Monday 12 February 2024

Brent Tories: Disrespectful to site children's home in a conservation area - call-in meeting tonight

A special Scrutiny Committee tonight will discuss the call-in by Brent Conservatives of the Cabinet decision to site a children's home in the Barn Hill Conservation area. In their call-in the group say:

This area is in the Barn Hill Conservation area. It should be treated with respect.

Alternative course of action recommended.. To refer the decision back to Cabinet for reconsideration in order to find a cheaper alternative property in a different area

The call-in is unfortunately timed when the Liberal Democrat group are opposing, with a petition, a potential proposal to double the number of councillors needed to request a call in from 5 to 10. At present there are 5 Tories and 3 Liberal Democrats. A requirement for 10 signatures means that neither Tories on their own nor the combined opposition could request a call-in without support from at least two Labour councillors.

Cllr Butt's argument would probably be that the increase would save money on meetings as   politically motivated call-ins would no longer take place.

Certainly Brent Labour moved speedily on social media to denounce the call-in.


 The call-in will be heard at 6pm tonight. Livestream HERE

Brent Tories do not exist on social media so I cannot post a response.

THE CABINET DECISON CALLED-IN

 

Cabinet (15 January 2024) received a report from the Corporate Director of Finance and Resources and Corporate Director of Children and Young People which, in line with the Brent Children’s Residential Home Business Case that had been approved by Cabinet in May 2023, sought approval for the acquisition of a property for renovation to deliver a four bedded children’s care home for young people by March 2025 which would provide four placements, three permanent and one emergency for the Council to deliver and operate a children’s residential home.

 

Having considered the report, Cabinet agreed to approve the acquisition with the minute recording the decision as follows:

 

Councillor Grahl (Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools) introduced the report, which set out the Council’s plans to acquire a property as part of the Children’s Residential Home Project.

 

In considering the report Cabinet noted the way in which the proposed acquisition aligned with the objectives within the Brent Children’s Residential Home Business Case approved by Cabinet in May 2023. This included not only supporting the Council in seeking to address the increasing cost of child residential placements for looked after children, with the scheme projected to save the Council approx. £290,000 on an annual basis once operational, but also in delivering the benefits associated with the additional capacity to reduce the need for out of borough placements and enabling more children and young people to receive care closer to home with access to local services and support.

 

Members welcomed the way in which the insourcing of this scheme would enhance service delivery and in recognising the benefits that the proposal would bring to both young people and the Council, Cabinet RESOLVED:

 

(1) To approve the acquisition of the property (address detailed in the exempt appendix of the report) in Wembley HA9 with vacant possession to meet the needs of young people as outlined in the Brent Residential Home Business Case approved by Cabinet in May 2023.

 

(2) To delegate authority to the Corporate Director of Finance and Resources, in consultation with the Corporate Director of Children and Young People, to agree the terms of the purchase and acquire the property subject to financial and legal due diligence, vacant possession and contract.

 

(3) To note that the completion of the property needs to take place by the end of January 2024 in order to allow sufficient time to renovate the property within the timescales permitted in the grant agreement with the Department for Education (DfE).

 

THE CONSERVATIVE GROUP CALL-IN

 

a) We are very concerned at the price being paid for this property which is over £1M. We feel that this is not the best use of the limited Council funds.

 

(b) This area is in the Barn Hill Conservation area. It should be treated with respect.

 

(c) There has been no consultation with the residents living in and around the site of the property or the Residents Association. This is preventing residents from voicing their opinions and objections. There has been absolutely no democracy or transparency in the matter, residents feel they have been railroaded into accepting any decision the Council makes.

 

(d) Neither of the two local ward councillors (Cllr Robert Johnson & Cllr Kathleen Fraser) received any notification of this until immediately prior to the Cabinet meeting on 15th January.

 

(e) It appears that no Planning Permission was applied for or granted. If this is the case, then what is the rationale taken as to why Planning Permission was not applied for? No statement appears to have been given.

 

(f) The Council is not acting in the interests of the residents in this matter. A similar care home was opened in Barn Hill which caused untold problems for those living in the area. It was only shut down when the local MP (Barry Gardiner) intervened. The residents do not want to have to deal with a similar occurrence.

 

Action Requested:

 

To refer the decision back to Cabinet for reconsideration in order to find a cheaper alternative property in a different area.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why shouldn't a children's home be sited within a conservation area? It's not as if Brent are planning to build a tower block there to house these young people and surely it's nice for them to live there than on a council estate???

Anonymous said...

Surely if siting a Childrens Home in a residential area, is causing problems for existing residents, this falls under the remit for the people operating the facility, that they are allowing these children to cause a nuisance. Irrespective of wherever the homes are located. Bad management.

Anonymous said...

Has the Council or the Labour Cabinet members explained or provided the reasons for points c) and d0 of the call in. What is the reason for not properly informing or consulting either local residents or the ward Councillors. Why does the Council not keep to its commitments to "Open Government"?

In relation to pointe) - is Planning Permission required and if yes is the purchase subject to planning permission being granted? Or is the presumption that as the purchase is being made by Brent Council then the Brent Planning Committee will automatically approve it?

Anonymous said...

Why does it need planning permission?

It's will be a children's home in a residential area - it's not becoming shop, pub or nightclub.

David Walton said...

In council duty of care terms a CA seems a good children's home location -conserved, public services invested, community and wellbeing resilience growth zoned.

CA developments of anti-population growth zoned are spatial mapped as being of regional plan layer significance to decision makers on the GLA London Planning Data Map, while a 51 metre plus tall buildings zone development of higher risk new build towers packed in is not at regional plan layer mapped.

The alternative would likely be a children's home higher risk tower in non regional plan significant intensive population growth no public services or amenities zoned.

Children's homes in the brutal London Game of Zones