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Saturday, 31 August 2013

Lewinson Centre Library Mural

Although I have featured a picture of the Willesden Green Mural at the old Library, I haven't pictured its counterpart at the Lewinson Centre (above).  I think it is pretty eye catching and should help draw people in off Willesden High Road.  Certainly, it is infinitely preferable to the blank wall that was there before.

Some pictures of the creation of the mural can be found here.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Street Tree Schemes

I have had a lot of queries about street trees following my post on trees in Kilburn.  Street tree planting is more complicated than it might seem, as I suggested here.

The scheme I was referring to was ward working, which gives local councillors a small budget to deal with local community needs.  The simplest way to raise this as an issue is probably a direct approach to your local councillors.  Their details are here.  They can then liaise with their local ward working officer to see if there are areas in the ward that they want to plant more trees in.  The actual decision whether or not to do so rests with the ward councillors.

Possible sources of funding include ward working funds, TfL funds and planning gain.

Further Photos of the Willesden Library Mural

I see that Positive Arts have provided some photos of the creation of the mural on the site of the former Willesden Library (now being rebuilt) that I blogged on previously. They can be found here.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Brent's Unsung Sports Centres

A consultation has been launched into possible future options for the Bridge Park Sports Centre in Stonebridge.  Nothing can be guaranteed for this site, but it reminds me of all the good work that is proceeding in Brent's Sports Centres despite the collossal financial challenges.  Let's just go through them:

A) Moberly Sports Centre is going through a major expansion and rebuild.  Although this is a Westminster facility, Brent residents will have access at the same concessionary rates as at any other Brent sports centre.
B) The contract for Vale Farm Sports Centre has been relet at a greatly reduced running cost, and with capital investment of almost £2 million to improve it.
C) The Charteris Sports Centre remains in use as a sports centre with community access outside school hours.
D) There remains the possibility of a privately financed swimming pool in the Wembley area, if the private sector pushes the project forward.  Such a centre in Tokyngton would be available to Brent residents at the same rates as other Brent Sports Centres.
E) The Willesden Sports Centre continues to thrive having been completely rebuilt under a PFI scheme by the previous Labour administration in 2006.

This is on top of a number of smaller projects around Brent parks.

Altogether it seems to me a pretty impressive record of progress despite the biggest financial cut backs ever seen in the history of Brent.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Library Management Models

The ongoing controversy over Lincolnshire's library plans causes me to reflect on the various models of fulfilling the statutory library duty that are now available.  As I see these fall into the following options:

1) The Lincolnshire approach of minimalist provision.  As far as I know, Lincolnshire is the only authority that is aiming for the absolute minimum that they can get away with, although it is quite a logical approach if you adhere to a Tory ideology of minimal government.

2) Hollowing out.  I argued before that this is the main alternative to the Brent model.  It has been adopted by a number of authorities, although I expect largely by default rather than conscious reasoning.  One example is in the Wirral, where it appears to have been the default option after the famous Charteris Enquiry, a fact not often pointed out by campaigners.

3) A third option is the Suffolk model, which is unique to that county as far as I can see, and which in my opinion exposes that authority to potential liabilities.

4) Similar to this is the creation of an independent trust.  I first came across this idea in Falkirk, but it has been widely adopted elsewhere.  The main financial saving you get from this approach is avoiding business rates.  I am not sure what the situation is in Scotland, but business rates in England are now localised so an authority that takes this route will cut expenditure in paying business rates, but then lose the equivalent amount in revenue, so I would imagine fewer authorities will be taking it up in future.

5) Trusts can be a vehicle for privatisation.  They don't have to be, as they can effectively be publicly owned, rather like a housing ALMO.  However, this is a route being taken in Harrow and Ealing.  Privatisation obviously makes things less flexible for the future as management is determined by the terms of the contract, and it may be possible to vary a contract by agreement.  I don't see that the private sector are really likely to be more efficient than public sector managers per se, although they may be less subject to political control.

6) There is the Big Society approach, which many people suspect is just a slow motion closure programme.  Certainly, I am not convinced that this generates substantial savings, and it may generate further demands for money and other forms of support from the supposedly independent partners.

