Thursday 21 September 2023

Second 'Friends of Barham Park' announced at Monday's Council Meeting to collaborate with the Trustees


The Sudbury Matters Forum Friends of Barham Park 'official' website

The Sudbury Matters Forum made a presentation to the Brent Council meeting on Monday in which they announced,because of the feasibility plans being explored for Barham Park by Brent Council, they had set up a Friends of Barham Park.

On September 15th I had received first notification from Francis Henry, of Barham Community Lbrary  that a Friends of Barham park had been set up to protect the park.



The Sudbury Matters presentation emphasised that their FoBP would be 'independent, inclusive, non-partisan and representative of the diverse communities that make up Brent' perhaps hinting that they felt the other FoBBwas none of these things.  However, it appears that some current and former Brent Labour councillors have been involved in setting up the second Friends.

Sudbury Matters  revealed that they had already engaged with the Trustees and council officers and said, 'We are committed to ensuring this (their oral emphasis) Friends Group is managed by residents whose sole aim is to preserve the integrity of this inheritance for current and future generations.'

Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, could not have been more effusive (in stark contrast to how he later reacted to the presentation by Liberal Democrat Paul Lorber of the 1,000 Save Our Parks petition) welcoming the 'hand of friendship', the 'positive' initiative' and 'embracing the culture of collaboration'.

He swiftly tweeted his gratitude:

Although, the Sudbury Matters FoBP styled themselves 'official' it is unclear what this means and whether there is any established procedure regarding recognition by the council or other relevant organisations.

As I suggested to people from both FoFB groups outside of the meeting, it is really important that they work together to avoid classic divide and rule tactics by the council.

A Wembley Matters reader contacted me to  ask me to add these questions to any piece I was writing about the situation.

 I'm puzzled. 

  • Has the Sudbury Town Residents' Association, which was effectively the neighbourhood forum for that area, ceased to exist?
  • If not, what do they think about it? 
  • Is Brent Council, and its leadership, trying to sideline STRA, and replace it with a more compliant body?
  • Is the name, Sudbury Matters, an acknowledgement that residents have come to trust what they read on Wembley Matters, rather than anything issued by Brent Council, and attempt to hijack that trust for itself?


Anonymous said...

The future of Barham Park and it's buildings should NOT be a political issue!

A official and united Friends of Barham Park Group should be formed and it needs to be independent and non political to represent the best interests of all local residents.

More importantly Barham Park is now in Wembley Central Ward so all Wembley Central residents must also be invited to join an official Friends of Barham Park group so that they are engaged with decisions about their historic local park! This is not just a Sudbury issue.

Anonymous said...

Cllr Butt was SO embarrassingly effusive, welcoming the 'hand of friendship', the 'positive' initiative' and 'embracing the culture of collaboration' and tweeting "thanks to for attending tonight's full council meeting and making the case for us to work with them. I look forward to a relationship built on common values to improve the park."

What does he mean by 'common values'?

It is Brent Council and the Barham Park Trust who should have reached out to local residents and the tenants of the Barham Park buildings in the very first instance regarding the future of the park and the park buildings. Instead they have caused an immense amount of stress and anguish to local people who they claim to represent.

Any Friends of Barham Park group must be 100% NON political - it must not be swayed by the values if this local council.

Unknown said...

Sudbury Matters is made up of a very small group of people who had personal arguments with Sudbury Town Residents Association.

STRA wanted to be seen as non-political. At one point the STRA Treasurer was ex Labour Councillor Mary Farrell. When Mary Farrell also became the Labour Party Election Organiser STRA asked her to stand down from the STRA Executive. (All of this came to the front during some very heated STRA Meetings witnessed by Sudbury residents).

When she initially refused this caused a dispute and breakdown in relationships.

Another ex Labour Councillor Mary Daly is the instigator behind Sudbury Matters and the link with Butt and the Labour Administration.

Labour don't like STRA because of the Sudbury Neighbourhood Plan which restricts their redevelopment plans in Sudbury.

Sudbury Matters is challenging STRA to be the new Sudbury Neighbourhood Forum and of course Butt prefers to control that too.

If you were a genuine group why call your self "Official". It's obvious this is more Labour Party gerrymandering to keep control and silencing the voices of real & genuine and independent Residents Associations or Friends Groups. How many times have we seen this done by these control freaks?

STRA is very much still around and challenging Cllr Butt and the Labour Council on their neglect of Sudbury Town. Very few of the promises in the Sudbury Neighbourhood Plan have been implemented.

Cllr Butt and the Labour Party do not like to be challenged so they try to undermine STRA and local residents with a genuine and long standing interest in the future of Barham Park.

Sensible people will not be conned by any of this Butt & Labour gerrymandering.

Paul Lorber said...

Francis Henry is the Chair of the Friends of Barham Park group supported by local people.

Allan Barham, a descendant of Titus Barham's cousin) has agreed to become Honorary President of Friends of Barham Park.

Over 100 residents and users of Barham Park facilities have already signed up as supporters and more are signing up every day.

Over 1,000 people signed the Petition and support our campaign to STOP over development of Barham Park.

