Tuesday 5 September 2023

Muhammed Butt: You are not allowed to mention our plans to sell out the Barham Park covenant or proposals to destroy community facilities


Brent Council Leader Muhammed Butt made an unconvincing effort not to notice the large attendance at the Barham Park Trustees Meeeting this morning - there were more present than shown in this photograph and extra chairs had to be wheeled into the room.

Residents were there to protect their park and said afterwards they had not been impressed by the proceedings.

The meeting began with an announcement that the agenda item on the accounts was to be deferred to the next meeting. The whole meeting should have been deferred as Trustee activities and their plans hang on the financial viability of the Trust. That proposition was rejected and the meeting continued.

Users of the community facilities were only allowed to report on their activities and forbidden by Cllr Butt  (Chair of the Trustees)  to comment on the proposals that were on the Agenda.  Cllr Lorber appealed to legal officers to comment on this ruling as no such restriction had been communicated but no response was forthcoming. An ill-tempered Butt interrupted Francis Henry when he quietly and politely tried to raise concerns.


 Butt interrupted several times when Francis Henry wanted to talk about the items on the agenda that would impact on tenants and threaten the future of the Barham Library and its community activites:


Butt: I am going to stop you again. You are here, right, as I said the offer was made to the people within that building to come here and talk about the  work that they have done in the previous year leading up to today.

I am not talking about the meeting. I am not talking about the agenda. I am not talking about the report.  I am talking about the work you have done in the building as part of your trustee role.

This is what Francis would have said if he was not interrupted. They are questions he and other tenants of the community buildings would like answered:

Barham Park Trust Meeting, 5th September 2023

Presentation by Friends of Barham Library


My name is Francis Henry, a resident of Wembley with a business in the area for over 30 years. I was the Chair of the Brent Sustainability Forum; I am currently the Chair of the Wembley Traders Association.


Today I am speaking as a Trustee of Friends of Barham Library who have been running a popular Community Library and Activity Centre in Barham Park since 2016 where hundreds of local people take part in a wide range of recreational activities.


In relation to Item 7, I wish to make the following points and raise some questions.


In my professional view as an local estate agent, no business person would contemplate making a decision involving around £4 million of public money on the inadequate information before Trustees today.


Can you please answer questions that any responsible Trustee would ask:


  1. What alternative premises are being offered to all existing tenants?


  1. Why were the tenants not consulted or involved?


  1. Will the existing tenants be guaranteed same size space on affordable rents once completed?


  1. Why do the officer recommended plans in the Silver Option not show a Community Library when the Library is shown in the Gold Option?


  1. What is the earliest possible date you can obtain vacant possession of all the Units?


  1. Is the £3.2 million cost estimate based on current year prices and what is the cost estimate in the earliest year the work can start.


  1. Why has the bronze option not been presented to the Trustees?


  1. The Report claims gross income of £300,000 to £400,000 from the completed development. What is the net income after interest and costs of managing the new facility.


  1. Have the Brent Planners confirmed that shops, restaurants, hotels and offices comply with Planning Policies for green spaces and the Sudbury Neighbourhood Plan?


  1. What sources of funding have been identified or been pursued to meet the expected costs?


  1. You have spent £25,000 on Architects fees, unspecified costs on the windows survey. How much more in consultancy fees will be incurred before you know if this project is financially viable?


In my opinion no responsible Trustee would consider committing any more Charity or Public money to this idea before these questions are answered or recommendation 2.5 on the covenant is pursued.


Thank you for your time.

The Trustees decided to go ahead with further work on the development proposals that officers described as 'hypothetical' - having spent £25K on a hypothetical report they now committed to spending  more with an initial investigation into funding streams that would enable developments to take place. Only after that will tenants of the community buildings be consulted on proposals which does suggest they will be involved in shaping the proposals.

The plans to remove the covenant restricting development of the plot containg two small houses will also go ahead enabling fun fair owner George Irvin to build four 3 storey houses on the site are going ahead.

On Governance the Committee opted to continue the status quo, giving the Brent Cabinet sole control of the Trustees. Cllr Butt nodded along as an officer inaudibly went through the reasons why the alternatives would not be effective or efficient. A suggestion that a Friends of Barham Park should be set up was the only sop to local people and no actual representation (apart from the Buttocracy) on the Trustees was rejected.

There was a rare moment when Cllr Krupesh Sheth, who is lead members for the environment and thus of parks, actually spoke - but only to correct the title of one of the officers.

There was no mention of any submission by Barry Gardiner MP who had previously strongly opposed the removal of the covenant and Wembley Central ward councillors, the ward now includes Barham Park,  did not make any representations.




Anonymous said...

Are we just going to ignore the aggressive, and arguably violent, behaviour of Mohammed Butt? He was pointing in a threatening manner towards Mr Henry and restricting his right to speak.

This is surely very serious conduct and must be investigated.

Martin Francis said...

Apparently he was belligerent to members of the public after the meeting and told them not to believe what they read on Wembley Matters.

A clear tribute - thanks Mo.

Anonymous said...

An Freedom of Information request into bullying at Brent Council seems like a good idea???

