Thursday 8 June 2023

It is time for Barry Gardiner to speak out on Barham Park and match his 2010 pledge to protect it from development


Yesterday I tweeted Barry Gardiner MP to ask him to intervene in the Barham Park issue where George Irvin has applied to build four 3 storey houses in a site in the park. The existing pair of  modest houses were originally for park workers so had a connection with the park.

Today an election leaflet from 2010, when the General Election and local elections were held on the same day,  has come to light that shows that 13 years ago the Brent North MP made an election issue of what he claimed were Lib Dem plans to build on the park:



Apparently the then Brent Council Executive (Lib Dem-Conservative Coalition) had rejected the proposal to build in the park.* 

The question now is, 'Why is Barry Gardiner silent on plans going forward to Planning Committee to build houses in the park? He could make his views known to the public and it is open to him to make representations at the Planning Committee. He could even write to the Trustees of Barham Park, chaired by Brent Council leader Muhammed Butt, to ask them to fulfill their obligation to protect the park and  enforce the covenant protecting the park from development. 

I presume Barry Gardiner still believes what he said in the 2010 leaflet, about protecting the park  - surely it cannot be just  something he said  at election time?



* In 2010 Barry Gardiner was attacking Liberal Democrat and Conservative councllors who decided to use the two empty houses in the park for decanting purposes as part of the total rebuild of the 215 crumbling flats in Roundtree and Saunderton Road council estate on the opposite side from Barham Park.

Barry Gardiner was opposing the sale of the two houses to  the Notting Hill Housing Association and claimed that Brent Council was planning to build a massive 20 storey tower (see leaflet image) block in Barham Park.

In reality I understand the then Executive was advised that Notting Hill was interested in the two houses and wanted to redevelop the site for a "small" number of flats to help with the decant while the Estate was being rebuilt. When Notting Hill overstepped the mark and proposed a block of 14 flats on the site they were turned down and the proposed sale to them was aborted.



Anonymous said...

Bet it’s Lorber who kept this, he is organised enough and would be someone who knew the “in reality” comments.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps he's planning his retirement away from Brent and simply doesn't care anymore?

Anonymous said...

Barry: 'We say NO to selling our parks.'

Wasn't it Brent Labour who sold the two houses to George Irvin after they won the 2010 local election???

Anonymous said...

It is great to see Barry Gardiner’s lies exposed by one of the Brent. North candidates in 2010 - a certain Martin Francis. With the ongoing witch hunt within the Labour Party against Corbyn supporting MPs Barry Gardiner, who was in Corbyn’s shadow Cabinet, is in hiding and would not dare to attack the policies of the right wing Labour Leader of Brent Council.

David Walton said...

Decent BG find.

But, is Barham Park red-lined as being inside one of Brent's 8 green cancelled community excluded car-free tenanted tower-by-tower zonings?

Such zoning would make Barham Park total destruction more likely.

Granville Road Public Open Space 2/3rd built on and remaining 1/3rd park refurbished as "part of the regeneration masterplan" in 2010. Today this 2010 renewed park is for 8 months kept padlocked with public use total excluded/ in 2022 Brent brownfield listed. I've seen children playing football in the road directly outside this Brent green cancel. "Harsh" as one developer said.

We say NO to selling our parks?

Anonymous said...

Don't know about Lorber but lots of people we know still had copies of the leaflet or mentioned it from before.

Not everyone in Wembley is a new resident and many have long memories.

Anonymous said...

Quite a compliment for Mr Lorber 😀

Anonymous said...

Yep in 2011 and Gardiner claimed to know nothing about it - you'd think he would've kept a close eye on this after his big campaign but why would he when he wasn't even living in Brent then?

Paul Lorber said...

Let's face it - there were never any plans to allow a 20 storey tower block in Barham Park. It was a dishonest leaflet and Barry Gardiner lied. He was happy to sacrifice truth for his election victory - as he was in 1997 when he told the voters in Brent North that they had to vote for him to save Edgware Hospital. He defeated Conservative Rhodes Boyson and Labour won - and the hospital was closed anyway with Labour in Government!

The important issue now is to persuade members of the Brent Planning Committee to REFUSE the latest planning application to allow more 'buildings' in Barham Park.

To achieve this the Members of the Planning Committee need to listen to the views of local people and the Barham family and challenge the misleading report and recommendation from their Planning Officers.

The key points are:

1. This part of Barham Park has always been Public Open Space. And as the Council has a long standing policy of protecting Public Open Spaces no further extra building in the Park should be allowed.
2. The area is covered by the Sudbury Town Neighbourhood Plan which the local Sudbury Town Residents Association organised and consulted on. Over 900 local people voted in favour of that Plan. Councillor Butt and other Labour Councillors were happy to have their photos taken at the counting of votes and claimed to support it. Policy BP1 of that plan relates to Barham Park and is very clear 'proposals for new buildings in the Park' should be REFUSED!

The Neighbourhood Plans were encouraged as a way of involving local people in shaping their area. It took STRA a long time to create one and it was the 1st one in Brent. What is the point of such a plan when Council Planning Officers are telling Councillors to ignore Policy BP1 and the views of local people?

