Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Police appeal to public after 3 shot in Neasden. S60 imposed on Brent.

 From Metropolitan Police

Detectives are appealing for witnesses after three people were shot in Brent on Monday evening.

Police were called to Dog Lane, NW10 at 19:01hrs on Monday, 15 August following reports that a person had been shot.

Officers attended and found a 17-year-old male with a gunshot wound.

Two further victims – a 21-year-old man and another man believed to be aged in his early 20s – were found nearby.

All three males were transported to hospital. The 17-year-old’s injuries have been assessed as non-life changing, the 21-year-old has a potentially life changing injury and the man believed to be in his early 20s remains in a serious but stable condition.

Police firearms officers responded as part of the incident. The suspect/s had fled prior to their arrival.

They provided emergency first aid to the victims until the arrival of paramedics.

An investigation is under way. At this early stage there have not been any arrests.

Anyone with information should call police on 101 with the reference 6551/15AUG.

Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

A S60 was put in place for the London Borough of Brent from 2012 hours on the 15 August to 1112 hours on the 16 August. This was authorised by Inspector Porter due to a shooting that took place in the Neasden area.

 

August 22nd Brent Cabinet meeting cancelled

The Cabinet Meeting scheduled on the Brent calendar for Monday August 22nd has been cancelled. Brent Council said this was on the basis  was  that the next Cabinet meeting is scheduled for the start of September (Monday 12th).
 

The agenda for the September cabinet meeting is due to be published on 2 September.

Monday, 15 August 2022

Brent Parks launches Phase 2 consultation on re-vamping of Roundwood Park Children's Playground

Brent Parks Service today launches its Phase 2 consultation on a play area for Roundwood Park which it claims is a result of feedback on the Phase 1 consultation.   The issue of whether the rather garish off-the-peg designs are suitable for a Grade 2 listed Victorian park is not addressed nor the option of having an adventure playground type play space  amongst the trees, so popular in non-Brent Queens Park and previously, before closure,  in Stonebridge.).  The proposed changes in the options are fairly minor.

The consultation ends on September 19th 2022.   I hope that the Service has consulted with children at neighbouring Newfield and Donnington primary schools. This worked really well for the new Chalkhill Park where Chalkhill Primary School pupils fed into the planning stage and gained a sense of ownership. Ironically the playground at the Roundwood Cafe in the park is more 'natural and shaded by trees.

The survey is here.  At present you need to scroll down for Phase 2.

This is the presentation (Click on lower right corner for full size):

 


Saturday, 13 August 2022

Brent Council undermines Aslef & RMT strikes with special car park in a Fryent Country Park field during Coldplay concerts on strike days

 Readying the car park early this morning

Dawn Butler and Barry Gardiner on the picket line today

Hard to get my head round this. Labour activists tweeted their presence on Aslef picket lines this morning as they joined RMT strikers and Barry Gardiner and Dawn Butler on the picket line.

Meanwhile however, Brent Council was setting up a temporary cara park in a field in Fryent Counrty Park, Wembley and directing Coldplay fans to the Stadium.

Cllr Saquib Butt, a man with many hats, was extolling the virtues of the Council's money making strike breaking on Facebook last night. Saquib is the brother of council leader Muhammed Butt.

This is what he said:

FRYENT PARK **Important information**
Hi all,
 
We have received notification from Brent Council that our partners, Wembley Stadium connected by EE have sought the support of the Council in making the event field at Fryent Park available for customer parking on four upcoming dates as below:
 
13th August – ASLEF strike action affecting National Rail services only
This has a direct clash with the Coldplay concert on 13th August and an indirect clash with the Coldplay concert on 12th August (skeletal services operating / cessation of services on the 12th August in preparation for the strike)
 
18th August – RMT strike action affecting National Rail services only
This has an indirect clash with the Coldplay concert on 17th August (skeletal services operating / cessation of services early on the 17th August in preparation for the strike)
 
19th August – RMT strike action affecting the London Underground network and impacting National Rail services in Wembley
The direct clash with the Coldplay concert on the 19th August has resulted in a change of date to 21st August. This strike action has an indirect impact on the Coldplay concert on 20th August if LU services are not resumed to a full and good service.
 
