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Thursday, 31 May 2018

Kiln Theatre Foresters Exhibition

I see that cementing its local credentials, the Kiln Theatre is advertising for a curator for a "Foresters" exhibition about migration in Brent.  The Tricycle Transformed Theatre is working with the Brent Museum on the project and the result will be displayed at both the Brent Museum site in Willesden Library Centre and the Kiln Theatre itself, where it will be linked with a forthcoming play.  This is just the kind of partnership working that I hoped would come out of the Libraries Transformation Project

The exhibition and the play that accompanies it actually embeds the Kiln Theatre rather more firmly in its Brent milieu that during the Tricycle era as it will involve community outreach directly in the dramas of the Theatre, which is after all the Kiln's main purpose. 

Anyone who wants to apply needs to be quick as it closes tomorrow. 

United Synagogue Project at Willesden Jewish Cemetery

Incidentally, one of the projects that got funding from the Community Infrastructure Levy that I blogged on yesterday, was a commemorative garden in the Willesden Jewish Cemetery.  This helps commemorate the 150th anniversary of the United Synagogue.  It is nice to see Willesden's long Jewish history getting a nod as well as improvements to an important local green space.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Brent's CIL Projects

Martin Francis has got hold of a list of CIL projects awarded by Brent Council.  This is a victory for transparency from a Council that appears to be becoming increasingly secretive.  He objects that the awards seem to be spent by the Council in many cases.  I don't see why that is a concern.  We are talking about taxpayers money so why shouldn't it be spent by people employed by the taxpayer and accountable according to normal public sector rules?

I find it rather odd that in this case Martin, unusually for him, seems to favour a privatised arrangement.

It incidentally highlights the odd case of Preston "library" where more than a quarter of a million is being spent by a small group with no track record of handling that sort of sum.  The report I highlighted previously said that this group would be spending £18,000 on a "reception desk" as well sums of money on shelving that would be sufficient to shelve books worth more than Brent libraries entire annual book stock fund would be capable of buying.  I literally cannot imagine how to spend £18,000 on a reception desk of even the most luxurious character.

Meanwhile Willesden Library was allocated just over £9,000 for a cultural programme despite being the obvious flagship for the Brent's "Borough of Culture".

Whatever the motivation of these awards, reinforcing the proven success of Brent libraries does not appear to be among them. 

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

All Souls College Property Empire in Brent

The Guardian today has revelations that All Souls College retains about 300 properties in Brent.  Well, fancy that.  I am surprised that they don't want to consolidate their holdings. 

Less Affordable Housing Following Fire Safety Funding

In a different way to the one I predicted, Theresa May has confirmed that funding for affordable housing will be raided to improve fire safety measures.  The central government fund for affordable grants will be cut rather than the HRA directly.  It is obvious that the Conservative Party just does not get the level of need for affordable housing. 


I see that Tory councillors are themselves now saying this to Theresa May

Monday, 28 May 2018

National Parks

The BBC report that Julian Glover is being set to do a review of national parks by Michael Gove.  This strikes me as the wrong question being answered by the wrong person.

Mr Glover is an established Tory cheer leader in the press.  He has no other obvious qualifications for being in charge of a review on this subject.  It looks like another example of Tory cronyism by Michael Gove.  Of course, Mr Gove does not believe in trusting experts and has successfully led us into the Brexit quagmire as a result.

Secondly, national parks are isolated areas of countryside that have historically been protected.  If we want to protect biodiversity we need to think not just in terms of specific small areas, but of the whole island and what connects each area.  We also need to think about how climate change is affecting habitats and weather patterns, but that is a complex subject for which Mr Glover seems to have no obvious qualifications.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Alternative Facts in Kensal Rise

A rather odd comment in this Times story (paywall).  Most of the article is about cuts in general in local government, but one quote comes from some one connected to Kensal Rise Library.  The story says:

“When we say library, it has to be multifunctional,” Stephanie Schonfield, a trustee of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library, explains. “It just has to be. We have to survive. We’ve got absolutely no public funding.”

What I find odd about this is that Kensal Rise Library has said that it does have public funding.  The February 2018 newsletter states:

"We have been successful with our bids for funds to both the Community Infrastructure Levy and the Harvist Trust. From the former we have two grants totalling £95,000 and from the latter £5,000. All will go towards the refurbishment of the library space, computers and books."