3. The two Houses in the Park were built as homes for Council staff working in Barham Park. In those days Barham Park had a garden nursery where plants were grown for Parks across Brent. There was therefore a close link between those houses and the Park. For a while in 2009/10 the houses were converted to a Children Centre while a permanent Children Centre facility was being built with in the then Council run Barham Park Library. This is another justified link as the houses were used to provide a local community service.

No such links exist now as the proposed 4 houses are intended purely for private rental.

4. The Park is owned by the Barham Park Trust Charity as a result of the charitable endowment from Titus Barham. It was a gift "for the enjoyment of local people". The Charity is managed by Brent Council.

In 2009 Council Officers recommended the sale of the two houses because they were in a poor state and the charity did not have any money to refurbish them. They also saw an opportunity to raise £630,000 from sale to be used for other essential improvements in the Park and its old buildings.

The proposal was revised after change of control of Brent Council and was completed under the new Labour Administration. The sale was just for the houses and NOT for any further development. This clear intent was protected by insisting that the purchaser enter into a restrictive covenants in favour of the Barham Park Charity and any other beneficiaries. The current owners of the two houses have made a number of planning applications for the site of the two houses, including the latest one despite signing the Covenant agreement and knowing the wishes of the Barham Park Charity and the Council Policy of protecting its Parks and Open Spaces.

For al of the above reasons the latest Planning Application should be REFUSED in line with Policies of the Sudbury Town Neighbourhood Plan and of the Council dealing with protection of Parks and Open Spaces.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9 June 2023 at 08:26

More likely this is being driven by the ultra right wing Labour Councillor Towerblock Tatler who is the Cabinet Lead for Regeneration in Brent Council, I bet she'd try to build in your back garden if she could, that is if she hasn't already.

Some say Councillor Towerblock (whose dad is a builder isn't he, or is it only rentals now) thinks she can solve the countries housing shortage all on her own in Brent. It's a shame she mainly helps build investment properties for foreign investors, student accommodation, hotels, Airbnd, serviced flats etc. That's great for foreign students, holidaymakers, foreign investors etc, but not much use for the residents of Brent who are on the housing waiting list or in unsuitable and poor quality temporary accommodation and its costing us all a small fortune and making Brent poorer by the day.

Anonymous said...

As an observer concerned about the development in Barham Park and the actions of Barry Gardiner and the Labour Party, I can't help but question their approach to protecting public spaces and serving the interests of the community.

The proposed construction of four three-story houses in Barham Park raises important questions about the priorities of urban development in our society. It seems that profit motives often take precedence over the needs and desires of local communities. This commodification of public land and the potential for gentrification are troubling trends that deserve attention.

What concerns me even more is the apparent inconsistency in the actions and statements of politicians like Barry Gardiner. I read thr election leaflet where Gardiner vehemently criticised the Liberal Democrat and Conservative coalition for their alleged plans to build on the park. However, his silence and inaction on the current development proposal are puzzling.

Shouldn't he be using his platform to advocate for the protection of the park and make his views known to the public?

This brings to light a broader issue with mainstream political parties. It often seems like they operate within the confines of the existing system, prioritising electoral success and compromise over radical change. While Gardiner may have expressed opposition to the development in the past, his current stance raises doubts about his commitment to the cause.

Additionally, the involvement of housing associations and the proposed construction of flats further highlight the pressing housing issues we face. Affordable housing has become increasingly inaccessible for working-class individuals and families, resulting in housing crises across the country. While the rejection of the 14-flat proposal may be seen as a minor victory, it fails to address the underlying systemic issues that perpetuate the commodification of housing and the lack of affordable options for those in need.

it is essential that we critically examine the actions and motivations of politicians and political parties when it comes to urban development and the protection of public spaces. We need to foster a more transformative approach that prioritises the interests of the community over profit. By analysing the power dynamics at play and holding our representatives accountable, we can work towards creating a society that truly serves the needs of its citizens.

Anonymous said...

You can analyse the power dynamics all you want, but you wont be able to hold Butt and his cronies to account while he has so much power!!!

Anonymous said...

This is unacceptable! The only green part around Wembley! You should think about our children and where they can plat 😡😡😡

Anonymous said...

History will show who ruined Wembley - Cllr Mo Butt and his fellow Labour Councillors 😞

Anonymous said...

We have been using Barham Park for such a long time. This open and green space is absolutely vital for people living in and around, specially those living in flats.
The proposed buildings will be eyesores. Sudbury Town as it is so crowded. It doesn’t need anymore building. This is only going to put pressure on services. All we need is a safe green space to get a break. Taking that away from local people for financial gains shows their neglecting and indifferent attitude towards people inSudbury. We really oppose any proposal of building new flats in Barham park.

Anonymous said...

The only big green space we have for us and our children. Allowing more buildings will not only ruin the park but will also put a great pressure on local services.

Anonymous said...

Re my comment above 'Perhaps he's planning his retirement away from Brent and simply doesn't care anymore?' - to be clear I mean Mr Gardiner not Mr Lorber

Paul Lorber said...

For the avoidance of doubt (and to reassure anyone concerned) the only "planning" I am organising at the moment is my attendance at the Planning Committee on Monday 12 June 2023 to speak in support of local residents who want to protect Barham Park for "the enjoyment of local people".