20th August – RMT strike action affecting National Rail services only
This has a direct clash with the Coldplay concert on 20th August and an indirect clash with the rescheduled Coldplay concert on 21st August (skeletal services operating / slow resumption of services – Chiltern Rail have also confirmed engineering works and no National Rail service from Wembley Stadium station)
 
The event field is available for use on a commercial basis to host events that are proposed by the community or event organisers. We charge a fee for this and hold deposits to account for any grounds damage and the need for reinstatement. Damage to the fabric of the park would always be a key consideration but we are satisfied the recent hot and dry weather will mean the ground is strong enough to withstand the parking without any risk of damage.
 
The Council will benefit from a rental income and the proceeds of the parking sales will go to the ‘Best in Class’ fund that supports event day joint operations.
 
As always, please do reach out to us for any concerns/issues and we will arrange for a response as necessary. 
 
Our contact details can be found here:

Cllr Butt answered residents' queries and made no bones about the fact that this was a reaction to the strikes:

Saqib Butt
Author
Hi Jay , the stadium manages fine on normal event days when there are no strikes. This situation has only arisen due to the travelling public not being able to use the trains etc.

Rising costs hit Brent's New Council Homes Programme and something is stirring on its acquisition of The Falcon pub

Brent Council's Forward Plan gives a preview of what is coming up at future Cabinet Meetings but details at minimal.

This item appears in the Forward Plan for the September 12th Cabinet meeting:

To receive an update on delivery of the New Council Homes Programme and summary paper addressing the effect rising construction costs are having on the programme with options to alleviate.

The paper on 'options to alleviate' risings costs will be of vital interest. I assume possibilties include changes of tenure in developments, more private sales within schemes, changes in the quality of build etc.

 The Falcon

 

Another item for September 12th  is Acquisition of Falcon Public House site, Kilburn Lane

To agree the valuation of the site for the purposes of acquisition by the council.

There is an extensive history to this. Back in 2014 LINK Brent Council took ac tion against HS2 in order to move the HS2  ventilation shaft from the site next to Queens Park station to Canterbury Works in the middle of the South Kilburn Estate:

The Council has approved plans for the Queens Park Car Park site (Site 18 in the South Kilburn Regeneration Programme)  which involves demolition of Cullen House, Keniston House, Premier House and the Falcon Pub and the erection of 137 flats (39 of which are affordable), public space, office and commercial shop space.  The HS2 plans for a ventilation shaft and transformer would disrupt these plans with a loss to the Council and also affect the decanting of residents on the South Kilburn Estate during regeneration.

They were successful, much to the consternation of South Kilburn residents and in 2016 LINK  a Cabinet report included:

The subject comprises the Falcon Public House and includes residential accommodation to the upper floors for occupation by the pub manager on a site of 0.03 hectares. The property ranges in height from one to three storeys. The Falcon Pub itself is understood to comprise the complete ground floor level, with two storeys of residential accommodation above.

The site was formally marketed for £2.75m subject to a tenancy for the Falcon Public House with a passing rent of £24,000 per annum for a 3 year agreement. The exact terms need to be reviewed to ensure vacant possession can be secured relatively easily.

As usual financial details were not published publicly and we are unlikely to be told what the council is paying on our behalf.

Friday, 12 August 2022

Welsh Harp Drought - In 1929!

 I am grateful to the account NW London Time Machine for this link https://twitter.com/time_nw



Loss of green space and tenure change are issues in Rokesby Place application that Planning Committee must discuss

 

Two 4-bedroom houses are planned for this site (Site A)

Many issues have arisen over Brent Council's plans for infill housing in its council estates but the two main ones have been loss of green space and trees to the detriment of existing residents and the proposed tenure of the new developments.  

