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Sunday 21 February 2016

South Kilburn Regeneration Halted?

One of the less obvious confessions in the Brent Council Budget papers for tomorrow is that the regeneration of South Kilburn has slipped.  You can eventually find it in 14.5 of the report.  The report says that a "fundamental review" is under way and states:

"This review  will reconsider the fundamental approach, including whether it is better for the council to retain the South Kilburn Housing Assets, or continue to dispose of them."

I am sure this is driven by the policies of the Tory government, which are directly aimed at destroying the whole concept of social housing and forcing a large chunk of the population to live in slums.  In Kilburn, the Tory vision is also for most of the people living there to be forced out and the area to be redeveloped as entirely unaffordable housing.  That is a world away from the original intentions behind the South Kilburn regeneration of creating a mixed and balanced community.  It is entirely right that a Labour Council should reexamine the issue.

But where is the democratic involvement.  This is essentially a value judgement so why is there no mention of councillors being involved?  It is also of huge importance to people who live in South Kilburn who will be dramatically affected by a decision either way, so where is the public engagement? Finally, the South Kilburn housing stock in question represents about a third of BHP's total housing stock so where is the debate regarding BHP's future?

This sounds like a role for Scrutiny to engage the public and the many councillors who should be interested.  I hope the new Scrutiny Committee steps up to the challenge, and doesn't simply leave Council officers presenting a fait accompli to the public and their representatives. 

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