Wednesday 7 June 2023

Barham family urge Planning Committee to protect Titus Barham's gift to the people of Wembley that stipulated 'his gardens should be used for the enjoyment of local people and nothing else'


Letter published with permission

Dear Councillor Kelcher,

I am writing on behalf of the Barham family to object to the building of even more houses within Barham Park.

As you will know Barham Park was the family home of the Barham family from around 1895 to 1937. From 1913 it was the home of Titus Barham and his wife Florence who spent a great deal of time and money to plant and improve the gardens. While it was a gated and fenced private home and gardens Titus would open it to the public on a regular basis. As supporters and founders of the then recently built Wembley Hospital, Titus and Florence held many fundraising events in their home and gardens.

As you will also know Titus and his wife were major benefactors, supporting many worthwhile causes in Wembley and Sudbury. In recognition of this Titus was selected to become the Charter Mayor of the newly formed Wembley Borough Council. Sadly he died on the very day the Charter was to come into effect.

Prior to his death in 1937 Titus had arranged to gift his home and gardens expressly “for the enjoyment of local people” . This gift became Barham Park.

As you will also know this charitable endowment placed responsibility on Wembley, and later Brent Councils, to manage and look after the Park in the best interests of local people.

The two houses in the Park close to the railway were built specifically to house Parks Department workers who helped to maintain and look after the Park. The building of those two houses, although maybe questionable at the time, could be justified because of the link with the Park and it’s purpose. No such link exists now and will not certainly exist if and when the two houses are replaced by the proposed 4 taller buildings whose sole purpose is not to house Parks Department workers working in Barham Park, but simply to generate a rental income for their owners.

I also understand that the Council has had a long-standing policy of protecting Parks from intrusive development. While the original building of the two houses may have been questionable the proposed building of 4 larger and taller houses is an affront to the wishes of Titus Barham.

As Councillors, you and members of the Planning Committee reflect on the action of one of your predecessors, namely Titus who was a Wembley Councillor for 4 years, and continue to respect and protect his generosity specifically for the enjoyment of local people.

On behalf of the Barham family I would therefore urge you and your Council colleagues to REJECT the latest Planning Application and to uphold Titus Barham’s express wish that his gardens should be used for the enjoyment of local people and nothing else.

Please present my appeal as outlined in this message to all Councillors in Brent and especially to the members of the Brent Planning Committee.

Yours sincerely

Allan Barham
On behalf of the Barham family



Philip Grant said...

The Barham Park Trust Committee are the custodians of Titus Barham's gift of his home and its grounds to the people of Wembley.

The new Borough of Wembley Council named those grounds Barham Park, when they were permanently opened to the public in January 1938, in honour of Allan Barham's ancestor.

The present Members of the Trust Committee, the Leader of Brent Council and four of his Cabinet colleagues, either don't know about the history of the bequest they hold, in trust, for the local community, or they don't care about it.

Either way, Barham Park deserves trustees who do know, and do care.

Anonymous said...

Amazing contribution. The Barham Family views should override any misguided recommendation from Brent Planning officers and this planning application should be REFUSED.

As COVID showed - our Parks are crucial for everyone’s health and well-being and should be protected at all cost. Attempts by Labour Councillors to allow more houses to be built in Parks to meet unrealistic housing targets are misguided and should be dropped.

Anonymous said...

These houses won't even help those local people waiting for housing - instead the developer will make a fortune with the help of his Brent Labour friends who sold off the two houses to him secretly at an auction that none of us local people knew anything about.

David Walton said...

Powerful stuff.

If only the Cullen family, South Kilburn's C19 landowners could re-state their gifting of South Kilburn Public Open Space to Kilburn's people.

Pandemics happen and Brent's parks are all 'stay local' key resilience infrastructure needed, especially if a population growth fact like the new car-free Great Western tenanted towers 6 borough city (Brent Cross to Brentford, Westfield to Wembley) is acknowledged and factored in as being real, only Barnet has stepped up on that planning London to 2050 challenging truth so far.

Anonymous said...

I strongly support Allan Barham's objection to the proposed plans by the Labour Council for the building of more houses within Barham Park. This objection is rooted in the understanding that private property and capitalist interests often come at the expense of the common good and the needs of the working class.

The two houses originally built in the park served a purpose related to its maintenance and were justified due to their connection to the park's function. However, the proposed replacement of these houses with four taller buildings solely for generating rental income goes against the original intent of the park's endowment and the wishes of Titus Barham. It prioritises profit-seeking over the enjoyment and well-being of local people.

This disregard by labour not only undermines the principles of responsible governance but also disrespects the generosity of Titus Barham, who dedicated his life to the welfare of the community.

The proposed plans reflect the prioritisation of private interests and profit motives, rather than the well-being of the working class. I call upon all councillors in Brent, particularly the members of the Brent Planning Committee, to consider the historical significance of Barham Park, the intentions of its benefactor, and the detrimental effects of prioritising capitalist profit over the common good. Let us stand together to protect and preserve public spaces for the benefit of all, in alignment with the spirit of Titus Barham's generosity and the ideals of a just and equitable society.

Philip Grant said...

Dear Anonymous (7 June at 16:49),

While I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments over the need to preserve Barham Park, without having the new houses proposed by planning application 22/4128 built inside it, I must correct your suggestion that these plans have been proposed 'by the Labour Council'.

The application proposing this scheme is from George Irvin, in the name of one of the companies which he and his family control.

There are strong suspicions (but as far as I am aware, no firm evidence) that certain senior Labour members of the Council are in favour of Mr Irvin's plans, and a fear that they may try to influence the Planning Committee's decision in favour of accepting the application.

However, members of the Planning Committee have a duty to decide applications on the basis of planning policy. I hope they will remember that, because the planning policy, along with material considerations such as the nature of Titus Barham's bequest and the continued wishes of his family over that, shows that the application should be refused.

In their Report to the Committee, Planning Officers have got it wrong on the relevant planning policy, but I have pointed out this error to them. It remains to be seen how those Officers will respond to my objection comment and email to the Head of Planning (I've not received any response so far).

It also remains to be seen how individual Planning Committee members vote when it comes to a decision on Monday evening. That will show how much, or how little, Labour councillors can be trusted by the people they are supposed to represent.

Anonymous said...

When Brent Council sold these 2 properties, in an auction that none of us residents knew anything about, they added a legal restrictive Covenant to the Deeds to stop any future redevelopment of the site.

None of us residents have heard that they want to remove this Covenant - any proposal to do this should surely have been logged as an item on the agenda on the Barham Park Trust Committee meeting minutes?

Us residents of Wembley request that the Council and the charity commission uphold this legal restrictive Covenant which protects the gift of this historic and vital green space, which was given to us by Titus Barham - please Brent Council and Brent Councillors do the right thing and prevent any further redevelopment of the two properties at 776 & 778 Harrow Road. The 2 houses should remain as they are.

Sapna Chadha said...

I agree wholly with this.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Perhaps the park should be given back to the Barham family who would value it, not like this Labour Council who don't care about anything but their ambitions/careers.

Anonymous said...

The descendants of the Barham family ought to have automatic Trustee status with full voting rights to the Trust.