Friday 18 October 2013

Invitation to Make Willesden Green launch on Wednesday 23rd October

Alex Colas
Alex Colas who was an active member of the Keep Willesden Green campaign has announced that he is going to stand in the 2014 local council elections as an independent candidate. His announcement is posted below for your information. Publication does not imply endorsement by  the cross-party/non-party Keep Willesden Green campaign.

Make Willesden Green is an independent, grassroots campaign for next year’s Brent Council elections. It is independent because it is not affiliated to any political party, and it is grassroots because its support stems from local residents who have been active in various local campaigns to save our schools, our libraries, our A&E departments and our community pub.

 The ‘Make’ in Willesden Green is all about emphasising the participation of ordinary residents in the public life of our neighbourhood. There is plenty of community activity in Willesden Green – some of it political; other less so. But it tends to be ignored by Brent Council and by our elected officers.

Make Willesden Green was set up over the summer by residents who feel unrepresented by local Councillors and mainstream parties, and who want to redress this imbalance. Our  aim is to make connections between local campaigns like Save the Queensbury, Save Gladstone Park School or Keep Willesden Green, and give them an electoral voice at the Council elections next year. This electoral platform emerges directly from the energies and ideas expressed around these campaigns, but it does not claim their exclusive representation. Instead, Make Willesden Green seeks to continue highlighting the democratic deficit in our Borough by  putting issues of  democracy, equality, sustainability, the defence of public realm and public services at the centre of the electoral campaign.

If you agree with most or even all of these aims, I would very much welcome your participation at the launch of Make Willesden Green on Wednesday 23 October 2013 from 6-7pm at the Queensbury Deli, 68 Walm Lane, NW2 4RA (the tube station end of the High Road). You will hear brief statements from local campaigners explaining why they think we need Make Willesden Green, and you will also get a chance to tell me, the candidate, what you feel our campaigning priorities should be.

We need to Make Willesden Green together.  It will only work if it is powered through the participation of local residents in whatever form you can offer: by publicly endorsing the platform, by helping to canvass neighbours, by offering to research policy ideas, by contributing funds, or simply by spreading the word.

I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday 23rd.

Friday 5 July 2013

No poor people is selling point for new Willesden Green development

When we were campaigning against the Willesden Green library redevelopment we high-lighted that no affordable homes were to be built on the site once owned by Brent Council (ie our land). Brent Council argued that  Galliford Try/Linden Homes had to be sure of a profit in order to be able to build the Culltural Centre for zero cost to the Council so no affordable homes were included.

Now like a slap in the face for those on the Council's housing list, the estate agent advertising in Singapore has made the lack of affordable homes/key worker homes a selling point! Presumably this ensures prospective buyers have the right sort of neighbours.



Willesden Green is one of North London’s liveliest and most cosmopolitan areas, whose excellent Zone 2 Jubilee Line connections really set it apart.

The Library takes a prominent position on Willesden High Road, and sets new standards in contemporary accommodation for the area. This exciting scheme comprises four buildings, offering ninety-five highly specified 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, many with balconies or terraces. The development is gated and has underground parking for residents: always a bonus in London.

• Prominent position on Brondesbury Road and Willesden High Road
• Next door to the forthcoming Cultural Centre
• Within 3-minutes ride to Zone 2 London tube station or 5-minute walk
• Within walking distance to Queens Park
• Willesden High Street is thronged with shops, supermarkets (Sainsbury’s Supermarket is a few minutes’ walk from The Library), cafes and restaurants and is a few minutes’ walk from Brondesbury Park
• Excellent transport links – Zone 2 Jubilee Line with direct connections to key interchanges including Baker Street, Waterloo, London Bridge and Canary Wharf
• No key worker/affordable housing (my emphasis)
• High quality fixtures, fittings and finishes
• Fully fitted kitchen by Symphony with integrated appliances and granite worktops
• Estimated Selling Price: From £350k (SGD 6xxk)

Milne Place (Block A)
1 Bedroom: 545 sqft – 626 sqft
2 Bedroom: 759 sqft – 1005 sqft

Lewis Court (Block B)
1 Bedroom: 546 sqft – 554 sqft
2 Bedroom: 614 sqft – 862 sqft

Developer: Linden Homes and Green Urban
Address: 95 Willesden High Road, London, NW10 (Zone 2 on Jubilee Line)
Tenure: 999-years
Estd Completion: Summer / Winter 2014; 4Q 2014
Site Area: 83,958.50 sqft


Monday 18 March 2013

Town Square registration rejected but some crumbs of comfort

The public inquiry report into the registration of the space outside Willesden Green Library took much longer than anticipated to be completed and it is far fuller than most. However the conclusion is that registration is not recommended despite the huge efforts of Martin Redston to convince the planning inspector that residents had a case:

