Guest post by Philip Grant in a personal capacity
1 Morland Gardens, entrance seen from the Community Garden, 30 October 2023.
My guest post on 31 October, Brent’s Halloween Nightmare – its Morland Gardens planning consent has expired!, had an Open Letter to Brent’s Chief Executive attached at the end. I promised to share the Council’s reply to that letter with you, and will ask Martin to attach it at the end of this post (the first of two documents).
Although the letter, from Brent’s Director of Property and Assets, is dated 10 November, it mysteriously never got delivered to me, until the Chief Executive sent me a copy on 17 November. The letter is quite brief, but it did include the following important sentence: ‘We agree that the planning application as described below expired on 29th October 2023.’
So what happens next? The letter says: ‘Following the expiration of the planning permission, the Council is reviewing its options for the Morland Gardens site, including the Altamira building.’
“Altamira” is the locally listed heritage Victorian villa (pictured above), so after campaigning since the Council’s planning application, including its demolition, was submitted in February 2020, there is now a second chance to save it. I understand that the review aims to put forward recommendations to the Cabinet meeting in December (perhaps as part of the Affordable Housing Update which is due to be on the agenda?).
The third ‘key issue’ from my Open Letter which the Director of Property and Assets identified was not allowing the condition of the empty property to deteriorate further. His reply about the security of the site missed the point. My response reminded him that it was missing slates from the roof (and possibly more of them missing following recent strong winds) which needed the Council’s early attention.
Although we will have to wait and see what Officers recommend to Cabinet over the future of 1 Morland Gardens, I do not want that to be a repeat of the 2020 proposals, which have already caused a long delay and wasted several million pounds. When I replied on 20 November, I included my own contribution to the review, as a genuine attempt to help the Council “get it right” this time. I will ask Martin to attach a copy of that document below, so that anyone can read it if they wish to.
Brent Council's reply to Philip Grant's letter of 31st October on 1 Morland Gardens
Review of Options for Morland Gardens – getting it right this time