Monday, 27 February 2012

Willesden wants its voice heard on regeneration

Willesden Green residents, concerned about the lack of consultation over the Willesden Green Library Centre redevelopment  have formed the Keep Willesden Green campaign. They aim to persuade  Brent Council to pause the development to allow residents  a 'real voice' in the far-reaching changes envisaged for the site.

These include the demolition of the historical Old Willesden Library and the likely closure of the Willesden Bookshop. The campaigners are also concerned about the loss of the open space in front of the current library and bookshop and its replacement by a 'canyon' open space between the proposed flats and the back of the new Cultural Centre which will lack light and be hidden from the High Road.

A limited consultation is being held by the developers Linden Homes/Galliford Try with one to one sessions (by appointment) tomorrow and Tuesday at Willesden Green Library. In addition the developers promise that:
Plans for the Cultural Centre, and for the associated residential development, will be displayed at a two-day public exhibition to be held in the existing library on Friday 9th March (2pm-7.30pm) and Saturday 10th March (10am-2pm). Plans will also be displayed here following the event.
However, the developers do not say what will happen to the consultation feedback and whether it will be considered by Brent Council. It is likely that this will just tweak a 'done deal' so residents will need to tell the developers that we want the development to be paused so that we can have a thorough going real consultation that will start from what residents want, rather than what developers think they need or what will be most profitable.

The questionable status of this 'consultation' can be seen by this statement from Brent Council Democratic Services when I asked about presenting the Willesden Bookshop petition:
As you know the Executive has already taken decisions on this matter and so there are no current plans for the Executive to consider the matter further.  It is now for the Planning Committee to consider the planning application 
The Galliford Try website is notable for the number of pages it has which still await content and appears to have been hastily put together as a result of public disquiet. Pages on Community Benefits, Cultural Centre Design and Residential Design are all blank so residents will have little concrete to comment on and no assurance that their comments will have any impact.. You can see the website for yourself HERE

Kate Spence, co-chair of Keep Willesden Green said:
Local residents are shocked by the Council's plans to sell off public amenity to private property developers. The proposals intend to give us a large and dense private housing development with an inadequate Cultural Centre and council offices squeezed into the Conservation Area at the front. This land is council property and belongs to the council tax payers and stake holders in the area. None of us want to see this land sold off in exchange for an inadequate Cultural Centre. Our public amenity and heritage assets are being eroded, they are not being improved. As locals we do not see this as an acceptable proposal.


  1. The absence of any kind of documentation under the most importnat headings of the Galliford Try website says it all. There is no information to access or digest just hours before residents are invited to the 'one-to-one' sessions with developers. This is not a consultation but a complete piss-take.

  2. 'This land is council property and belongs to the council tax payers and stake holders in the area' The council members who have voted for this is the same people that were voted in by the people in the area, take legal action against them and vote them out.The are answerable to the voters.


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