land to Developers. Not considering the housing crisis in the borough and they are now trying to cover up their recklessness on our local communities.

The council is not acknowledging any single aspect of the concerns tenants in all the INFILL developments have put forward. The concerns raised must be discussed amongst the relevant teams at Brent Council but they keep saying its only in the initial stages .

The council need to be transparent in their commitment to provide affordable housing and all new developments in the borough should be developed solely for that purpose moving forward .

I think one if the areas in particular they should not sell any more land to Developers is i already very developed parts of Brent and especially wembley because there is more than enough unaffordable housing here already and getting worse .

Surely Brent Council should talk about all these issues raised by residents everywhere in Brent at this initial stage.