Finally, there is the Brent model of concentrating on high quality services from a smaller number of buildings, which I prefer.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Misleading the Public

Paul Krugman cites some data that many Americans who benefit from Medicare simply don't realise that it is a government programme.  It is common for the British to adopt superior airs when hearing such stories, but I suspect we have a similar blind spot.

Much of the Tory Party's success in demonising people who take benefits comes from their success in portraying such people as an unsavoury underclass who take benefits as a way of living and never contribute.  In fact, most people who depend on benefits are people on low pay or pensioners, not the semi-criminals that the Daily Mail would have us all believe.  I have spoken to people who are themselves on benefits who very much want benefits to be cut, because they believe that are not on benefits and never will be.  It is similar, but perhaps even more striking than, the similar myth that income tax is the only form of tax that counts, and that people who do not pay income tax are not taxpayers.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Street Trees in Kilburn

The comment on my recent post on regenerating Kilburn High Road pleads for more street trees in Kilburn.  There is a scheme that might provide these, and I have passed the comment on to the Kilburn councillors.  The same scheme can be used for providing street trees any where in the Borough.  Last year it contributed to the seventy street trees planted in Kensal Green, for example.

I have long been an advocate of street trees.  Charles is absolutely right in pointing out the advantages in terms of shade, slowing down water flow, improving air quality, making streets look better and mitigating the heat island effect.

Specifically in Kilburn, I know that BEST (Brent Eleven Streets) has been effective in promoting street trees at the southern end of Willesden Lane, and some of the streets off Kilburn High Road, such as Brondesbury Road have historically had a lot of street trees.  The dearth in Kilburn has always struck me as being more at the South Kilburn end.  Hopefully, the number of trees will be increased as South Kilburn regenerates.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Entry to Harlesden Town Centre

The improvements to Station Approach mean that we now have a route into Harlesden Town Centre, where you can walk over the improved Station Approach, the improved bridge and up the improved Station Road to Harlesden Town Centre where improvement work is still being done.

It has taken a lot of effort, but I think that is quite a lot of improvement.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Living Walls

The completion of London's biggest living wall was recently announced.  The publicity surrounding such projects is often about how "green" and sustainable they are, but I do wonder how true this is.  Moving a large amount of soil in and putting it in a vertical framework, presumably with some sort of artificial irrigation system does not strike me as an especially sustainable approach.  I am sure it must reduce surface water flooding in the immediate area, but it seems an immensely elaborate way to do so.

Friday, 23 August 2013

More Progress on Car Clubs

A German company appears to be driving further progress in car clubs.  Car2go offer minute by minute rental, unlike the hourly rental currently prevalent?  You also supposed to be able to park them anywhere in a home zone, and use them without pre-booking.  I can certainly imagine the greater flexibility being attractive to many people.

It surprises me therefore that they claim London is actually quite difficult to break into.  Brent, following Labour's election in 2010, has (I thought) an extremely pro car club policy.  We encourage the use of car club cars by Brent employees.  More strikingly, we allow car club cars to park anywhere within a CPZ.  This seemed such a huge advantage when we introduced it along with emission based permits in 2011, that I was worried it would lead to enormous congestion.  That does not appear to have happened however,

The advantages of car clubs are enormous.  They cut congestion by reducing the numbers of vehicles.    They reduce pollution by encouraging forms of transport other than the car.  They cut the cost to the car user enormously.

I am convinced that they will be seen as a major part of London's transport solutions in a few years time.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

The Importance of Air Quality Monitoring

The Guardian gives an example of central government running down public services gradually, in the proposal to remove requirements for air quality monitoring.  It is worth going through the steps that bit by bit damage and eventually destroy the public good in this case, as it is fairly typical.

1) Demonise public services as red tape and bureaucracy.  This can be done by a number of often spurious or misleading stories of waste or extravagance presented as typical of local democracy.  As anyone familiar with the pronouncements of Eric Pickles knows, they can be highly misleading or even totally untrue.  The end result is that public spending start to be seen as automatically bad.
2) Remove the need for "non essential" services that actually underpin wider services.  In this case, any effective measures against polluters will become impossible because there will be no legal evidence to back it up, and tackling air quality in general will become more difficult as there will be less evidence to make a business/political case for intervention.
3) Create a financial crisis in institutions so that make short term cuts even at the expense of longer term goals.

