Tuesday 14 March 2023

Wembley Housing Zone: Never mind the gloss - what are the details?

 Impression of the Cecil Avenue blocks, High Road, Wembley


Brent Council’s press releases are notable for what they leave out as much as what they include. The latest heralding new homes on the Cecil Road, Wembley site (formerly Copland School) and Ujima House on the other side of the road (See PR below) leaves out vital information pursued by Philip Grant in several guest posts on Wembley Matters.   LINK  LINK


 Brent Council received planning permission for this development more than two years ago (February 2021). On the latest information only 37 of the 250 homes at Cecil Avenue will be for London Affordable Rent (LAR), and the 54 LAR homes promised for the Ujima House site (which still only has outline planning permission) are not expected to be delivered until 2026.


The Wembley Housing Zone scheme is Shama Tatler's responsibility - she talks it up in the press release. Cllr Tatler and Muhammed Butt must bear the blame for the details and delay over the provision of these home.


Reacting to the Council press release on Twitter this morning Cllr Anton Georgiou (Lib Dem Alperton) asked:


Will these be Council homes for Council tenants? Genuinely affordable family homes? Or more of the same? We need answers and clarity, not just headline figures.


The Brent Council Press Release


Deal signed to deliver more than 300 new homes in Wembley

More much-needed housing will soon be a reality following an agreement to build 304 new homes in Wembley. 


A deal was signed this week between Brent Council and Wates to deliver 250 homes on land east of Cecil Avenue, which had previously been the site of Copland School. The plan is for a high-quality, mixed-tenure courtyard development of five to nine storeys with one-bed, two-bed, three-bed and four-bed apartments and maisonettes. The new development will also house commercial units and community floorspace at street level.


Opposite this site at Ujima House, another 54 homes will be built, along with workspace units, including a café at street level.


A total of 152 homes will be made available for private sale on the Cecil Avenue site. The other 152 properties on both Cecil Avenue and Ujima House will be a mixture of affordable homes for council tenants and people on middle incomes.


Councillor Shama Tatler, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning, and Growth, said: 


“This is fantastic news for residents of this up-and-coming area. The vision is to revitalise the eastern end of the High Road of the town centre, linking the established Wembley Central to the new Wembley Park neighbourhood emerging around the stadium.”


Designated and partly funded by the Mayor of London, the Wembley Housing Zone aims to create new homes and jobs, new leisure, retail and workspaces, public realm improvements and increased accessibility for pedestrians, cyclists and road users. 


Nick Williams, Regional Managing Director at Wates, said: “Our guiding principle is that everyone deserves a great place to live, and these modern new homes will be warm, comfortable and safe to live in. Not only that but we will be working with the local community to deliver these mixed-tenure homes. This means employing the services of local businesses and people along the way to help regenerate the area and inspire a new community.”


The new development agreement represents another opportunity for Brent Council and Wates to collaborate. The two organisations are currently working together to create 99 new council homes at Church End and have recently successfully delivered 149 homes at Knowles House and Anansi House. 




Philip Grant said...

Unless the plans have changed since Brent's Cabinet gave the go-ahead for this scheme, 18 MONTHS AGO (formal agreement in August 2021, following an informal agreement a year earlier), of the 250 homes to be built at Cecil Avenue, 152 will be for private sale by Wates, 61 will be for shared ownership and only 37 will be for rent to Council tenants at London Affordable Rent level.

If Brent Council had not dallied to pursue the "developer partner" model for this Wembley Housing Zone development, they could have been building these homes at least two years ago, borrowing the money to do so at then historically low rates of interest, and had 250 homes at genuinely affordable rents nearing completion for the Brent residents in housing need who they claim is their top priority.

The Council and its Cabinet members should be judged by their actions, not by their words!

Anonymous said...

And many trees will be lost including the magnificent huge London plane tree on the corner of the High Road and Cecil Avenue.

We are very surprised that this tree does not have a tree protection order and trust this tree will not be cut down during nesting season!

It must be home to many birds, bats and insects, indeed a whole ecosystem!

Shame on Brent Council for allowing it to be removed when they have declared an environment emergency - the development could gave been designed around this wonderful tree!

Philip Grant said...

