Monday 31 July 2023

UPDATE: Thames Water: Statement re low pressure or no water in NW2 and NW10

 07.49 Update 01/08

 (Ed - Actually no change)

Thank you for letting us know about no water and low pressure in NW2 and NW10.

Our specialist engineers have now arrived and are working hard to get your water supply back to normal as quickly as possible. As soon as we have an update, we’ll let you know.

We're sorry if this has disrupted your day and will update this page when we have more news.


18.15 31/07

Thank you for letting us know about no water and low pressure in NW2 and NW10.

Our specialist engineers have now arrived and are working hard to get your water supply back to normal as quickly as possible. As soon as we have an update, we’ll let you know.

We're sorry if this has disrupted your day and will update this page when we have more news.

TfL confirms 79 and 83 bus route changes after consultation

 From Transport for London

Alperton and Stonebridge Park - Proposed changes to bus routes 79 and 83

Consultation has concluded

Update 31 July 2023 

Today we have published our consultation report following this consultation.

We received 256 responses to the consultation and would like to thank everyone that took part. A range of views were expressed in response to consultation. Generally, the feedback was positive with overall support for the proposals.

Following careful consideration of the consultation responses, we have decided to proceed with the proposed changes to bus routes 79 and 83 as set out in the consultation.

The service changes are expected to take place during 2023  (Autumn) . Any changes will be supported with customer information in advance, and with minimal disruption to current bus journeys.

Thank you again to everyone that took part.

Executive Summary of Consultation Report

Between 6 March and 16 April 2023, we held a public consultation proposing
changes to bus routes 79 and 83 in the Alperton and Stonebridge Park areas of the London Borough of Brent.

Our aim was to adapt and develop the local bus network to support increased
demand for buses along Mount Pleasant and Beresford Avenue. It also aimed to
maintain bus links between Alperton Station and Sainsbury’s while creating new bus links between there and Kingsbury, West Hendon and Hendon. The proposals are summarised below:

• Route 79 - proposing extension of the route to serve Stonebridge Park
Station via Ealing Road, Mount Pleasant and Beresford Avenue. As a result,
the 79 would no longer serve bus stops between Ealing Road and Alperton,

• Route 83 – proposed extension of the route from its current end point at
Alperton Station to a new end point at Alperton Sainsbury’s

We received 256 responses to the consultation. Of these, 254 were from members
of the public and two were from stakeholders.

The consultation sought to understand what respondents thought about the changes.

We also asked two closed questions asking people to let us know how often they
travelled on the bus routes in scope, and how they believed the proposals may affect their bus journey.

A total of 196 responded to the question about how the proposals may affect
passengers bus journeys. Of these, 74 per cent of respondents believed their bus
journey would be more convenient.

Generally, feedback was positive with overall support for the proposals. Supportive comments included alternative route suggestions and a general view the bus routes should run more frequently. Comments in opposition to the proposals were minimal and were related to traffic congestion and associated increased pollution and journey reliability if additional buses are introduced to Mount Pleasant, Beresford Avenue and Ealing Road.

Friday 28 July 2023

Opening Wembley’s Olympic Games, 75 years ago today – 29th July 1948

 Guest post by local historian Philip Grant



1. Local club athletes escorting the Olympic Torch through Wembley Park. (Source: Brent Archives)

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the opening ceremony of the 1948 Summer Olympic Games, which was held at Wembley Stadium, so I thought you might like to get a flavour of that day. The lighting of the Olympic flame was actually the climax of the ceremony, so I will start at the beginning.


2.     Opening Ceremony programme. (Source: Brent Archives)


The ceremony began at 2.30pm, and all the tickets had been sold, so people began arriving for the event well before it started. Most came along the recently opened Olympic Way.


3.     Crowds heading to the stadium for the Opening Ceremony, 29 July 1948. (Source: Brent Archives)


The ceremony got underway with the teams from the 59 nations taking part in the Games entering the stadium. Greece, as the originator of the ancient games, led the way, followed by the others in alphabetical order, with Great Britain, as the hosts, bringing up the rear.