Philip Grant said...

Anonymous at 16:35 raises an important point over the conduct of Councillor Muhammed Butt.

I was not at the meeting, and the webcast recording is not yet available on Brent Council's website, but I can share some information from Brent's Members' Code of Conduct, which applies to all councillors when they are acting in their role as a Councillor, as Cllr. Butt was when chairing the Barham Park Trust Committee meeting today.

If Francis Henry, or any other member of the public, or councillor, who witnessed it, believes that Cllr. Butt breached his responsibilities under the Brent Members' Code of Conduct, they can make a complaint of misconduct to the Council's Monitoring Officer, Debra Norman (debra.norman@brent.gov.uk)

These are all extracts copied from that Code of Conduct:-

'High Standards of conduct:

4. You must maintain a high standard of conduct.

5. In particular, you must comply with the seven principles of conduct in
public life set out in Appendix 1.

Your obligations

6. You must treat others with respect.

8. You must not bully any person.
[Footnote: The Council uses the definition contained in Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) publication “Bullying and Harassment at Work”, which states:
“Bullying may be characterised as: Offensive, intimidating, malicious or
insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient”.]

12. You must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or the Council into disrepute.

Appendix 1 – Seven Principles of Conduct in Public Life

1. Selflessness - You should serve only the public interest and should never
improperly confer an advantage or disadvantage on any person.

2. Integrity - You should not place yourself in situations where your integrity may be questioned, should not behave improperly and should on all occasions avoid the appearance of such behaviour.

3. Objectivity - You should make decisions on merit, including when making
appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards or benefits.

4. Accountability - You should be accountable to the public for your actions and the manner in which you carry out your responsibilities, and should
co-operate fully and honestly with any scrutiny appropriate to your particular office.

5. Openness - You should be as open as possible about your actions and those of the Council, and should be prepared to give reasons for those actions.

6. Honesty - You should be truthful in your Council work and avoid creating situations where your honesty may be called into question.

7. Leadership - You should promote and support these principles by leadership, and by example, and should act in a way that secures or preserves public confidence.'

Anonymous said...

I think Councillor Butt broke pretty close most of those rules at today’s meeting!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, Martin for highlighting however briefly, the true stand-out moment of the morning. The Cabinet Member for the Environment stopping scrolling on her phone for a moment to correct an officer's latest title. It does ones heart good to feel Brent's Parks are safe in her hands

Anonymous said...

Cllr Mo Butt says you need to 'follow the rules' - who's rules???

This was a public meeting affecting our local park, our local community groups and all park users.

Surely we should be involved in decisions about Barham Park and surely we have a right to ask valid questions!!!

Anonymous said...

She'd probably claim she was reading the committee reports on her phone. (For the first time?)

Anonymous said...

What a waste of a few hours, Butt had no intention of listening to any residents concerns as he has already decided on behalf of Barham Trustee's that his, his cabinet, and Trustees will all do what they are told and grant permission to carry out his wishes.

When has this labour council ever voted in favour of residents since he became Leader?

What Cllr Krupa Sheth knows about the environment could be put on a postage stamp and still leave room for the lords prayer, along with Tower Block Tatler and her knowledge of Building. Be honest, both of them are only there as Butt's backing group to sing the chorus of I'll do it My Way.

Anonymous said...

The Londo Borough of B~ent continues to excel in ignoring residents views and insulting them at every opportunity. Cllr Hubris Butt should be sanctioned for his terrible behaviour in this and other public meetings As for his overt support of Mr Irvin, why is Butt bending over backwards to help Mr Irvin make a killing? And blaming a previous administration while he himself is facilitating profiteering out of a legacy belonging to Brent residents and not Brent Council.

Anonymous said...

Sadly not. Laptop on table. Phone on knee.

Anonymous said...

Sheth is a disgrace, Butt look who she learnt it from and who made sure she was in a safe seat.

Philip Bromberg said...

I write as Chair of Preston Community Library. It is perhaps worth pointing out that the Council is committed by a decision of the Cabinet to supporting the borough's four volunteer-run libraries, including, of course, Barham Community Library. And, in fairness, we do indeed get a great deal of help from the Library Service and others. So it seems odd that the Barham Trust should have chosen to proceed with an option which, at the time of writing, does not include space for a library.

Anonymous said...

Tatler was a secondary school history teacher - we believe in transferable skills but seriously!

Philip Grant said...

Those present at the meeting may be amazed (but not amused?) by this extract from the agenda and decisions entry, which has appeared on Brent Council's "Democracy in Brent" webpage for the 5 September 2023 Barham Park Trust Committee meeting, under item 8 (General Update Report):-

'Francis Henry – (representing Friends of Barham Library) highlighting the work of the organisation and seeking clarification on the potential impact relating to the outcome of the Feasibility Study and Strategic Property Review and plans to engage with current tenants within the Barham Park building.

The Chair advised that the issues raised had been noted and would be responded to as appropriate.'

Martin Francis said...