The short term effects in Brent of cuts to air quality monitoring will be to make it even more difficult to take action on Neasden Goods Yard, one of the worst air pollution sites in London.  The Environment Agency tends to drag its feet on enforcement on this site anyway.  Without a record of air quality measurements maintained over time, there would not be a basis for legal action.

The longer term effect of not monitoring the high level pollution of parts of Brent would be to reduce the pressure for measures to improve air quality, particularly regarding transport emissions.

Another job well done for Eric Pickles.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

More Government Housing Failure

More evidence of the government's failures on housing comes from the Liberal Democrat comments on housing standards.  The shrinking size of UK housing (and the long term shrinkage quoted in the Guardian report is truly shocking) is now being driven by the lack of supply.  This also leads to the beds in sheds phenomenon and overcrowding in legitimate housing.  In turn, pushing far too many people in to sub standard housing has awful knock on effects in health, economic productivity, quality of life, pressures on public services and even crime.

Meanwhile George Osborne's help to buy simply pushes up prices without increasing housing supply.   The "help to buy" phrase really applies to him buying the next election.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Regeneration and Kilburn High Road

A while ago I did a post on regeneration of Willesden High Road.  I think that even some fairly modest improvements could bring it up to a much better standard, but an even more obvious candidate is Kilburn High Road.

Kilburn High Road is supposed to be one of Brent's two district shopping centres, but it has no real plans to do anything with it at present.  This is a shame as it has three potential draws to bring people in from a wide area.  They are the Tricycle Theatre, the church in the old cinema and the market near the Cock Tavern.  The Tricycle I think is very successful and really going places in renewing itself.  The church I think has potential to draw lots of people to the area, but there is a real danger that they will go away again without really engaging.  The market seems to me to need to rethink what it's USP is, as the current range of stalls strikes me as quite limited.

In terms of what Brent Council can do, I think there are two main things.  One would be to set up a proper relationship with Camden.  There is occasional LP service to this idea, but it needs a more permanent arrangement, perhaps like the joint Welsh Harp Committee Brent shares with Barnet.

The second is a big improvement in the public realm to reduce congestion and improve the walk ability of the area for pedestrians.  I don't see any prospect of the kind of major scheme underway in Harlesden Town Centre, but more modest and incremental improvements should be possible.


Always good to meet another street tree supporter.  I have put some more details here.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Eric Pickles and the Disappearing Weekly Collections

I saw a press report on Saturday making more claims about rubbish collections.  It struck me as the latest stage in Eric Pickles mendacious campaign on the subject.  Before we get to it, let's do a quick reminder about alternate weekly collections.

Councils like alternate weekly collections because they greatly increase the amount of recycling collections.  This helps reduce the amount sent to landfill, which is hideously expensive and becoming more so.  Landfill waste is also a big producer of methane, a leading greenhouse gas, since it has a high proportion of food waste which rots in the ground.  Recycling waste, by contrast, can actually generate money as under some deals, companies are willing to pay for such raw materials.

Alternate weekly collections are therefore widely used by Councils of all political colours, including (since 2011) Brent.

Eric Pickles was going to change all that.  Despite austerity, he found £250 million to try to pay Councils to reintroduce weekly collections and therefore send more waste to landfill.  Here is the Daily Mail spin at the time.

Since it cost far more to take Eric Pickles' bribe than refuse it, most Councils refused.

 A furious Eric Pickles threatened to force councils to adopt his favoured vanity project.  So much for localism.  Of course, many of these authorities are Tory run.

Which brings me back to the Saturday article.  It looks like the Eric Pickles lie machine has finally realised that real life is going to win.  Alternate weekly collections are just a far more effective form of rubbish collection, a much better deal for the taxpayer, and much better for the environment.  Rather than plead mea culpa, what does he do?

Blame Europe.

Instead of admitting that he has been scaremongering and misleading all this time, he is now pretending it is all down to the EU, which is now said to be forcing alternate weekly collections.

How typically dishonest.

Presumably the latest remarks on bin housing are a further distraction technique.  Since it is well known that adequate rubbish disposal is part of the planning process already.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Shanice at the Civic Centre

One of the more surprising technological innovations in Brent's civic centre is here.   She is part of Brent's registration and nationality service.