4.     The Czechoslovakian team parading round the athletics track, followed by Denmark.
(Screenshot from a colour film of the 1948 Olympic Games)


Each team was led by a Boy Scout from a Wembley troop, carrying a banner with the nation’s name. Other local scouts were sitting on the grass beside the track, ready to play their part later in the afternoon. 


5.     The teams assembled in the centre of the stadium. (Screenshot from a colour film)


As the teams reached the back straight, they were guided into position, so that they formed columns behind their name and flag. All 59 national flags were also flying from flagpoles around the top of the stadium, as they would throughout the Games. It was a hot and sunny afternoon, and the temperature in the centre of the stadium was around 35ºc. The first casualty of the Games was the scout holding the banner for Bermuda, who feinted and had to be helped by local St John’s Ambulance Brigade first aiders. Another scout was brought in to take his place.


6.     King George VI declares the Games open. (Image from the internet)


At 4pm, King George VI, who had taken the salute from the Royal Box as the teams paraded past, declared the fourteenth Olympiad of the modern era open. The Boy Scouts around the track then released 7.000 pigeons from wicker baskets The pigeons, symbolising peace, circled the stadium several times to get their bearings, then flew away to their home roosts.


7.     Some of the pigeons flying above the stadium. (Screenshot from a colour film)


Anticipation was now rising, as the Olympic torch relay, which had begun at Mount Olympus in Greece 12 days earlier, was nearing the stadium. The torch had arrived at Dover the previous evening, and runners had carried it through the night, along a route designed for it to arrive at the stadium at 4.07pm!


 8.     Map of the torch relay route, from a 28 July newspaper. (Source: Brent Archives)


Large crowds of local people, and a 21-gun salute (which helped to scare the pigeons away from the stadium!), had greeted the Olympic torch as it was carried up Olympic Way. The relay torch (later given to the Mayor of Wembley, and now in Brent Museum) was used to light the ceremonial torch which took the flame into the stadium.


9.     The Olympic torch relay on its final leg up Olympic Way. (Image from the internet)


A Cambridge University athlete, John Mark, had the honour of carrying the torch into the stadium. After a steady run around the track, with the 80,000 crowd and several thousand competitors watching him, he ran up a short ramp and lit the Olympic flame.


10.  John Mark lighting the Olympic flame at Wembley. (Image from the internet)


A massed choir sang the Olympic hymn, and then the flag-bearers from the 59 competing nations gathered round a rostrum, from which Donald Finlay, the Great Britain team captain, took the Olympic oath. On behalf of all the competitors, he swore to take part in the Games ‘in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams.


11.    Donald Finlay taking the Olympic oath at the Opening Ceremony. (Image from the internet)


The Opening Ceremony concluded, and the stadium was made ready for the start of the athletics events the following day. 


12.  The Starter, getting athletes “set” for a heat of the 100 metres on 30 July.
(Screenshot from a colour film)


Wembley’s 1948 Olympic Games” had begun! I wrote a short piece earlier this month about an illustrated talk with that title I was giving. I will be presenting the talk again at a Brent Libraries “coffee morning” event, at Ealing Road Library on Tuesday 3 October, 11am to 12noon. If you are interested, and are free that day, you will be very welcome to come along. Check the Brent Culture Service Eventbrite site nearer the time, to reserve your place.

Philip Grant.


Medical Centre in Harlesden responds to allegation they are breaking guidelines over charging for copies of patient records


The Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group has taken up what they see as over-charging by a Harlesden medical practice, Freuchen Medical Centre,  for printouts of people's medical records. It is difficult for people to access disability benefits, especially with an invisible illness, unless they have proof of their conditions. Claimants understand the importance of documentation and are forced to pay  the fee for a copy of their records.  KUWG say the practice is full of people who have no money at all and no understanding of the system, with a large immigrant and refugee client base, and to whom this illegal fee will be acting as a very effective barrier.