The Harvist Trust is a somewhat obscure charity used by local authorities on the A5 to disburse grants of up to £5,000.  The Community Infrastructure Levy is a tax on property developers paid to a Planning Authority and used for what are thought to be socially useful investments (schools, highways improvements and so on).  It is a tax in exactly the same way as the Council Tax or Business Rates (or indeed the taxes used to make central government funding to local authorities.

The refusal to recognise (which I am sure is quite sincere) that this is "public funding" in the ordinary sense of the term is a curious mental quirk. 


I am sorry to have taken so long with publishing the comment below.  Previously I had an alert about comments but it seems to have disabled itself.  I have covered before that Brent Council could not "give" the building away since it did not own it.

On the other point that building costs do not count as part of the library service.  Actually they do.  How would you run a library without a building?  During the Libraries Transformation Project we were repeatedly told that the online services, whilst welcome, could not themselves supply an adequate service.  I accept that point.  Therefore you need the buildings to run a service from, and that the capital grants are therefore providing necessary but not sufficient funding towards whatever is now done in the former library building. 

I would argue you also need staff for an adequate library service of the kind Brent Council should provide, but evidently FKRL have something different in mind.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Willesden Green Delayed Campaign Launch

Willesden Green delayed election is the subject of today's Labour Party campaign launch outside the Willesden Sainsburys this morning.  The actual election, which was delayed by the death of Cllr Lesley Jones MBE, will be on 21 June.

The deadline to register to vote is midnight on Tuesday, 5 June 2018. Applications can be made online at

If a Willesden Green voter needs a postal vote Brent Council must receive the application no later than 5pm on Wednesday, 6 June 2018.

If a Willesden Green voter wants to appoint a proxy to vote on his/her behalf, Brent Council must receive your application no later than 5pm on Wednesday, 13 June 2018.

Applications to vote by post or to appoint a proxy can be downloaded from

The full list of candidates is here

Friday, 25 May 2018

Willesden Green Election Candidates Announced

The list of election candidates for Willesden Green is announced.  The only new candidate is Elliot Chappell for Labour, replacing Cllr Lesley Jones MBE.  The Greens, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Tories are therefore all fielding three candidates.  The most recent election in Willesden was in 2014

Councillor Allowances and Increasing Workloads

Casting an eye over the supplementary report into why councillors basic allowances in Brent are being increased so much I read this paragraph:

Having reviewed the basic allowance recommended as a result of the 2018 independent review (£11,045) and taken account of the increased workload and responsibilities now placed on Members, it is proposed that the level of basic allowance for Members in the 2018/19 Scheme should be increased to £12,000. It is felt this will better reflect the increasingly complex nature of the role Members are required to fulfil alongside the increased demands on their time and expectations in relation to their representational role.

I genuinely can't think of any additional workload that councillors are expected to take up that wasn't already assumed for the past several years.  Indeed, I would think that the political culture of Brent appears to be moving towards councillors doing rather less. 

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Somerset Follows Northants

It looks like Somerset may be going the way of Northants, a second Tory Council to ignominiously collapse as a result of the present Tory government's all out assault on local government.  Meanwhile the man who designed this disaster, Eric Pickles, is being elevated to the House of Lords

Possibly UK government would not be so riddled with examples of executive incompetence if the people in charge of these stupid decisions actually got punished for them.

Although I have to admit that Somerset has materially added to its own woes by freezing the Council Tax for six years, and thus digging away at its tax base, eroding its long term financial viability.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Dutch Car Free Trial

This permit swap for green space experiment in the Netherlands sounds all too reminiscent of various car centred debates I have had.  I include the public reaction in that.  Nothing seems to ignite people in quite the same way. 

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

The Gradgrind Argument for the Arts

A reminder here of some of the basic economic arguments for Arts education here.   Although it focuses on drama something similar could be said about music.  In a way I regret the reductionism.  Not everything in education should be reduced to a Gradgrind test of productivity gain, but it is undoubtedly true that arts and drama contribute positively to the Economy both directly and indirectly.  

Something for people in Brent to reflect on during the 2020 Borough of Culture perhaps?

Monday, 21 May 2018

Rees Mogg Struggles to Stay Sane and Vote Tory

Yesterday's Sunday Times contained one of the most unfortunate campaign photos I have seen for a long time.  It contained Jacob Rees-Mogg and his young son looking like his mini-me.  Both are wearing outsize blue rosettes and have chosen to pose in front of a Vote Labour poster with a smaller post saying Stay Sane, Don't Vote Tory underneath. 

