The Barham Park Trust Committee has often been under scrutiny, most recently over its role in the current proposal to build 4 3 storey houses in Barham Park. Currently the Committee is made up of Cabinet members, chaired by Brent Council leader Muhammed Butt,
The Brent Liberal Democrat Group is proposing an amendment to the Brent Council constitution, to be heard at the AGM on Wednesday, that would make the Trustees more accounable to local people and improve transparency.
Barham Park used to be the home of a number of local benefactors - from 1801 until 1872 by the Copland family and from mid 1890s until 1937 by the Barham family.
The Copland sisters built a local cottage hospital, a local church school, a training institute and library and paid for the building of St John’s Church on the Sudbury end of Wembley High Road.
The Barham family, who created Express Dairies, owned farms and businesses in the local area and throughout London. Titus Barham contributed land and money to the Sylvester Road Tennis & Squash Club, a Snooker Club in Harrow Road (both are still active 100 years later), raised money and provided the land for Wembley Hospital. Barham Primary school sits on former Barham farmland.
Titus Barham was to be the first Charter Mayor of newly formed Wembley Borough Council but sadly died on the very day the Charter was due to be awarded in July 1937.
His greatest bequest to our area was however the gift of his substantial Home and Gardens for the “enjoyment of local people”. That gift became Barham Park, and it is where the Barham Veterans Club was created in 1946 and Barham Park Library opened in 1952.
The Veterans Club still exists but the public library was closed in 2011.
Most of the rest of the buildings have been leased to ACAVA for 29 artist studios. Barham Community Library run by volunteers moved into part of the building in 2016 and Nepalese ex Gurkha organisation now occupy another part.
The Council holds the Charitable endowment through the Barham Park Charity. The 5 Trustees of this charity are members of the Council Executive.
The Park and its buildings are part of the Council’s Parks portfolio. Because of the bequest the Council holds the Park on Trust for the benefit of local people.
The Park and its buildings are in need of investment. In recent years there have been long running deliberations on what needs doing with very little progress.
The Barham Park Trust Committee meets infrequently, and decisions made by officers under delegated authority are in effect dealt in secret without any effective scrutiny.
Despite the Park being gifted for the enjoyment of local people - local people are not involved and feel neglected.
To address this we resolve to:
Create a Barham Park Consultative Group with the role of oversight and scrutiny of the management of the Park and its buildings.
The Group will be supported by officers of the Council and meet 4 times per year.
The membership will be chosen from representatives of local residents and current tenants of the building. Local Councillors will be able to attend but not have any voting rights. The chair of the Group will be elected from the resident members.
The main purpose of the Group will be to scrutinise the running and management of the Park and its buildings, review decisions proposed by the Trustees and Officers and to make suggestions and raise any issues.
The full terms of reference for the Group to be drafted by legal officers and agreed at an early meeting of the Constitutional Working Group.
Proposed by the Brent Liberal Democrat Group