Tuesday 14 November 2023

LETTER: The South Kilburn Saga: financial problems, delays, tenure changes - what is achievable now?

Dear Editor,

Brent Council are resending the Hereford & Exeter site, along with the Craik Court-Crone Court -Zangwill House (CCZ)  site back to planning, as the new buildings will need second staircases.


The CCZ site was due to be completed by 2029 but it will now be much later.


This has a knock-on effect, as all those tenants and some of those in temporary housing will now face longer waits for a new home.


The CCZ project is in phase 6 which now means that phases 7 & 8 will now be pushed several years forward beyond their schedules.


Previously the council always said 'the whole 15 year (?) South Kilburn Regeneration would be completed by 2029' but that date now looks unachievable.


Also, the SK budget is facing financial difficulties but for now the budget has not been changed but the council are reducing their overall Capital programme by 25% (£103M.) covering the rest of this year and 2024/25.


We will find out the costs of the SK Regeneration at the meeting in February 2024 when the council sets their budgets for the future years.


The increased costs of the SK regeneration are the result of the higher interest rates that the council have to pay for their borrowing, together with high inflation causing increases in the cost of building materials and  higher labour costs.


It now looks like the 72 council homes on the NWCC site due in 2025 may be the last ones for some time and I expect that the allocations have already been made, as all the needs assessments have all been completed.


That leaves approximately 370 tenants and those in temporary housing having to wait for several more years before they will be offered a new home in SK.



Nobody seems to be bothered about this but the Peel site LINK has only 42 homes for social rent out of a total of 308 new homes. That is roughly 15% instead of the usual 50:50. So far 38 of the 42 are already occupied with the remaining 4 homes not available until 2026.


The Peel site is the largest one of all the SK sites but has the lowest number of social homes available. Many of the new homes are both for private sale as usual but there are also several shared ownership properties.


The 72 homes on the NWCC site will be available in 2025 with allocations given in 2024, although as I understand it the possible tenants have already completed their needs assessments. NWCC is Neville House, Winstanley and some of Carlton House and the Carlton Centre


This might be of interest to the tenant you featured in Wembley Matters on the 4th October LINK.


However, it seems that anyone in SK needing a 4 bed or higher have been offered new homes in both Stonebridge and Wembley.


All the remaining tenants and those in temporary housing wish to remain in South Kilburn, as their children attend school there, although some of them have been offered a new larger home in both Stonebridge & Wembley, However, this causes further allocation problems for Brent over who should get priority for a new home.



The Queen's Park Cullen House site will probably need to go back to planning, as the current one was approved as far back as 2016 with the tenants decanted in 2014.


However, the council still do not own the site. They have been trying since 2019 to purchase the Falcon Public House but Londonewcastle will not sell it. Londonewcastle built all the new blocks in Albert Road and may be holding out to win the contract for the Cullen House/Queens Park site, but the council do not want them. So will Cllr. Butt get his way or will he be disappointed?


This is the key site, as Cllr. Butt said it would mark the new gateway to SK with several up-market stores in the ground floors with flats above them,


Countryside say because they are developing the Health Centre on the Peel site, they had to reduce the number of social homes to make it viable for them.


Back in 2004 I seem to remember there was NDC money set aside to fund two health centres (and not just one) but the funding was 'borrowed by the Primary Care Trust' and would be made available when the health centres were to be developed


But of course, the Primary Care Trust' closed down and passed its assets to the Brent CCG who themselves have now closed down and are now in the super CCG (8 CCG's)


So, I assume the money has long gone and that is why we are having to rely on Countryside to build it and the Council to provide the revenue to run it.



South Kilburn Resident


Anonymous said...

How lovely.
While tenants in the old buildings live in damp, mould and extortionate electricity bills.

Pete Firmin said...

And the buildings housing GPs have either gone completely or collapsing. Nice.

Anonymous said...

Instead of trying to regenerate and make all buildings in Brent look the same. How about in the 80s and 90s when there was absestos, mould and other health damaging things, why didn’t you fix the building instead of misplacing people all over London, that have jobs, lives, schools near South Kilburn and more. This council only thinks about themselves, what about the new builds on the Albert Road? You lot were quick to do that one up and fix it but back in the day you didn’t want to fix Dickens House, Austen House and the Houses on the Peel site? Would of definitely costed not even a fraction of the budget that you wish to spend on this SSK program but there are several people living in hostels because you didn’t want to fix them up with a nice place, selfish much?