I note that this has become subject to a typically ill informed and ill thought out comment by the Liberal Democrats via Cllr Alison Hopkins.  Aside from the knee jerk opposition to new technology, she characteristically ignores the coatings.  The one off cost of a hologram is £12k; an "apprentice" would need not only to be trained but presumably even the Liberal Democrats would expect s/he to be given an ongoing salary.

Barnet And Parking Case

Barnet recently had a case awarded against it for excessive parking charges in CPZs.  I am still thinking about how this might impact on Brent.  There seems to be a case that Barnet was nakedly pursuing money raising in a way Brent has not, but the reporting does not differentiate between penalty notices and general fees.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Improved Road Surface at Willesden Junction Station Approach

My final before and after photo of Station Approach shows the worn out road surface that buses passed over.  The new surface, which is to a much higher standard is below.  Altering the camber of the road has also reduced the ponding issues.

Friday, 16 August 2013

George Monbiot on Street Trees

George Monbiot has been writing about street trees.  Whilst I am glad he is raising the profile of the subject, I am struck that he seems to ignore some issues that many local authorities regard as central.

Chief among them is insurance.  For Councils like Brent this is one of the major factors in street tree management.  Species like London Plane can grow to a huge size, and their roots start to undermine people's houses.  Insurance companies then have a valid claim against the tree owner, the Council in the case of a street tree.  Once a successful claim is made for one tree in a street, it is frequently followed by a cluster of similar claims in the same area.  Avoiding the expense of such claims is a major factor for Councils.

A second issue he seems to underestimate is the difficulty of planting trees sustainably.  Urban environments are distinctly unfriendly to trees with paved areas depriving them of water, pollution especially from traffic, high temperatures in Summer and so on.  Finding tree species robust enough to cope needs specialist knowledge.  I don't know whether the species list used by our own contractor Gristwood and Toms is the best one, but the point is that you need an arboriculturalist to make a judgement.

The third issue that occurs to me is the practical one of uniformity.  As well as encouraging biodiversity, a variety of different species should make the tree stock less vulnerable to particular diseases such as ash tree dieback.  Those are obviously important advantages. However, Councils also have to look after very large numbers of trees.  In Brent's case we have about 27,000 street trees spread over about 480km of streets.  Treating each tree as an individual sounds lovely but entails great expense.  For such a large number of trees, you realistically need a more standardised approach for cost reasons.

The Guardian version of his article also carries a lot of comments lamenting the supposed negative effects of budget reductions on biodiversity.  I actually think the opposite is true.  Brent has systematically changed its planting regime in parks in the past three years.  I have been advised that this is better for biodiversity overall.  I must admit that aesthetically I preferred the kind of flowerbeds you used to have at the entrance to Roundwood Park, but in terms of biodiversity those flowerbeds were not especially rich.  They were also expensive to plant and maintain, and very water thirsty.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Harlesden Incinerator Decision Deferred

Last night, Ealing deferred making a decision on the Harlesden Incinerator proposal, largely because of fear relating to air quality.  I would regard this as a minor victory in what may well turn out to be a long war.


As I have pointed out before, the proposed West London waste facility is not situated in the immediate neighbourhood of residential housing.  It is sited on an old chemicals works.

One Barnet Propaganda

The Guardian seem to have fallen for a propaganda line being out out in support of the One Barnet privatisation.  The original article was followed up by another from one of the leading consultant firms in the contract.

All this looks way too smart for the hapless Barnet Tories.  It looks as if the powerful corporate interests involved have decided they need to popularise the idea of large scale privatisation.  The main problems with the One Barnet approach are:

1) It locks the Council into a relationship with one supplier for a vast range of services for a long period.  Whoever wins the Council in 2014 will be bound by the contracts just signed.  Unless Capita have been very foolish, they will have all sorts of provisions to protect their profit margins.  Any new administration will find it hard to more than tinker with the arrangements.  For example, if a future Labour administration wanted to introduce a Living Wage arrangement, I imagine Capita could simply say no.

2). The contract covers such a broad range of services that it will be very hard to relet it in a competitive market.  Very few companies can take on such size and complexity, which means that Capita has an effective monopoly for the foreseeable future.  The difficulty of winning any future procurement will probably put off any other companies from even attempting it.