In the letter sent to the practice in December 2022, KUWG said: 

It is most surprising that your Data Protection Officer seems unaware of the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018 with regards to patients access to their medical records. Perhaps you might bring their attention to the BMA guidance on access to medical records, which is available in full as a PDF download from the BMA website at


For your convenience, here is a copy of the relevant paragraphs:


4.8Can a fee be charged?


“Initial access must be provided free of charge (including postage costs) unless the request is ‘manifestly unfounded’ or ‘excessive’ – in which case a ‘reasonable’ fee can be charged. These circumstances are likely to be rare and should be assessed on a case by case basis.


The ICO has advised us that a request may be deemed ‘manifestly unfounded’ if the requestor makes it clear they are only requesting the information to cause disruption to the organisation or if the requestor makes completely unsubstantiated accusations against the controller. If however, the requestor has some form of genuine intention in obtaining their information, it is unlikely the request could be deemed as manifestly unfounded.


A request could be deemed as ‘excessive’ if an individual was to receive information via a subject access request (SAR), and then request a copy of the same information within a short period of time. In this scenario, the organisation could charge a reasonable fee based on the administrative costs of providing further copies or refuse the request.”

The KUWG had  not received a response so Wembley Matters yesterday asked Freuchen Medical Centre for a statement on the allegations. They responded:

With reference to youe allegations and information surrounding GDPR and Data Protecvtion 2018, subject access requests and patient access to medical records. We acknowledge these and are aware of these regulations. These are clearly documented and followed in our practice policy.

All patients have the right to access their medical records, whether electronically or in printer form. However, for patients who are deemed to have requsted excessively and wish to request printed copies, there is an administration fee associated with the service. The fee is necessary to cover the costs of printing paper and ink, as well as adminstrative time involved, as this is not covered by the NHS,

Our primary goal is to ensure that patients have convenient access to their medical information, and we encourage the use of electronic records as a more sustainable and cost-effective option. Nevertheless, we understand that some patients may have specific preferences or needs that require require physical copies.

Unfortunately, without further information surrounding the specific case it is difficult to comment further.

We are extremely mindful of the socio-economic deprivation prevalent in the area in which we operate, with multiple vulnerable groups. Charges for non-Nhs work which falls outside of our contractuak obligations are completed in order to help these  vulnerable groups, often without any charges being applied to them.

Commenting on the statement KUWG said

The fact that they have a reason for breaking the provisions of the Data Protection Act doesnt make it legal or correct. Anyone breaking a law will have a reason. The guidelines are clear.
In most GP practices if you ask for a copy of your summary care record it is done on demand at the click of a button by the receptionist and involves no more than 3 pages of printing. Even if they were allowed to charge a fee, £5 is exorbitant for a minute's work and between one and 3 pages of printing. 
Where people want a full printout of their records this can more be problematic for the surgery because there can be a great many pages, and many practices ask for the full amount of time given under the Data Protection Act ie 40 days. But the Act still says that this should be provided for free. We note the response from the practice states that the fee is only for people who 'prefer to receive printed copies' but nowhere on the price list is it stated that they are offering a free digital alternative. This is irrelevant but surprising. They do have a right to charge what they like for copies of any data that is not held elecronically and which needs to be scanned and printed by hand, like specialist reports from hospitals but that's all. They also have a right to charge for letters. But not for printouts of people's data.


BREAKING: Yusuf Islam breaks silence on Islamia Primary School move and announces postponement of decision until a review of south Brent schools has been carried out

In a letter today  to parents and guardians of Islamia Primary School, Yusuf Islam confirmed an agreement with Brent Council to postpone a decision on the school’s site until a further review of primary schools in the south of the borough has been carried out.


Dear Parents / Guardians, Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah

Whoever is mindful of Allah, He will make a way out for them, and provide for them from sources they could never imagine.” (Qur’an 65:2-3)

I begin by wishing everyone the best of blessings for this new Islamic year, 1445H. May Allah swt make it a year of peace, success, and progress for all associated with our schools, organisations and the community beyond.