The Brent Planning Committee will consider the Brent Council planning application on Wednesday August 17th at 6pm. I understand that are likely to be representations from residents and a local councillor. The webcast can be viewed live HERE.

Both issues are involved in the proposal for infill  at Rokesbury Place in Harrow where two four-bedroom houses are proposed on the site above at the end of a dead-end street. The tenure of the houses has been changed from the Social Rent originally proposed to London Affordable Rent.

The proposal would remove three mature trees and reduce the green space, used for leisure, and parking.

These trees are to be removed:

Birch


Cherry
 
 
Lime
 
Planning Officers have recommended approval of the proposal and say: 

Whilst it is noted that there is a part loss of the existing grassed space, (next to 34 Rokesby Place) the scheme would provide a new communal amenity space next to the new homes and enhancement to the remaining space within site B (next to 31 Rokesby Place) including new drying facilities. The benefits of the scheme to provide two new affordable family sized homes would be considered to outweigh the harm of any loss of existing green space as discussed within para 67-69 below (see report)

 

An area of approximately 160 sqm of green space is proposed to be changed to hard surfacing to accommodate the enhanced turning head and the parking spaces within site B. Site A has landscaped areas at either end of the car park, with a total area of approximately 145 sqm. These will be removed, but a new communal landscaped area of approximately 80 sqm will be re-provided. It is acknowledged that it is possible that some residents may be currently using some of the grassed area for recreational functions, and that this may have some local value despite not falling within the boundaries of a designated public open space. (My emphasis)

 

Policy DMP1 seeks to retain existing green infrastructure including open space, high amenity trees and landscape features, and providing appropriate additional or enhancements where possible. Where the loss of open space is proposed, this would be required to be balanced against the benefits of the proposal. While the loss of the green space is acknowledged, the scheme would deliver the provision of two affordable family sized homes within the Borough for which there is an identified need. This is considered to outweigh the harm, particularly given the proximity to Barham Park which provides a large area of open space in very close proximity and access to this park would remain unrestricted for nearby residents. On balance, the loss of this green space is outweighed by the benefits of the scheme as a whole, including the delivery of two affordable family sized homes.

  A objector from Copland Avenue points out:

On the previous application in 2015, the Tree Officer appraised the two trees to the rear of the site (Bird Cherry T2 and Lime T3) and provided root protection recommendations (in fact the cherry is a prunus lusitanica, a tree with an Award of Garden Merit which produces food for pollinators and berries for birds). That report stated ..." the retention of trees identified as T2 and T3 is recommended as this will enhance the screening between the new houses and the adjacent gardens. The retention of existing groups of trees will be beneficial in maintaining the character and appearance of the site and locality as well". Additionally, in the final report of the 2015 application it stated, "One tree would be lost as a result of the proposal, however, a Bird Cherry and Lime which provide a valuable food source and attract various wildlife would remain on site". There doesn't appear to be a tree officer's report for this application, just a report by the developer which is not going to be impartial. These two valuable trees, plus a nice silver birch, are all to be sacrificed, it seems - heartbreaking! We strongly object to this. Surely Brent should adhere to its previous recommendation to retain these trees. We would also request a BAT survey has they are in our garden every summer.

 This is the overall plan for the Rokesby Place:

 

The applicant claims that when surveyed only one car was using the car park which appears to be disproved by this photograph from a resident:

Incidentally the building behind the car park, an extension to a Crawford Avenue house, is not shown in the application plans.

 

Work will also go on at the green space adjacent to 31 Rokesby Place. This is currently a green space with a washing drying area where residents have carried out planting. Cars are morked next to it but the council say this is a turning area. They claim 5 'new' car parking spaces are provided in the new design but this does not take account of the loss of spaces on the northern site or the spaces needed by the new houses. Objectors dismiss claims that residents could park on nearby streets.