Anonymous (15 March at 09.23) has left a comment on one of my earlier Cecil Avenue guest posts (see link in article above) which asks where the green space is for this and the other new developments in the Wembley High Road area.

The answer which Brent's planning officers give, time and again, is King Eddie's Park in Park Lane. They said that it is only 400 metres away, for all the residents of the 250 homes to go to for recreation (and the 54 to be built at Ujima House).

Although it already serves the residents of much of central Wembley, it is meant to do the same for thousands more. King Eddie's Park was even given by our planners as the green open space (just 750 metres away!) which would provide for the recreation needs of residents in the 454 new homes they recommended could be squeezed onto the Wembley Park Station car park.

I hope that answers the question, even though it is a very unsatisfactory answer.

Anonymous said...

When did King Edward's Park become King Eddie's Park?

Martin Francis said...

In 1914 I guess.

Philip Grant said...

I agree that King Edward VII Park is its proper name, given when Queen Alexandra opened it in July 1914

Philip Grant said...

... but it has been commonly known as King Eddie's Park by local people for as long as I can remember.

(Sorry about the split comment. I find the keypad on my phone a bit small for my fingers!)

David Walton said...

Destruction of remaining Brent public open space in 'growth zoned' is a severance device, which certainly makes active travel around car-free South Kilburn 45 ha ever more challenging.......

Brent Brownfield registered 2022 by number for SK;

43. Granville Community Centre
49. BSESA3/ BSESA 9 Carlton House, playground and Community Centre/ Neville House, Winterleys and green open space/green public right of way PA 18/4920
56. South Kilburn Job Centre Plus PA 20/0881 (to become 19 flats). This public service re-located to Queens Park Conservation Area.
87. BSESA1. Austen House/Catholic Church/ Marian Community Centre
88. BSESA2. Blake Court/ green open space and playground
89. BSESA4. Carlton Vale Infants School
90. BSESA5. Craik Court and green open spaces
91. BSESA6. Crone and Zangwill and green open spaces/ green public right of way
92. BSESA7. Dickens House and green open spaces/ green public right of way
93. BSESA 8/ BSESA11 Hereford and Exeter and Granville Road Local Designated Public Open Space
94. BSESA 13. John Ratcliffe House
95. BSESA 14. Saville and Dunbar, green space and community centre
96. BSESA 15. Albanian Muslim Centre
97. BSESA16. OK Club/ Christian Holt House
109. BSESA 34. Kilburn Park Underground Station

167. Chippenham Gardens (52 flats) green open space 2022 renewed but halved in its size for quintuple population growth?

171. Peel Precinct/ central main public square renewal is to ¼ its original size for a quintupling of population?

Note the massive amount of green open space destruction that this new car-free active travel 'market decides' neighbourhood in Brent allows.

Labour's political priority is this growth zoned.

Anonymous said...

My family have lived here since 1958 and have always known it as King Edwards Park.

We’ve spoken to loads of current neighbours and people who have moved away at they all refer to it as King Edwards Park - none of them refer to it as King Eddies Park!!!

Anonymous said...

Brent Council's hierarchy are making such fools of themselves and missing great opportunities for a better Brent, and yet again spaffing large amounts of our money up the wall and doing a bit of Social Cleansing while they are at it. Where is the Social Housing that they imply they will build on Brent Council's land?

None of this development are at Social Housing Rents, very few are at London Affordable rents (which are £50 a week more than Social rents) the vast majority are for sale by the developer. What a wasted opportunity by these unqualified politicians who are letting down Brent's residents by their insistence on applying New Labour (Tory) values, meanwhile lining the pockets of their developer friends yet again.

David Walton said...

How about the opportunity for a new high quality active travel and safe cycling connecting of Harlesden/ Willesden through the new HS2 mega stations south into Old Oak Common Park Royal 650 ha re-development and its giant ready-made park already being enhanced and improved?

Why does Brent political always want to keep social severance and disconnect and why is Government so relaxed about that too? Surely ULEZ collect could be used to fund this new car-free travel connection route.

Philip Grant said...

For updated figures on affordable housing and homes 'for people on middle incomes' please see my guest post "Brent's Wembley Housing Zone - Some Good News", published on 22 July 2023: