Tuesday 13 June 2023

Challenge to Brent Council following Barham Park decision: What is the planning policy, relevant to application 22/4128, which dictates that if an application would not cause harm, that overrides policies such as those in the Sudbury Town Neighbourhood Plan?


Sudbury Town Neighbourhood Plan policy LGS1


 Sudbury Town Neighbourhood Plan policy BP1



Following yesterday's Planning Committee meeting Philip Grant has sent the following letter to Gerry Ansell, Brent Council's Head of Planning. (Illustrations are for the benefit of readers amd were not sent to Mr Ansell)


Dear Mr Ansell,

I watched and listened to yesterday evening's Planning Committee meeting when application 22/4128 was considered, and there was an important planning policy point which was not explained. I would ask that you do not issue a consent letter on this application until this matter has been resolved.

I will set that point out, in bold type, below, and would ask you to reply to it promptly, please, with copies to the Chair of the Planning Committee, the councillors who are probably as puzzled by this issue as I am, and the Chair of the Sudbury Town Residents' Association.

Cllr. Dixon and several other committee members asked Officers for clarification over the relative importance of the Sudbury Town Neighbourhood Plan policies in considering the application.



 Slide of site in Barham park displayed at yesterday's Planning Committee Meeting


Paragraph 30 of the National Policy Framework on Neighbourhood Plans

It was clear that Officers accepted that the application site was within the Barham Park Local Green Space, so that the Neighbourhood Plan policies LGS1, LGS2 and BP1 applied. Several other more general Local Plan policies were also relevant.

No answer appeared to be given, by either of the Planning Officers who spoke at the meeting, to the question raised over whether policy BP1 took precedence over the more general policies. However, at the end of a long answer by your Development Management Manager he appeared to state that what mattered, more than all of those policies, was that the application would not cause harm.

Planning applications have to be determined 'in accordance with the relevant planning national, strategic, local and neighbourhood policy framework.'

What is the planning policy, relevant to application 22/4128, which dictates that if an application would not cause harm, that overrides policies such as those in the Sudbury Town Neighbourhood Plan? 

Please provide the full text of that policy, as well as its source and policy number, in reply to this email. Thank you. Best wishes,

Philip Grant


Philip adds for Wembley Matters readers:



NOTE: '...The councillors who are probably as puzzled by this issue as I am', who I copied my email to, were the two Sudbury Ward councillors, Paul Lorber (Lib Dem) and Teo Benea (Labour), who spoke against the application at the meeting, Ketan Sheth (Wembley Central, Labour) the Ward councillor whose written statement against the application was read out at the meeting, and Michael Maurice (Kenton, Conservative) who as a member of the Planning Committee clearly understood the arguments involved over planning policy, and voted against the application mainly on the grounds that it went against Neighbourhood Plan policy BP1 (Above image). 

There was three-way cross-party support that the Sudbury Town Neighbourhood Plan and its policy BP1 should be upheld, yet this did not affect the votes of the seven Labour members of the Planning Committee.



David Walton said...

Looks like you should direct contact the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities on the protection not of Sudbury Neighbourhood Plan.

I know from South Kilburn that its no fun working on these government funded neighbourhood final social community-led plans, which are then Brent canceled for grey transition zone, towering, no public services, quintuple the population zoned instead.

A green transition resilience zones London and a grey transition intensive precarity zones London- the new economy where most of London gets Brexit Done. No wonder government wants to scrap the Human Rights Act.

Anonymous said...

Suggest you also raise this with Caroline Pidgeon at the London Assembly...she's helped us before with issues over buses:


"Championing high-quality, efficient public transport. Caroline is a persuasive voice in the Assembly and in the media and has delivered Lib Dem policies like the One Hour Bus Ticket and held the Mayor, TfL and Crossrail executives to account over the ongoing delays to Crossrail."

Anonymous said...

It is disheartening to witness the Labour members of the Planning Committee forsaking their roots and disregarding the Sudbury Town Neighbourhood Plan and its policy BP1, despite the three-way cross-party support for upholding it. As a Marxist, I believe this betrayal can be understood through the lens of corruption within the labour movement.

Marxist theory suggests that the capitalist system inherently promotes corruption and serves the interests of the ruling class. In this context, the Labour Party, despite its historical association with working-class struggles and socialist ideals, has increasingly become entangled in the web of capitalist influence. The allure of power, compromises, and personal gains often cloud the judgment of Labour members, leading them to abandon the principles that once drove their commitment to the working class.

In the case of the Planning Committee, the decision to override the Sudbury Town Neighbourhood Plan policies in favor of an application that supposedly "would not cause harm" reflects the prioritisation of short-term economic benefits over the long-term well-being of the community. It is likely that external pressures, such as corporate interests or the desire to attract investment, influenced the Labour members' voting behavior.

Furthermore, the lack of clarity and transparency in explaining the planning policy that supposedly overrides the Sudbury Town Neighbourhood Plan raises suspicions of backroom deals and manipulation. It is not uncommon for capitalist forces to exploit legal and bureaucratic loopholes to further their interests at the expense of ordinary people.

Marxists argue that such corruption within the labour movement stems from a failure to maintain class consciousness and revolutionary commitment. When party members become disconnected from the struggles of the working class and lose sight of the ultimate goal of overthrowing capitalism, they are more susceptible to compromise and capitulation.

To reclaim their roots and counteract the corrupting influences, Labour members must reinvigorate their commitment to socialist principles and the emancipation of the working class. This entails organising and mobilising the community, prioritising the voices and needs of the working class over capitalist interests, and developing a clear Marxist analysis of the dynamics of power and corruption within the system.

Labour members' abandonment of the Sudbury Town Neighbourhood Plan and policy BP1 can be attributed to corruption within the labour movement, influenced by capitalist forces and a lack of revolutionary commitment. To rectify this, a revitalised focus on class struggle and socialist principles is necessary to combat corruption and ensure the party remains true to its roots.

Anonymous said...

One only needs to look at the planning committee members to agree with anon 18:43

Anonymous said...

Whats the motivation of Cllr Kelcher etc to wave this through? Don’t understand how they can’t see its sensible? What next building on gladstone house site?

Anonymous said...

Brent Labour don't care about us residents - all they care about is self publicity and photocalls - future generations will sere that they squandered our green spaces in favour of tgeur developers friends.

Anonymous said...

This all stinks. The planning committee is in name only. All decisions seem to be made by the so called elite few in Labour. I.E. the leader and his cronies. Absolute disgrace how Brent us being run. Unfortunately nothing will change as the vast majority of the population in Brent don’t see that the councillors they vote for are in it for themselves.

Philip Grant said...

No sign of a reply, or even an acknowledgement, from Brent's Head of Planning yet. Perhaps he's hoping that if he ignores it, the question will go away?

Anonymous said...

Totally incomprehensible decision, well maybe not? Butt and Akram are friends of the applicant. Bagum had free tickets to the applicants fair. Mahmood and Dixon were on planet 'Buildmore' along with the patronising Kelcher. As for invisible Colleymore? One wonders if they were told the Covenant was required by the Charity Commission? Perhaps the planners didn't know or care? Also, when is a park building not a park building? When it's a residential park building?

So, maybe not incomprehensible after all? Will the Chartity Commissioners step in to protect the Titus Barham legacy?

Anonymous said...


Philip Grant said...


You may have noted that in the email I sent to Brent's Head of Planning, Gerry Ansell, on 13 June, I asked him not to issue a consent letter on application 22/4128 until the matter of what planning policy his Officers claim overrides the Sudbury Town Neighbourhood Plan Local Green Space policies has been resolved.

I have now discovered that he actually issued the consent letter to George Irvin's planning agent on 13 June, less than 24 hours after the Planning Committee decision.

To add insult to injury, the consent letter says:


1. The proposed development is in material accordance with the:-
... [other Plans, and]
Sudbury Town Neighbourhood Plan 2015'