 

 

Visiting this morning it was clear that this small, peaceful community really care for their estate as can be seen from the planting that has taken place outside the terrace of houses:


The second issue, previously high-lighted on Wembley Matters, and of particular significance to Watling Gardens, is the never-ending ambiguity around Brent Council's definition (or lack of it) of 'affordable housing.

The Brent Poverty Commission in the report adopted by Brent Council was clear:


The application form clearly stated that the tenure for these 4 bedroom  houses would be for Social Rent. LINK.

 
But Scedule B of the Officers' Report going to Planning Committee as the Letter of Approval states that tenure is London Affordable Rent  LINK :
 

However, the Planning Statement, prepared by Maddox Planning for Brent Council as the applicant, clearly states a proposed Social Rent LINK:
 


 

The justification for the harm this application will do to the existing residents of Rokesby Place is the benefit that two new four-bedroom Council homes will provide.

On the application form it was said that these new large family homes would be for Social Rent.

Social Rent was identified by the 2020 Brent Poverty Commission Report as the only genuinely affordable housing which the majority of families in housing need could afford, and the rent level which Brent Council should be aiming to provide its Council housing programme at.

But the proposed Condition 3, which the Officer Report recommends the Planning Committee should approve, has changed the tenure of these two homes to London Affordable Rent, which  is not what the application offered, and would not be affordable to most families on the Council's waiting list.

By making these two homes for London Affordable Rent, rather than Social Rent, it undermines the benefit which is supposed to justify this application. If Planning Committee is minded to accept the application, it should insist that Condition 3 be changed, so that the affordable housing is delivered as two Social Rent units, as originally set out in application 22/1400.

This is particularly important as these 4-bedroom houses are clearl meant for large families so rent level wil be particularly important for them - as the Poverty Commission recognised. 

Back in 2018 the Scrutiny New Developments Task Group on Affordable Housing LINK said:

Brent’s future housing strategy should be explicit about the need for social rent. It is not acceptable for the viability process to lead to a lack of social rented accommodation, but significant proportions of “affordable rent” and intermediate products such as shared ownership, when we know these simply are not genuinely affordable options for residents of the borough in housing need.

That is even truer today.

Thursday, 11 August 2022

Brent and Camden councils collaborate on Kilburn High Road Brondesbury bridge mural project. Any suggestions for other High Road matters they could work on together?

 

The bridge on the Kilburn High Road

Extract from a press release issued by Brent Council

A major new art installation will be introduced on the Brondesbury railway bridge bringing a splash of colour to the heart of Kilburn High Road.

 

Brent Council and Camden Council have joined together to commission the new artwork that will span almost 21 metres on both sides of the bridge serving Brondesbury Station.

 

The world renowned Wood Street Walls and local Kilburn artist, Linett Kamala from Lin Kam Art will be delivering the exciting project.

 

The mural will be a celebration of Kilburn’s rich cultural heritage and local residents are invited to share their ideas and help shape the artwork through a series of summer workshops. There will then be a public vote to select the final design in December 2022 and it will be painted in Spring 2023.

 

As part of this project, there is also a range of opportunities available for local creatives including:

A free art mentorship programme with Lin Kam Art.

 

A free training programme with Wood Street Walls teaching creatives how to deliver public art projects with a globally recognised certificate on completion of the course.

 

To get involved and help shape the artwork or to register your interest in the courses, please email: regenerationandplace@camden.gov.uk.

 

As I post this I can hear Kilburn residents saying, ‘If the Councils can cooperate on this, why can’t they cooperate on all the urgent issues that face Kilburn High Road?’

 

Perhaps it’s a start…

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Further key questions for Brent Council after Brent named as one of the places polio virus found in waste water. Children 1-9 to be offered boosters.