As many of you are aware, the Foundation has been working for a long time with the Board of Governors, in consultation with Brent Council, to progress arrangements for a bigger and better home for Islamia Primary School. This story goes back to 2007, when we first helped the local authority to accommodate extra children coming from the closure of the Avenue School. I would like to acknowledge the efforts of your dedicated Governors to ensure that an appropriate outcome is achieved.

Last week, I had a meeting with the Leader and Chief Executive of Brent Council to discuss the issue face to face. They ideally wanted a decision about the proposed site on Strathcona Road by Friday 21 July. Al- hamdulillah, we were able to obtain an agreement to put off that decision until a further review of schools in the south of the borough.

During the meeting, I advised the Leader that the Foundation has agreed to extend the school’s stay at Salusbury Road until at least the end of the next academic year, 2024, to provide additional time for the local authority to identify any possible alternative sites.

As a result of this extension, we were assured by the local authority that the funds allocated for the school’s relocation would remain secure and available for the primary school until at least the end of this year, by which time we will be able to review other possibilities they may come up with.

Insha Allah, we will have a wonderful opportunity to provide IPS with a new home that offers modern facilities and resources. This is the least that the pupils, parents, and staff of the school deserve after having to cope with the difficulties caused by the split-site arrangement (Winkworth Hall) for well over a decade.

At the same time, we continue to work on ambitious plans to modernise the Salusbury Road site for our secondary schools as part of a comprehensive long-term vision. We have had to keep these plans on hold for 15 years, so that we could accommodate the needs of the primary school, but it is now time for us to move forward with more determination for those plans.

Twenty-five years ago, we made history by becoming the first Muslim government aided school in this country. Many parents today are not fully aware of the immense struggle we had to go through to secure state funding. But Allah is the Granter of success.

This is the 40th anniversary year of our school’s opening, and I believe that we are at the doorstep of another milestone, insha Allah. As we know, Allah promises “with hardship comes ease” (Qur’an 94:5-6). 


Islamia Primary parent, Jamad Guled, was contacted by Wembley Matters for an assessment of what this means for Islamia families:

There is a sense of relief among the parent body. We all remember the initial tone of the consultation. The move to Strathcona sounded inevitable back then and if it did not materialise the only other proposed outcome would have been the closure of the school. As parents and stakeholders we were extremely alarmed and we have raised our concerns with the school governors and Brent Council.

This communication is far more positive and acknowledges the need for a local solution which is paramount to current families. It also recognises the the importance of preserving this extraordinary school. This is reassuring in many ways and we hope that the Yusuf Islam Foundation, IPS Governing Body and Brent Council will take into account stakeholders' views and will work together to find a satisfactory local solution so that children are not left behind.


Brent youngsters' design project wins major award

 Edited Press Release

Seen & Heard and its legacy project the Apprenticeship in City Design, a collaboration between the London School of Economic (LSE), Wembley Park developers, Quintain, and the London Borough of Brent, has won the ‘Young people co-creating public spaces’ award at the annual Eurocities Awards.


The annual Eurocities Awards recognise cities’ outstanding achievements in improving quality of life for local people, addressing Europe’s challenges at every level.


Seen & Heard and the Apprenticeship gave young people aged 16-24 a voice in the design and management of their local public spaces at Wembley Park.The outcome includes Samovar Space, a purpose-built area at the foot of the Olympic Steps and Wembley Stadium, designed for and by young people as part of the Apprenticeship in City Design.


The young people in Samovar Space


Samovar Space is an inclusive space designed for and by young. The aim was to design a place to ‘just be’. It features dining, shelter and collaborative areas, including a purpose-built platform that will play host to events for young people throughout the year.


The engagement with young people sustained over four years and sees young adults aged 16-24, who are often overlooked by conventional development and planning, working with architects and developers to co-create spaces and places that are welcoming for them. 


Ricky Burdett, Director, LSE Cities, said:  

It’s rare that the Mayor, a local authority, a developer, a university and a youth group get together to develop a long-term project to engage young people in shaping their environment and to raise the level of understanding of what it means to design and make a public space that really works. This initiative has set new standards for public realm in London. The LSE has been delighted to be involved.