Note to the contributor who sent a comment about Brent officers 'living in fear' of a particular person. I was unable to publish the allegation without some evidence. If you have any could you forward it to me at wembleymatters@virginmedia.com

Lomng-term readers will remember a case some years ago regarding the Brent Council HR lead.

Philip Grant said...

P.S. Sadly more than eight years later, he is still being allowed to get away with that sort of behaviour, and worse.

Anonymous said...

Would this be the ‘’community’’ library who ignored the views of the local community and supported the building of a monstrosity and the demolition of Preston Library. No different to The Barham Trust hence the support. And how do you become the chair when they never have an AGM or elections and they ignore and exclude library members!!

Anonymous said...

Is there a code of conduct for the Barham Park Trust regarding how the trust should actually be run?

Philip Grant said...

That's a very good question, Anonymous (7 September at 14:44)!

It's not called a Code of Conduct, but the Charity Commission has a detailed guidance note, CC3,"The Essential Trustee - what you need to know, what you need to do", which is available online at:

This is an extract from the section "Trustees duties at a glance":

'Ensure your charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit.

You and your co-trustees must make sure that the charity is carrying out the purposes for which it is set up, and no other purpose. This means you should:

- ensure you understand the charity’s purposes as set out in its governing document;

- plan what your charity will do, and what you want it to achieve;

- be able to explain how all of the charity’s activities are intended to further or support its purposes;

- understand how the charity benefits the public by carrying out its purposes;

Spending charity funds on the wrong purposes is a very serious matter; in some cases trustees may have to reimburse the charity personally.'

This is the introduction to the section "Manage your charity's resources responsibly":

'You must act responsibly, reasonably and honestly. This is sometimes called the duty of prudence. Prudence is about exercising sound judgement. You and your co-trustees must:

- make sure the charity’s assets are only used to support or carry out its purposes;

- avoid exposing the charity’s assets, beneficiaries or reputation to undue risk;

- not over-commit the charity;

- take special care when investing or borrowing;

- comply with any restrictions on spending funds or selling land.'

Food for thought! I wonder how many of the Barham Park Trust Committee members have read CC3?

Anonymous said...

Thank Philip!

"Spending charity funds on the wrong purposes is a very serious matter; in some cases trustees may have to reimburse the charity personally." - would spending money on architects to draw up plans before you consult with paying community tenants and local residents be 'the wrong purposes'?

Anonymous said...

Wembly Matters is, and allows for, a clear voice of sanity and truth — in contrast to B(r)ent Council's default anti-resident pro-developer-mates bullying and gaslighting.

Sincere thanks to Martin Francis and all who contribute.


A former resident, now elsewhere since being unhomed by M Butt & co.

Anonymous said...

Martin - why do you remove a couple of comments? There were 24 yesterday (but now only 22) including my long piece about the meeting being a farce? I made some valid points to which people responded so the comments thread doesn't make sense now - can you please reinstate it?

Martin Francis said...

Hi Anon 11 Sept 2023 - that's odd as I seldom remove comments after publication and its a 2 stage process if I do. I do not recall removing any from this post. Can you resubmit? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

It took ages for me to write and I can't remember everything I said 😞

Martin Francis said...

Strange - a lot of blog actions are automatic but I am notified of each comment approve each comment (or not) because of the amount of spam published otherwise. Do you know which date you sent it and I can go back to the notifications

Anonymous said...

don't know, last week for sure - it started with 'what a farce that meeting was...' thanks

Anonymous said...

I have noticed that comments sometimes appear in a different order when viewed on different devices? Maybe this explains the lost comment.

Martin Francis said...

I have found the elusive comment in my in-box. Yes it was published but here it is again:

What a farce that meeting was...

Cllr Krupa Sheth nominated her best buddy Cllr Butt as Chair for the meeting - he was already sitting in the Chair's!

Cllr Butt then nominated Cllr Tatler as Vice Chair but then said she wasn't able to attend the meeting because of a hospital appointment - how can you be vice chair of a meeting if you are not there?

The rest of the Barham Park Trust Committee members sat with their backs to the members of the public - surely a state of the art conference hall in the expensive civic centre would allow for members of the public to actually see commitee members faces at meetings?

Members of the public had to keep asking the councillors and officers to speak up - at one point Cllr Butt highlighted the complete disdain he feels for the members of the public as he blurted out "just carry on we can hear you" suggesting that it didn't matter that members of the public couldn't hear as long as the commitee members could - his comment was incredibly offensive, particularly as Cllr Donnelly-Jackson had asked members of the public sat behind her to please keep their comments down as she had a hearing impairment - what about members of the council tax paying public with hearing issues??? Do they not matter? Bit different to what Brent Council declare on their website "Respect for equality is at the heart of what we do and we are committed to improving the services we provide to residents and our staff."

Cllr Donnelly-Jackson asked questions about the 2 ex park keepers houses in Barham Park which suggested she's not actually visited Barham Park? Yet she's on a committee making decisions about the future of the park???

Are Councillors paid an additional allowance to sit on the Barham Park Trust Committee??? If so how much are they paid and is that money paid by Brent Council or The Barham Park Trust???

Mark as spam

Anonymous said...

The London Borough of curvy stuff