3). As there are commercial arrangements involved, it is likely that access to information will be severely restricted in comparison to conventional public sector arrangements.  Commercial confidentiality is a recognised reason for refusing FoI requests.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Harlesden Incinerator

The Harlesden Incinerator proposal goes to Ealing Planning Committee tonight.  The proposal is an awful one, which impacts on Harlesden and Kensal Green residents in unacceptable ways.  Brent Council, and myself, have objected strongly to this.  If the proposal is approved by Ealing, we shall have to appeal to the Mayor of London to stop it.

Brent Recycling Again

Following yesterday's post, I thought a fuller look at recycling might be in order.  Although the blue top bins have been a big success, the Council started implementing a package of recycling measures from April to take progress even further.  The aim is to take the recycling rate to 50%, which would be a fantastic improvement on the less than 30% rate we inherited in 2010.

The steps so far are:

1) Doorknocking on a geographical basis in the areas which have worst recycling rates to encourage more recycling.  I know from my own experience that a number of people don't understand the system.  Often this is because they are new to Brent.

2) Installing food waste recycling in flats.  This has now been completed at more than 190 blocks of flats.

3) Better waste enforcement.  The enforcement team was reorganised at the beginning of this year, and concentrate on particular areas over a three week period with high visibility enforcement. Since that time, they have undertaken 2,556 street inspections, 325 business investigations, 128 fly tipping investigations and 81 littering investigations.  These have resulted in a number of cautions and prosecutions.

4) Better recycling of street waste.  The contractor has reorganised so that a greater proportion of street waste is recycled.  Officers estimate that this could save more than £100,000 in landfill charges over a full year.

5) An information pack has been prepared for letting agents to help get them to engage their tenants more in recycling.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Recycling by Ward in Brent

I was sent recently the figures for recycling by ward in Brent, which make interesting reading.  They are fore the first quarter of this municipal ytear (April to June).  Here they are:

Ward Recycling rate for April - June


2 KENTON 54%





7 FRYENT 45%




11 PRESTON 43%







18 SUDBURY 39%




The officer view is that discrepancies in recycling rates are largely down to mobility in the population, and the nature of the housing stock.  However, I am not sure this entirely explains the differences.  Kilburn seems to score quite highly, despite having a lot of tower blocks in South Kilburn and around Kilburn Square.  Willesden Green scores badly despite being made up almost entirely of street properties.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Brent Civic Centre Praised in Architect Journal

Brent's new civic centre has been highly praised in the Architect's Journal here.  It gives some idea of how the Civic Centre is seen as outstanding in a both a UK and even an international context.  Of course, the building was only made possible by persisting with the project despite constant brickbats from Brent's extraordinarily anti-environmentalist Green Party.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Willesden Junction Station Approach on the Hammersmith and Fulham Side

The pavement on the Hammersmith and Fulham side of Station Approach used to be in such a poor state as to be actually dangerous, as can be seen from the picture above.  The remodelled Station Approach is below.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Public Libraries News Quote

I was briefly quoted on Public Libraries News yesterday.  In fact the quote comes from a standard letter put out by Brent's library service.  It just explains that Wembley Library's first month has been a success, because:

“Overall issues were up by 1% to almost 84,000 and visits up by 20% from 112,000 to 134,000 during July 2013.  This was mainly due to the opening of Wembley Library which saw over 1,100 new borrowers join the library and over 49,000 visits made.”

Friday, 9 August 2013

George Osborne's Fracking Policy

I have been getting a number of emails about fracking in Brent.  I am not aware that anyone wants to try in our area, as I understand that fracking takes place in shale, not clay, so Brent is geologically unsuitable.

The national government is determined to encourage fracking, which strikes me as a thoroughly misguided policy because of the fears over groundwater contamination, carbon emissions, instability and so on.  However, George Osborne has made changes in national policy that make it harder to resist fracking facilities in themselves, as the LGiU recently blogged, so other areas will be affected.

Dutch Cycling

The BBC has a report on Dutch biking here.  The Dutch have achieved their very high levels of bike use after a determined national effort maintained over a forty year period.  I don't see any sign of a similar level of political will in the UK.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Library Problems in Suffolk

This report on the financing of Suffolk libraries caught my eye recently.  Suffolk went for a bold new model of minimalist local government, which quickly went down in flames.  Arising from this, they also spun off their library service to an industrial and provident society.  As far as I know, they are the only authority to have gone down precisely this route.