Quintain funded the project as part of Brent’s year as the Mayor of London’s Borough of Culture 2020, including six paid opportunities to learn through practice at the LSE. Participants worked with experts on processes and policies for the management of public spaces and are also worked on real-life examples of truly inclusive spaces across Wembley Park. The first of these, Samovar Space, was completed last year, with another, White Horse Square, due to open in 2024.


Julian Tollast, Head of Masterplanning and Design, Quintain, added:


It is a sad fact that young people are often overlooked when it comes to the built environment. With this in mind, we are extremely proud of the work we have done, and are continuing to do, via Seen & Heard to make Wembley Park and the wider area a more welcoming place for all. To succeed at these awards and represent not only the Borough of Brent but London as well was an honour for all involved.


Seen & Heard competed against projects from across Europe for the prize category, including the Overlooked exhibition at Leeds City Museum and Hej! an open and inclusive youth space co-create in Lublin, Poland.


About Seen & Heard

Seen and Heard was a Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture project commissioned by Metroland Cultures, delivered by The Blueprint Collective

Thursday 27 July 2023

UPDATED WITH NEW RESPONSES AND COMMENTS: Brent's new recycling system: Some questions and answers

Residents are receiving letters about the new recycling arrangements that will operate in Brent from October 1st.

Here are the details as they appear on the Council website:

The recycling collection changes will start from 1 October 2023

How you recycle and what you put your recyclable items in, is going to change later this year. This aims to reduce our impact on the environment, by increasing the amount of recycling we do in the borough and improving the quality of what we recycle.

What is changing

From 1 October 2023 you will need to separate your paper and cardboard out from your other recyclable items and place them in your new blue sack.

You should carry on using your blue-lidded recycling bin for all other mixed recycling (glass, cans, plastics and cartons).

All households, who currently have their own blue-lidded recycling bin, will shortly receive a free weatherproof and durable 90-litre blue sack for paper and cardboard items.

Your blue sack will be delivered ahead of collections starting. It will be left outside your property in a convenient place and a flyer will come through the door. Do not put it out for collection until the changes take affect on 1 October.

If you use communal shared bins (often those who live in flats), you will not receive a blue sack and should continue to recycle paper and cardboard in the same way.

How to use the blue recycling sack

  • Place any carboard and paper in the blue recycling sack ahead of your collection date.
  • Seal the sack using the Velcro-strapped lid on all three opening sides to protect the contents.
  • Before 7am on the scheduled collection day, put your sacks as close to the street as possible (where you would usually place your recycling bin).
  • If your blue recycling sack becomes full, you can put any excess paper and card in a bundle next to the sack on your collection day.

The sack can be folded and stored inside when not in use or kept outside by your other bins where there is space to do so.

Collection times

You will still receive a weekly recycling collection service – however, your sack and your blue-lidded bin will be collected on alternate weeks. We will provide you with a full calendar detailing your new service in September 2023, ahead of the changes.

Frequently asked questions

I currently receive assistance with my waste collections. Will this continue? 

Yes. Assisted collections will continue as normal. Your blue sack should be presented and put back in the same place as your other bins.

What happens if my blue sack collection is missed? 

Your blue recycling sack can be collected at any time up to 10pm on the day it is due to be collected. Do not report a missed bin before this time.

Please do not place paper and card in your blue-lidded bin, as collections crews will not collect these bins on the same week as the blue sack.

Can I order more blue sacks for paper and card?

We hope the size should be enough for your needs, if after use, you do need an additional sack, these can be ordered online and will need approving.

New small items collection service

From 1 October we will also be launching a free bookable small items collection, including:

  • Textiles
  • Small electricals
  • Batteries
  • Paint
  • Coffee pods

We will provide more information closer to the date.


Some residents have asked about the blue sack's dimensions - the capacity is   90 litres and the internal dimensions are 36 x 42 x 60 cms.

Contaminated card and paper (such as pizza boxes with residual food) should be put in the grey waste bin.

As stated on the website for those with high rates of cardboard, perhaps because of a high number of deliveries due to immobolity, extra bags can be ordered. I assume this will also apply to households who read a large number of newspapers.