I imagine that must have pretty hard to find in Somerset.  Does Rees-Mogg have no one to advise him that certain photo opportunities just aren't going to improve your image?

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Grenfell and the Cladding

A building review appears to have decided not to ban the kind of cladding used at Grenfell, but seems likely to be over ruled by politicians.  I think there is a real danger here of looking at one or other factor and focusing on it as a totem whereas what is needed is a systematic approach to see what went wrong with the whole system.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Potholes and Highways Asset Maintenance

The Times in particular has been focusing on the poor quality of the roads across the country recently and suggesting one off injections of capital for potholes.  I think that actually shows you worst practice in terms of actually fixing the problem.

The trouble is, it rather suits people politically for either a Council or Central government to announce a series of one off cash injections rather than sort out an ongoing problem.  It is a matter of grabbing the immediate headline rather than solving an intractable problem.  It is better to have a longer term plan for two reasons:

The first is that an ongoing maintenance can be preventative.  You can treat an entire road and stop water seeping in so much.  Patching potholes tends to be bitty, and even when it is is done leads to an unsightly "crazy paving" look.  Doing a whole street uniformly may well be cheaper in the long run and gives a more even feel to the street scape.

Secondly, with a reliable stream of business it is easier to set something like the LoHac contract up allowing like for like comparisons across contractors and pushing prices down through transparency.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Pragmatic Nationalisation

It is hard to disagree with Andrew Adonis' view on rail nationalisation here.  The East Coast line, on which I travel a fair deal, just was more effective under public ownership.  I find it hard to see why Chris Grayling and before him Stephen Byers are so reluctant to face nationalisation of the UK's railways. 

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Cabinet Roles in Brent Council

Looking through the Brent Cabinet papers for the forthcoming Cabinet meeting, I was struck that no one appears to have Lead Member for finance as their specified role.  That is extremely odd and probably unique in local government. 

Normally the finance lead is seen as one of the most important posts.  One might imagine that with continuing cuts coming through the Council budget even after years of Budget cuts it would be even more central.  Yet it is no one's specific task.  In my experience that tends to be a bad idea since not having a named person in charge will make it everyone's task and no one's.  There is a real risk of no proper direction and councillors just falling into a general blame culture.

The second thing that strikes me about this agenda is the thinness of it.   Just four reports immediately after an election where an incumbent administration has been re-elected.  That doesn't sound like hitting the ground running.  More just meandering along.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Brent Borough of Culture

Yesterday, I suggested Planning gain around Wembley Stadium (or indeed the area around Wembley Stadium in general) might be a suitable subject for a Scrutiny group.  I think an even better one might be the focus of Brent's plans as a Borough of Culture.

There are plenty of things such a group might concentrate on.  What is meant by Culture?  For example does it include sports as well as the Arts?  How will the main Arts venues in Brent be involved (including the renamed Kiln Theatre of course).  What organisations are to be involved?  How much will the emphasis be public participation and how much on paid performers?

Those are a few questions and there are many more that councillors should be giving a political steer on. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Planning to Back Track

I understand that Brent Council is looking to back track on its proposed £17.8 million payment for changes to the Pedway into Wembley Stadium.  This is a result of the possibility of selling the Stadium it would seem.  I questioned this odd payment when it was first approved by the Council Cabinet back in July last year

Unfortunately without further detail on what is in the deal and what not, it is hard to know what is going on.  It would no doubt prove an extremely suitable subject for a Scrutiny task group as the rumours around developing the area near the Stadium are in danger of damaging the Council's reputation. 

Sunlight is the best disinfectant as David Cameron used to say.

Meanwhile, we still seem to be short of any hint of a wider vision of how Wembley should develop and what the balance between the needs of businesses and residents should be.  Such a vision should really be provided by the political leadership of the Council.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Northants Commissioners Move In

Everyone seems to have forgotten about Northants Council.  It now has commissioners put in charge.  The report does not say what is going to happen to the elected councillors.  They presumably have no power over the running of Northants Council at all, a stark warning to those who wanted to set illegal budgets

Anti-Sectarian Support from Israel

A rather curious sidelight from this Jewish Chronicle report.  Hilak Bar MK is quoted as saying "When we saw the protest by the Jewish community, we felt we owed it to our Jewish brothers and sisters in the UK to say, enough is enough”.  That is a member of the Knesset, who chairs a committee on the Two State solution in the Knesset feels impelled to intervene in the UK's Labour because of the sectarian pressures he feels UK Jews are under.