Martin told his supporters:
By now you will have heard that the Inspector rejected my application for registration. His report of 211 pages is exceptionally long and detailed. Having read it carefully I would confirm that I think that he has been fair and reasonable in his treatment of all sides in the matter . ...He cannot recommend registration but he is sympathetic to our community in seeking to protect the open space. seems to me that there is a small crumb of comfort in that  if you read Mr Brown's various comments throughout his summary, conclusions and recommendations he considers that the square could be registered on the basis of a more defined local neighbourhood, and if free festivals (clarified by him to be a suitable pastime) in particular had been organised on a continuing basis for the entire 20 year period. He also implies that the council might like to consider the fact that they have actually increased the profile of the square in the last few years, it seems a shame to lose it now.
A report on the outcome can be read HERE on the Kilburn Times website

Monday 25 February 2013

Is the WGLC planning decision final?

Philip Grant writes:

Although Brent (Regeneration Department?) were very quick to put out a triumphal press release last Friday, saying:

'the redevelopment of Willesden Green Library Centre (WGLC) took an important step forward last night (Thursday) when Brent Council's planning committee approved the plans,'

it is noticeable that (as at 4.30pm on Monday 25 February) neither the Democratic Services (Planning Committee) nor the Brent Planning Service  (ref. 12/2924) web pages have yet given details of any such decision.

The press release does go on to say:
'the proposals will now be put to the GLA and Secretary of State who need to give the go-ahead before Brent can formally give planning permission,'
but Galliford Try and Brent's Regeneration Department have another problem as well. At the Planning Committee meeting of 21 February there was a clear breach of Brent's own Planning Code of Practice (part of Brent Council's constitution), as a public register which Planning Officers have to sign if they have what could be regarded as a "prejudicial interest" was not available for inspection at the meeting.
I had specifically advised the Democratic Services Officer responsible for the meeting that I wished to inspect this register at the meeting, so that there is no excuse for it not being there (under the Code, it is meant to be there anyway). As a result, I complained to Brent's Chief Executive about this irregularity on 22 February, and it is currently being investigated by Fiona Ledden, Brent's Director of Legal Affairs. She has promised to report back later this week. As the Planning Committee were not made aware the possibility of "prejudicial Interest" in the reports and recommendations put before them at the meeting on 21 February, they may be asked to reconsider their decisions.

Friday 22 February 2013

A campaign worth fighting

We may have lost last night but it was a campaign worth fighting and no one can doubt the passion and commitment of KWG. KWG did manage to retain some of the Victorian building but most importantly gave notice to the Council/Developers that the community won't be walked over.

I hope that the sense of community and common cause created by the campaign will continue in some form in the future.


Martin Francis

Thursday 21 February 2013

Willesden Green planning application approved

After a 3 hour meeting Brent Planning Committee tonight approved the Galliford Try/Linden Homes (and some would add Brent Council) planning application for the building of 94 one and two bedroomed flats and a Cultural Centre on the site of Willesden Green Library and its car park. 7 members voted for the application, 2 against and 1 abstained.

Members of the public were given extra time to speak and made the objections that by now will be familiar to most readers about loss of public space, smaller overall library space (though this was disputed by the planners and architect), lack of parking space, housing density and height and the future of the Brent Archive.

Cllr Hunter and Cllr Lesley Jones spoke in favour of the redevelopment while Cllr Carol Shaw  opposed and presented a list of 9 issues that needed to be addressed.

A major new issue was the failure of the Council to produce the public register of interests and make it available for inspecting at the meeting. This should have been done under section 12 of Brent's Planning Code of Practice. Philip Grant has argued in an e-mail to Joe Kwateng that as the overall head of the Department which includes Planning and Development, Andy Donald (Director of Regenration and Major Projects), had signed the Development Agreement between Brent Council and Galliford Try. As a result, all of Brent's Planning Officers have an 'involvement' with Andy Donald and should have declared a prejudicial interest.

Chris Walker, head of Planning, said that the processes were kept separate. However the issue remains that the register should have been available for inspection and wasn't made available. This may have potential legal repercussions.

Crunch time for Willesden Green at Planning Committee tonight

Planners will decide the fate of our library and the construction of 94 flats tonight at Brent Town Hall - over 400 objections have been received and yet the council are still proposing to push it through planning.

The general public are welcome to attend so come along to the Town Hall at 6.30pm (starts 7pm sharp) Willesden Green Library Centre is the only thing on the Agenda  - so there is nothing else to sit through.

If you care what happens in Willesden do come along - this will  affect us all.