Thursday 9 May 2024

Nothing in the London Road development for Brent people says Cllr Saqib Butt - then votes for it


Slide shown at Planning Committee showing the site of the 8 shops on London Road in the foreground and Wembley Central flats behind them.

The two new blocks

Wednesday's Planning Committee was a curious affair with at one time, despite the developer and officers explaining several times why the two proposed mid-rise blocks (6 and 7-storey) on London Road should not be higher (overbearing, over-shadowing, reduced daylight and sunlight,) Cllr Liz Dixon  insisting that they should be higher.  Her idea was that if they were higher the developer would be able to provide some affordable housing (there is none in the development) - an argument she has used before without quoting evidence in terms of financial viability.

The case of Cllr Saqib Butt, vice chair of the Planning Commitete and brother of Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council was interesting. He had obviously read the documentation thoroughly and as you can see from the footage below found much wrong with the planning application:


 He finishes by saying:

There is nothing here for our Brent residents that is a positive I can find, apart from market rents which our residents will not be able to afford.

As on other occasions his contribution contains a careful assessment that would lead you to think he would vote against a proposal. However, as has also happened before, he voted in SUPPORT of the application.

It may be a good idea for those supporting an application to have to give their reasons. At present the default rule is that this only has to be done by those abstaining or voting against.

There was an interesting intervention by Cllr Ajmal Akram who had also done his homework. He asked who was the true land-owner behind the development. The papers said Freshwater but his search of the Land Registry found that it was Daejan Investments (/Holdings) a company that there were concerns about.

He was told that this was not an issue for the Planning Committee and anyway the ultimate developer may be another company.  The Freshwater family own Daejan Investments. There has been controversy because they have no women on their board as this would offend their Orthdox Jewish Charedi values. LINK

The company also launched a very expensive battle with mansion block leaseholders as the freeholder that went to the Supreme Court. Daejan won.  LINK

Maybe that made Cllr Butt pause for thought.

The Committee voted 4-3 in favour of the application. Councillors Akram, Dixon and Maurice all voted against on the ground of non-compliance with various planning guidelines including the loss of commercial space on London Road.

Cllr Rita Begum, as far as I could see took no part in the proceedings. I understand that she has thrown her hat in the ring to become Deputy Leader of the Labour Group at the upcoming AGM,  a post currently held by Milli Patel. Apparently in her pitch for the job she emphasised effective communication with stakeholders including Labour Party branches.  As a Kilburn councillor she is not known for regular attendance at the Kilburn branch.

There will be a later viability review when the site has been developed and tru costs are known but as it stand there is not affordable housing on the site and no contribution towards affordable housing elsewhere in the borough.



Jaine Lunn said...

I am totally baffled as to why Cllr Saqib Butt, asked very pertinent questions of the Officer, clearly stated that "It has no positives for Brent Residents" and then went on to vote in favour. Surely he made a mistake putting his hand up at the wrong time? and then did not clarify his mistake! WHY?

Anonymous said...

They'd already decided to grant permission so going through the motions.

History will show who voted in favour of these dreadful developments in Brent.

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Anonymous said...

This is not the 1st time that Labour Councillors have done this. It is pure posturing - they try to give the impression of being on the side of local people and then simply follow orders and stab local people in the back.

Anonymous said...

Why even bother consulting or submitting objections if they grant applications anyway. Makes the Planning Committee holding meetings pointless and a waste of money, oh I forgot at least they get paid.

Anonymous said...

If it was a mistake he would have learned from it, but he's made that same mistake time after time!!!

Anonymous said...

I is believed in some circles that if the officers recommend then the Chair and Deputy are obliged to vote for as they had already agreed with officer.

The London Borough of Bent and Disgraceful

Anonymous said...

Brent's Planners and the Planning Committee are a disgrace

Anonymous said...

Are any of the shops trading and open for business?