When some one comes you from Israel offering their support against unreasonable sectarianism, perhaps there really is a problem. 

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Kiln Theatre Protests Take a Strange Turn

It sounds as if the protests around the Kiln (formerly Tricycle) Theatre are taking a rather odd turn.  I say "around" because the protesters appear to be protesting both in favour and against the Theatre and in one case just making a generalised comment on community pubs. 

At least that is the impression I get from the reports in the Kilburn Times and via Wembley Matters.

People seem to be overlooking just what a remarkable thing the Kiln Theatre team has achieved in getting funding to build the new theatre, push the changes through, launch a series of high quality productions and community engagement projects, and maintain the business as a going concern at a time when funding for the Arts is incredibly difficult. 

To begrudge them a name change after all that seems more than a little churlish.

Indeed, it sounds like this group of protesters are getting dangerously close to the same trap that some of the Brent Library litigants fell into.  They are so determined to be hostile to an element of the project that they become completely hostile to the very institution that they claim to be defending.  Certainly when I see the quotes in the CNJ and the Brent Times about organising a "boycott" of the Theatre I can't help but wonder how that would help anyone.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Ending PFI on the Chalcots Estate

The Camden New Journal reports the ending of a PFI scheme for the Chalcots estate on Adelaide Road in Camden.  Instead Camden Council appear to taking the scheme back in house.  It follows a bitter fight around who was to pay for what and the financial fall out from the evacuation over fire safety fears

Even its proponents were never terribly keen on the PFI deal.  It was chosen as a second best option after Camden chose not to take the last Labour government's Decent Homes money.  It is another sign that local government is moving away from outsourcing and complex contracts that seem to involve more bureaucracy in managing them, but not much in terms of benefits.  Long term contracts also tend to reduce flexibility in what Councils can do since they tend to have more legal restrictions. 

Friday, 11 May 2018

Housing and Permitted Development

Evidence and detail on how Tory housing policy has been a disaster.  In this case it is the Pickles policy on conversion of office space.  Of course this is merely one of the areas where Sir Eric Pickles managed to cause total mayhem.  Local government as a whole should sue the man for wanton vandalism. 

The full sorry tale is in a new report by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Essentially, the policy incentivises poor quality housing, reduces employment uses and compares badly to alternative rules abroad (specifically Rotterdam, which is cited).    

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Changes to Council Allowances Slip in Under the Wire

The newly elected Brent Council will meet for the first time on 14 May.  One of the items will be the level of allowances, which are to be the subject of a report circulated separately as a supplementary.  This has the effect of meaning that there is not the same scope for publicity for whatever is in that report than there would normally be if it were circulated well in advance.

Similarly the recommended calendar of Council meetings will also be taken as a supplementary as well as most of the other reports.  If quite predictable things such as a calendar of meetings are to be subject to circulation as a supplementary it does not to undermine the whole point of a statutory notice period for the agenda.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Silver Lining to the Local Elections?

The overall consensus on the local elections last week appears to be that they were a disappointment for Labour, which I tend to agree with.  A typical analysis is here.  However, this does give the Labour Party the chance to honestly face the problem.  The 2017 Election struck me as leaving the Party in a dangerous state of hubris, as if it had won, whereas of course 2017 was Labour's third consecutive defeat, and all previous precedents point to a fourth defeat at the next General Election.  The Labour Party now has an opportunity to take stock and work out a strategy to broaden its appeal.  Even those who do believe in a one more heave approach should consider this.

After all, no one ever lost an election by getting too many votes.

Incidentally, it also calls into question the negativity of the Momentum approach.  Although Momentum claims to be an optimistic movement its campaigns always appear to be against something or some one.  The very name of the "Unseat" campaign points to this.  Perhaps it needs to think more rigorously about being for something. 