Just in case there is any distraction from the real issues facing Barham Park the Friends of Barham Park are committed to:

1. Protecting the Titus Barham legacy of ensuring that Barham Park is retained and properly maintained for the enjoyment of local people.

2. That more house building in the Park is NOT allowed.

3. That the restrictive Covenant preventing more building on the site of the the two existing park keepers cottages is kept in place. (Councillor Butt wants to remove it).

4. That the other existing community buildings are retained for community uses (Councillor Butt wants to kick out the existing tenants including Barham Veterans, ex Gurkha Group, Barham Community Library and others and build hotel rooms, a supermarket/shops and commercial offices.

Titus Barham gifted his home and gardens for the "recreation of the public" and we will fight to ensure that the Park and its remaining buildings continue to do just that.

If you wish to join as a Supporter just email with your contact details to:


All the best

Philip Grant said...

Friends of Barham Park appears on the Companies House records:

It was registered on 20 September 2023 (two days after the Council meeting!), as a 'Private Limited Company by guarantee without share capital use of 'Limited' exemption', with Company registration number 15149699.

Its Registered Office address is at: 5 Brayford Square, London, E1 0SG, and its sole director (at least so far) is Ravinder Singh Riyat, a Chartered Surveyor, giving the same address.

That address appears to be a registered office mailbox address, run by Ghost Mail Limited. So who is really behind THIS "Friends of Barham Park" remains to be seen.

Anonymous said...

Politics, politics, politics!!!

Please stop this and work together to protect the park and its buildings 😞

Anonymous said...

So we have two Friends of Barham Park groups. Its about high time that a meeting was arranged (preferred venue would be the Library of course) for EVERYONE who cares about this obviously highly regarded green space & the park buildings to come TOGETHER with a brainstorming session of practical community led ideas (no £25,000 invoices issued just tea & bics) and just start blooming working TOGETHER. No politics, no egos, no personal agendas, past differences etc just let's make Barham Park better for the benefit of EVERYONE.
Trouble is now - when and who will organise such a meeting?

Anonymous said...

We know who is behind FoBP - It is just the quick way of setting it up instead of a CIC at present. They will be politically neutral as all FoParks Groups should be though often there are battles that involve the local incumbent party in majority at any given time. All are official in their own right and all Neighbourhood Forums must be non Politically controlled.

Philip Grant said...

Anonymous at 17:13 has made a really sensible suggestion, and.I hope that the two FoBP groups and STRA can put aside their differences and agree to arrange such a meeting.

Barham Community Library would be a good venue for it, but if one of the Friends organisations feels that is not "neutral ground", perhaps the meeting could be arranged for somewhere like Sudbury Methodist Church Hall.

Anonymous said...

Agreed above. STRA ? And supported by Parks Forums UK

G.Lee said...

we walk round Barham park on route to work Monday to Friday and often see Paul Lorber, and Barry Gardiner and sometimes Anton Georgiou there, just walking or in Paul's case, working hard to keep the community involved in the volunteer library, book sales, pilates sessions and special events. We have never in 10 years seen Muhammed Butt, Krupa Sheth or any other Labour councillor there apart from on remembrance day. This plan to kick existing groups out of the buildings in order to 'privatise them' is scandalous, given that the park was bequeathed to the people of Brent and not the councillors with their blatant self-interest and disdain for the community. There comes a time in the evolution of a Borough like Brent when the local people have to stand up to the likes of Butt and his cronies who have been getting away with destroying our communities for far too long. We will remember South Kilburn, Roundwood, Acorn, Stonebridge, Strathcona, Albert Road, and Morland Gardens to name but a few that he has has trashed with his cultural vandalism. Let this be the last stand, and lets get rid of these Charlatans.

Anonymous said...

This ridiculous and could only happen in Butt's B~ent

Anonymous said...

We should not forget that all this started when Labour Councillors decided to close the original Barham Park Library.

Then those same Councillors - egged on by Mary Daly - tried to stop Friends of Barham Library from getting the Lease for the former Lounge that they now occupy.

As Mary Daly is now involved with Sudbury Matters - although she lives miles away - you can understand why Butt & the Labour Leadership are so keen on this Group.

Butt thinks that he will be:

1. Able to get the covenant on the two cottages scrapped
2. Get his hotel, supermarket, commercial offices into the old buildings - and no doubt use his patronage to ensure his friends and extended family get their foothold in Barham Park.

Just remember how they 'engineered' the sale of the Tokyngton Library which they also closed and then sold off to their friends.

Anonymous said...

The future of Barham Park and it's buildings should NOT be a political issue!

A official and united Friends of Barham Park Group should be formed and it needs to be independent and non political to represent the best interests of all local residents.

Philip Grant said...

I agree with G. Lee (21 Septmber at 20.15) that Barham Park is an issue on which all fair-minded people in Brent need to stand up to the Trust Committee plans over.

The only chance to get rid of the councillors pushing these mad (and, costly) ideas is at elections. They were democratically elected, under our present first past the post system, by around 18% of the registered voters in Brent. More people need to vote, and vote for candidates who care more for the local community, when we next get the chance.

Anonymous said...

Agree, but how do you get B~tt and his cronies out?