Thursday 7 September 2023

Letter: Barham Community Library will stand by our community - 'We will not be surrendering our lease'

 The painting of Titus Barham that hangs in the community library


Dear Editor


The events on Tuesday morning at the Civic Centre highlight the fact that local people and existing users of the Barham Park Complex support Barham Park as a local place that provides them with recreation as Titus Barham intended.


Barham Park and its buildings used to be the home of the Barham family. Titus Barham was a big local benefactor supporting local causes including Wembley Hospital, the Tennis Club in Sylvester Road and many more. Barham Primary School, where I have been a School Governor since 1994, stands on land that belonged to Titus Barham.


Titus was a keen Roses grower and every year he opened up his Gardens to local people for "Rose Sunday". In 1936, a year before his death, 8,000 local people attended.


He was due to become the Charter Mayor of Wembley in 1937 when Wembley became a Borough Council. He donated the Mace and Chains of Office and wanted all residents of Wembley (around 80,000 at the time)  to participate in the Ceremony. Sadly he died on the very day he was due to become Mayor. Wembley Borough Council went ahead with the Celebrations later and over 50,000 local people attended at tea party at the old Wembley Stadium later in the year.


On his death in July 1937 Titus Barham donated his home and gardens for the enjoyment of local people. The donation was made to the Wembley Borough Council.


It is now the responsibility of Brent Council to manage the Park and buildings as any other Park in Brent. It is the current Labour Administration that closed the Council run Barham Park Library which served the area for almost 60 years in 2011. It is the same Labour Administration that has neglected the buildings and areas of the Park since - despite wasting tens of thousands of pounds on consultants whose previous reports. are collecting the dust.


it is Councillor Butt and his colleagues who decided to spend another £25,000 of public money on the latest "hypothetical" Architects study without checking some very basic facts. The aim of the Architects proposals seems to be the achievement of commercial income from redevelopment for Hotel rooms, Shops, Airbnb, Offices etc. The existing tenants would be kicked out because the redevelopment would require a completely vacant site and the requisitioning of the public car park near the children area for a building materials depot.


The existing tenants were not consulted and when Francis Henry, from Friends of Barham Library tried to ask some relevant questions, he was interrupted and prevented from speaking by the Leader of Brent Council.


Brent Council pays lip service to community engagement, diversity or to being a Dementia Friendly Borough. We have already been deprived of space in Barham Park to provide an advice and outreach base for people with Dementia and their Carers. The latest proposals are aimed to deprive local people of community space which serves the diverse community in the Sudbury & Wembley area and beyond.


As I said earlier - the Architects have said that their re-development proposals can only progress if they have a fully vacant site. Friends of Barham Library are not going anywhere. Barham Community Library serves our community and will continue to do so. We are STANDING UP for our community and our neighbours in Barham Park - the Barham Veterans Club, The ex Gurkhas and all the others. 


As our email to officers of Brent Council makes clear our Lease has another 8 years to go and we have absolutely no intention of moving out.


The wishes of Titus Barham are clear. Barham Park - his home and gardens - are for the recreation of local people and not for Hotels or Airbnb for visitors to Wembley Stadium or shops and supermarkets that no one has asked for.


Our Community Library will continue to serve local people. We now need every one who cares for Barham Park (and all our Parks to rally round - so come and support us and come and support our beautiful Barham Park.


With best wishes


Paul Lorber

for Friends of Barham Library



Email to Brent Council



We write as Trustees of Friends of Barham Library in reference to yesterday's AGM of the Barham Park Trust, and in particular, the Report at Item 7 and the recommendation to Trustees at paragraph 2.2.1. 


It seems that, following production of the outline specification, that  the Trustees have accepted that recommendation, and are proceeding with the "Silver" option.


Mention was made in the meeting of the Trust generating officer time. It is clear that further officer time will be generated in connection with this recommendation. It also now seems entirely possible that the Trust (and/or the Council (Capital Grant funds)) may incur yet further consultant's fees. Appreciating the responsibilities of charity trustees ourselves, we would clearly like to assist in preventing  unnecessary expenditure, whether of officer time, scarce Trust unrestricted funds or indeed Capital Grant funds. 


We had hoped to inform the Trustees at the meeting as part of Francis Henry's contribution on our behalf, that FoBL has a Lease of Unit 4 at Barham Park and full exclusive possession until 6th October 2031. There is no landlord break clause in that Lease.


Not having previously been asked about our position,  as charity trustees, we thought it only responsible now to inform you that FoBL will not be surrendering its Lease - nor, therefore, giving vacant possession of Unit 4 at any point prior to expiry of our contractual term.  We shall also, of course, expect the Barham Park Trust as our Landlord to meet in full its obligations of quiet enjoyment under our Lease.


We look forward to hearing from you.


Francis Henry

Paul Lorber

Robert Wharton

Trustees of Friends of Barham Library.


PS. You may wish to advise all the Trustees.



Anonymous said...


Thank You Friends of Barham Library for standing up for the local community and for the people of Sudbury and Wembley and Brent.

Barham Park and everything in it was donated for the benefit of local people to enjoy - and NOT to Brent Council to abuse and neglect.

Anonymous said...

Residents of Wembley already suffer immense anxiety and mental health pressures due to:
- the oppressive tower blocks going up all around us;
- the endless transport problems caused by construction works so that our residential streets become rat runs for aggressive drivers;
- the daily flytipping on every corner every day with Brent Council doing nothing to catch these people;
- the street drinkers and their litter in the same places everyday with Brent Council doing nothing to catch them and granting alcohol licences to every new shop opening in the area;
- the paan spitters leaving their disgusting mess on our bins, pavements and tree bases with Brent Council doing nothing to catch them and not even cleaning the mess up on a weekly basis.

We need our vitally important green spaces - Barham Park and it's buildings are so important for recreation and a place to engage with other members of our community, to keep active and improve our mental health.

We fully appreciate those who provide community activities in Barham Park, they are mostly volunteers who work tirelessly to make a huge difference - they don't just turn up for self publicity photoshoots!

During a cost of living crisis, which is affecting most of Europe not just Britain, Brent Council needs to fully understand how important Barham Park is to us local people.

Why is Barry Gardiner our local MP not stepping in to support local people and protect our park??? Bet MP Dawn Butler would not be silent if this upset was being caused to community groups and residents in her constiuency.

Anonymous said...

People of Wembley and Sudbury and need to wake up and stand up to the continuing destruction of our being imposed by Cllr Butt and his Labour cronies.

Barham Park belongs to local people and not to Butt or the Labour Party.

It is time to make a stand.

I agree with the Trustees of Friends of Barham Library. They and the other tenants in Barham Park deserves our support against the thugs from Brent Council.