Sunday 24 July 2022

LETTER: Loss of Neasden Lane North green space flies in the face of Brent Council's climate emergency commitment


The site adjacent to Neasden Lane (North)

The proposed development - Neasden Lane is not of course devoid of traffic


View from above

Dear Editor


On Monday at the Brent General Purposes Committee LINK I objected to and voted against a "Stopping Up" order for a piece of green land which has been a grass verge area near the Neasden Roundabout on the busy section of main road next to  2 Aylesbury Street and 7 West Way near the Quinton Street housing area which leads to Blackbird Hill.


While local residents were consulted about the planning application they were NOT consulted about the loss of green space. A planning permission for a block of nine flats on this piece of land had already been approved earlier as part of the Labour run Brent Council's drive for infill developments. I was concerned both about the air pollution impact of the residents that will move into this block right on top of this busy and congested section of the road and the environmental impact generally of losing these types of pieces of land as Labour councillors push for the building of more blocks on every available piece of land.


I was the only person raising concerns and the only councillor to vote against the loss of this small green space. All the Labour councillors present, the same councillors who declared a Climate Emergency in Brent recently, and who posture and pay lip services to environmental issues all voted in favour of this piece of green land to be sacrificed to more concrete. The green land will get a block of flats, service roads and car parking with just a tiny amenity space left. As so often happens the warning signs are ignored and the same Labour councillors making these decisions will shed crocodile tears when it will be too late.


Cllr Paul Lorber


Editor's note:

More on the proposal and local opposition from Wembley Matters September 2021


Philip Grant said...

'Earlier this week, we saw the hottest day ever recorded here in the UK. Make no mistake, this is a sign that man made climate change is here and it’s getting worse. Sticking our heads in the sand won’t help. If we don’t sort it out, hot days will only get hotter and heatwaves, wildfires and unliveable conditions will just keep coming.'

That's the opening paragraph from Cllr Butt's "editorial" in this weekend's "Your Brent" weekly email circular, and few of us would disagree with his words.

The problem comes when those words appear to be ignored in practice, when Brent Council deals with planning matters and its own construction projects.

Paul's letter above is about the final stage of a stopping-up process, when an Order goes to General Purposes Committee for ratification, before it is put into effect.

I, and several others (including a former Labour councillor who stood down in May), are currently involved with a proposed stopping-up order at Morland Gardens, which we have objected to.

As well as wishing to demolish a locally listed heritage asset (the beautiful Victorian villa at 1 Morland Gardens), against Brent's own adopted planning policies, they also wish to build over the land in front of it, which includes the Harlesden City Challenge community garden.

If Brent get their stopping-up order, and are allowed to go ahead with their project, seventeen of the eighteen trees on the land will be removed, and only four new small ornamental trees will be planted on the land at the corner of Hillside and Brentfield Road.

The Brent Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy says:
‘Trees are a significant element of our green infrastructure in Brent. Trees provide a host of environmental, health and well-being benefits, as well as offering a home and habitat for birds and insects which contribute to the functioning of a healthy local eco-system.’

The document goes on to say:
‘Brent is below the London average of tree canopy cover. We will seek to increase our canopy cover over the course of the next decade, to move closer to the London average.’

The Strategy includes a map showing "Tree canopy cover in Brent", and Stonebridge Ward has by far the lowest amount of tree canopy of any area in the borough.

Despite this Cllr. Butt is determined to press ahead with the Council's Morland Gardens Development, because it seeks to provide 65 new Council homes (most of them in a nine storey block that would be built on top of where the community garden now provides shade and 'a host of environmental, health and well-being benefits'), as well as a new Brent Start college (which could be built elsewhere in Stonebridge).

Yes, 'climate change is here and it’s getting worse'. Isn't it time that our leaders started turning their words into matching actions?

Anonymous said...

Brent Council also keep severely pollarding street trees in the summer months - destroying wildlife habitat and removing vital cooling shade from our streets

Anonymous said...

Pollarding is better than cracking the walls of houses and flats nearby.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 26 July 2022 at 12:12

Generally pollarding has nothing to do with subsidence, insurance companies normally demand tree removal, not pollarding. The biggest cause of cracked walls is high and low rainfall especially on Middlesex Clay. Pollarding because blocks of flats have been built too close to trees all too common, along with pollarding and tree removal for developments. Brent already have a deficit of tree canopy having the lowest tree canopies in the London Boroughs.

Anonymous said...

The pollarding we have seen is on trees nowhere near buildings or walls and they don't do the tree works properly - they hack away lower branches and don't trim the upper ones properly making the trees top heavy so they are more prone to falling in windy weather.

Anonymous said...

Too true but they keep removing mature trees and replacing them with tiny saplings which take years to grow!

Anonymous said...

The Council here have a very different attitude to trees than Brent Council :