One family who took part in the initial pilot said:

We gave feedback that it was really difficult to undertake. We have an overcrowded kitchen & have nowhere to put another bag. Already sorting organic food waste, general recycling and  normal bin! Apart from space who has the time?! We support recycling but this is unworkable!

Another commented: 

I think if you get one large appliance delivered the card won't fit and will end up in the grey bin. In my household I suspect we would fill several in an average week, especially as so much of purchases are delivered nowadays. I do want to recycle, but I think this won't work. I wonder if Brent has tested it anywhere. I also wonder if water will get in the top when it's stacked outside.

A problem for us is that there is no space in the house to keep it. (I live with a hoarder) Once it's outside it could get filled of rainwater.

According to the website you can seal the lid of the bag  against rainwater but I suppose that may not be possible if a large amount of cardboard protrudes. The new system was tested in a pilot and there was a consultation that was challenged at Sccrutiny Call-in. LINK

The trial of a fourth bin in appropriate households, instead of a sack, has been postponed until September 2024. LINK

 The introduction of a bookable small item collection seemed to be positively received but one respondent pointed out that this would put an additional vehicle on the road.

Brent Council kindly provided some further information on these points and other issues:

With regards to additional recycling, the crews will collect large cardboard items left beside the blue sack. It’s also worth noting that with the paper and cardboard removed from the blue lidded recycling bin, there will be extra capacity in the recycling bin for more containers.


Residents will be able to request additional blue sacks but it is important to note that requests will be assessed prior to approval.


Regarding the vehicle for the small items collection service, the service will be combined with the clinical waste collections so there will not be an extra vehicle. Even if an extra vehicle is required in future the environmental benefits arising from the diversion of these items from general waste will greatly outweigh the environmental impact of their transportation.


Here is some further information which you might find helpful:

We considered a range of factors in deciding to roll out the blue sack from 1 October to all kerbside households in Brent, and I have set these out below.


Firstly, we took into account the results of the trial itself, which saw an increase in usage with the sack from 50% in the first week to 71% in the eighth week, with an exceptionally low contamination rate of 1% (i.e. wrong material put in the sack). The trial indicated that we will achieve a higher recycling rate with these changes, which will be both better for the environment and help the council save money to protect vital services for our most vulnerable residents.


Secondly, the overall success of the trial was borne out by the results of a survey that a market research company carried out on our behalf in February, with 10% of households that participated in the trial (500 households). The key findings of the survey were:


·           Almost three quarters of households interviewed said they strongly engaged with the recycling trial (73%)

·           More people were satisfied with the trial than those who were not – more than a third (36%) rated the recycling trial as good or excellent; a quarter (24%) rated their experience as poor or very poor

·           More than 8 in every 10 felt informed about how to participate in the trial and agreed it was clear what materials needed to be separated

·           Three quarters (73%) agreed the process of separating the recycling materials was easy

·           Better facilities, a better general experience, an easier process and waterproof bags would have improved residents experience of the trial

·           Weather was the main challenge with storing the sack

·           More than half (55%) agreed they would continue to use the sacks to separate recycling if the trial becomes permanent; a quarter (27%) disagreed they would continue with the scheme


Thirdly, we have listened to the feedback received both during the trial and from the survey and significantly improved the specification of the sack as a result.

The improved sack will provide an additional 20% capacity (the key size difference is the extra 6 cms on the width of the container), the material is much thicker and therefore more durable and it has an overlapping lid on all three sides which means it is fully waterproof when sealed.

These changes align with the main suggestions for improvements from respondents to the survey. Many trial residents felt that the sacks needed to be waterproof, made of a stronger material and that they should be bigger.



 The blue sack is weighted at the bottom to avoid it being blown away and is further weatherproof to protect the contents inside. All collection crews will be given training on handling the blue sacks, ensuring they are replaced back on the correct position at each property, along with refuse/food waste containers. If a resident’s paper and card sack was to go astray, we will replace it free of charge with a new one within 7 working days where possible.