 


Tweet released by Brtent Council at 10.45am Thursday morning

The BBC is reporting that children aged one to nine are to be offered polio boosters after the virus was found in 116 places in London's waste water since February. Brent is named as one of the places it was found. LINK

Campaigners drawing attention to the amount of raw human sewage flowing in the Wealdstone Brook had raised the public health danger with Brent Council and asked for the declaration of a public health emergency.  See John Poole's letter HERE.

On June 23rd 2022, John Poole write to Wembley Matters:

Yesterday – Wednesday 22nd June 2022 – the area around Beckton Sewage Works in NE London has been declared a ‘Major Incident’ because the Polio virus has been detected in the local river water. LINK

Raw sewage in the Woodcock Park section of the Wealdstone Brook persisted through to May.

If it turns out that water samples were also taken from the Wealdstone Brook (and they should have been given the information now released from the Environment Agency as of yesterday) then Brent Council were negligent to say the least in not declaring the human sewage pollution of the Wealdstone Brook a ‘Major Incident’ as requested by me.

If there were no medical tests of the water for such viruses, then I would regard that a major dereliction of duty from Brent and Harrow Council and the local medical authorities, particularly since we had a zoom meeting with a health official in the Brent and Harrow area regarding just this issue. The water of the Brook was not only chemically toxic and dangerous to human health – it would also certainly contain some potentially very serious viruses and was therefore biologically toxic.

How dare they play games with our health let alone the health of children who continued to play in and around this river as it runs through Woodcock Park and no action was taken by the authorities to fence off this river in spite of repeated requests on health and safety grounds from the Friends of Woodcock Park.

I am angry, very angry – ignorance is no excuse for the failure to protect the health of residents of Kenton, particularly those that live close to the Wealdstone Brook.

Campaigners said that that the brook flowed close to a primary and a secondary school  as well as through Woodcock Park and that children playing could go into its waters to retrieve balls or  while playing.

Dr Melanie Smith, Brent Director of Public Health, said: 

The risk to the general public from polio is low and remains low if you're up-to-date with your vaccinations. The polio vaccine has been tried and tested over many years and is safe and effective. The NHS is offering all London children aged one to nine a booster, so do take the opportunity to ensure you keep your children protected.

Cllr Ketan Sheth, Chair of the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee said:

It’s a public health concern that the polio virus has been found in sewage. However, I’m pleased that the NHS has acted quickly and is offering children aged 1-9 an urgent booster vaccination to protect them from serious illness.

 

Responding to the update John Poole said:

 

This reply from Dr Melanie Smith is unacceptable. It is not a question of low risk but of no risk. And one of the ways to establish a no-risk approach is to seal off as best as possible access to waterways in Brent where these have been tested and evidence of the polio virus has been detected. 

 

The UK Health Security Agency declared a ‘Major Incident’ with regards to the detection of the polio virus in waterways in 6 London Boroughs associated with Beckton Sewage Works in East London. Under pressure and threats from me, the UKHSA has now named those 6 Boroughs and Brent has been added to the list. Brent is therefore now included in the ‘Major Incident’ which is ongoing according to an email to me from Scott at the Press Office of the UKHSA dated 19th July 2022.  There are two vital issues here;

1.    Which agency carried out the testing of the river waters in Brent? Which waterways were found to contain the polio virus? And is this information publicly available? If not, then I will apply under the Freedom of Information Act for a set of the results.

2.    What action is Brent Council now taking, in view of the fact that Brent is now included in the UKHSA ‘Major Incident’, to publicise the dangers of the waterways in Brent ?

Chalkhill, Church End & Stonebridge summer events for young people

 Events on Chalkhill, Church End and Stonebridge estates over the Summer. Some have already started:

Get involved in our summer events at Chalkhill, Church End and Stonebridge Estates!


Places for in-person activities are available on a first come first serve basis. Please take the message received at the end of completing this form as a confirmation of your place in the selected activities.

If you have any questions about these activities, please get in touch with Jada Eduvie, at jada.eduvie@youngbrentfoundation.org.uk

Click here to register!