The link shows some of the strange smoke and mirrors of the funding, which makes it quite hard to work out whether Suffolk is actually saving money.  If the IPS is exempt from business rates, which is generally one of the main selling points of these trust type arrangements, the County Council probably makes no overall saving from the arrangement as it whatever it saved from not paying from the library budget it no longer collects though its revenue side.  That seems to leave the main potential saving as raising donations from local communities, but that sounds either artificial (coming from the Suffolk equivalent of Ward Working) or much lower than expected.

The trouble for Suffolk is that they seem to have acknowledged the IPS is delivering their statutory duty to provide libraries so they are now tied to a body they no longer fully control, and whose finances seem shaky.  Altogether, one can see why the model has not been taken up elsewhere.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Willesden Junction Station Approach Guard Rails

The original reason I started getting annoyed by the entrance to Willesden Junction were the guard rails pictured above.  As anyone can see from the picture, they narrow the pavement so much as to force people to walk in the road.  The new scheme has removed them entirely (below).

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Harlesden Town Centre Web Pages

Brent Council has provided some web pages to inform people about the changes to Harlesden Town Centre here.  I think they are rather good in being easy to use and informative.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Tricycle Theatre Funding

The Forward Plan for this month contains details of funding arrangements for the Tricycle Theatre.  I have long seen the Tricycle as being of key importance, especially to the Kilburn area.

By a historical quirk, the funding Brent Council gives to the Tricycle is simply on an annual basis.  Other grants that the Council gives, to the CAB for example, are done on a three yearly basis.  An annual grant makes the Tricycle's financial management much more difficult than it should be, so when I was Lead Member I suggested extending the period to the standard three years.  I am glad that this has finally got through works of the Council bureaucracy.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Street Benches

I have been reflecting on the issues around street benches, such as the ones outside Willesden Green Post Office pictured above.  At first sight, it may seem as if there are no issues, but in fact they can easily attract controversy.

The ones above became a focus of street drinkers once the open space outside what used to be the Willesden Green Library Centre became unavailable.  Street drinking appeared to be virtually the only genuine pastime that the advocates of a Town Green could legitimately point to as being of long standing.  I gather that thebenches may now be removed, which seems a real shame.  A long time ago, there was a similar problem with youths hanging around the benches in Hazel Road.  Kilburn High Road has a similar problem with people hanging around Kilburn High Road station.

The problem is that removing the benches makes the areas concerned less attractive, especially to the elderly who want resting places.  Given the Council's need to make the streets more pedestrian friendly, that creates an inevitable tension.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Willesden Library Interim Services

I haven't seen the figures for July yet, but I thought it worth mentioning that the interim services at George Furness House and the Lewinson Centre appear to be a success.  There were gloomy predictions when the project was being designed, including some wildly exaggerated claims of the "closure of Willesden Library."

The figures for May and June tell a different story.  Admittedly both issues and visits are markedly down, but that was only to be expected.  The book issues for those two months still amount to 16,404 issues for those two months.  That gives Willesden a respectable 10.9% of book issues in those months, which is surprisingly just ahead of the Town Hall/Wembley library figure.

Visits for the same period are 40,937, which is just over 19% of the total.  Incredibly that makes the interim service at Willesden our second most popular library in that period.

I expect that Willesden's overall share will start to reduce as the new Wembley Library becomes more established, but it is still quite a testament to the planning that went in to maintaining the service during the rebuild period.  Of course, once the new facility opens in 2015, it should have dramatically higher figures.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Former Kensal Rise Library Building and Planning

I understand that there is now a planning application out for the former Kensal Rise Library Building.  I shall be making no comment on this before it goes to committee, and probably not publishing comments on the subject either.

Brent Civic Centre Biomass Plant

One of the aspects of the new civic centre which I think, in it's own nerdish way, is rather exciting is the biomass boiler supplied by Fleetsolve.  With minor adjustments, this can be made to take a variety of different fuels.  The original intention was to use vegetable oil, but this has now changed to waste fish oil I.e. fish oil from food processing companies that would otherwise be thrown away.  The unit should recapture its own waste heat, giving it a high efficiency rating.

The intention is that surplus electricity will be sold on to the national grid.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Willesden Junction Station Approach Completed

The work I have agitated for at the Station Approach end of Willesden Junction has finally been completed, and I thiunk it looks quite good.  I will post some before and after photos over the coming days to show the contrast.