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Wembley Library Still Growing

Just for completeness to add to my post the other day, Wembley Library is still growing and its visit numbers can be seen in the graph above.  The final column is 787% above the first (1,550,651 compared to 174,795 back in 2011).  That is extraordinary growth for Wembley Library.  Even more amazing is the fact that Wembley Library's visits last year amount to more visits than the whole of Brent Library service had in 2011/12 (including all twelve of the then libraries). 

I suspect some of the litigants against the Library Transformation will still be claiming that the whole process has been unsuccessful. 


To answer Martin's comment below, as with all Brent libraries the visit numbers do indeed record each time someone passes the threshold for any reason.  This was also true of the former Brent Town Hall library which was a route into the Town Hall and where the toilets were external to the Library so the comparison is direct.  This is therefore just another version of the fire drill argument

There really is no way that visit numbers growing by almost 800% can be explained away.  The library borrowing figures broken down by library are given by Brent Council here.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Kiln/Tricycle Theatre Protest Still Going On

I understand that it is rumoured that some people want to protest against the Kiln Theatre name change later today.  As there are no plays on offer in the theatre and it is a bank holiday I suspect there will be very few people to protest to.  I imagine there will be some one in the Box Office, but what are such protests designed to do?  As I said there appears to be a tendency to have "protests" without actually having anyone to protest to, like the Brent Momentum protest against Israel recently.

I suppose there might also be a few people going to the cinema, but (at least when I go there) the audiences seem to be quite small. 

Incidentally, the Brent and Kilburn Times published my letter on the subject here.  

Sunday, 6 May 2018


An unusual spin by UKIP on the local elections, that UKIP is like the Black Death.  Not perhaps the most attractive branding message ever devised, but that is what the UKIP General Secretary thinks. 

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Rewilding at Oostvaardersplassen

Heraclitus, an ancient Greek philosopher, remarked that you never step into the same river twice i.e. history always moves on. 

This thought comes to my mind following the controversy over a Dutch rewilding scheme.  It the rewilding is seen as a genuine return to some pristine condition it is bound to fail.  That is because no such pristine state ever existed.  The decision not to cull large animals doesn't avoid that it just sets the scheme for a giant Malthusian crash in numbers. 

Of course, there was an alternative to human culling which would be to reintroduce a large predator to the area, but I imagine the proximity to human settlement made that politically impossible.

Incidentally, Heck cattle are reported to be a return to aurochsen in the piece.  They are much more bizarre than that.  The Heck brothers convinced the Nazis that they would try to recreate aurochsen from modern cattle strains, but the animals bred are nowhere the same size as the Aurochsen that you see in Ice Age pictures.  They are gone for good.  The Heck cattle are simply a similarly coloured breed of modern cattle that no one has ever seen before the Heck brothers created them.

I think we need to acknowledge that Anthropocene is inevitably going to be the era of managed landscapes. 

Friday, 4 May 2018

2018 Elections

As expected Brent Council saw a big Labour majority returned with Labour taking Brondesbury for the first time since the new boundaries came in in 2002.  The Tories managed to cling on in Kenton.  Full results are on the Brent Council web site

I see very little in terms of local issues in all this.  It seems to be much more about national demographics, with Labour doing well in London, university towns and anywhere where there are large concentrations of ethnic minorities, but struggling to get beyond those groups in the way it will have to win the next General Election.  Essentially, it needs to find a way to appeal beyond its 2017 vote blocs.

The Art of the Selfie

One of the things about twitter is the number of selfies that people post.  I am really not sure that this is a particularly good idea as it often cause me to reflect that I had not previously realised what very large noses people I know seem to have.  It reminds me of the late Robertson Davies review of Sergei Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible; that is was an impressive film but he hoped not to look at up quite so many Russian nostrils for a long time to come.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

How Councils Fail

Those with a fairly high tolerance of detail may be interested in this somewhat lengthy piece in localgovernmentlawyer about when Councils break down.  It particularly tries to draw lessons from the case of Northants, but its strictures apply to all local authorities.  I thought Brent might take a particular interest in "Lesson 4":

"At paragraphs 3.66-67 the Inspectors make a key and damming observation about NCC’s governance – its lack of evidence-based decision making. Ultimately this is unlawful simply because it is irrational. The Inspectors comment:

3.66 The council’s approach comes across as sloppy, lacking in rigour and without challenge. It is particularly concerning to see this approach in all subsequent years. There does not seem to be any understanding of the difference between a budget pressure (that needs to be managed), contingency sums, spending where there is a choice and what is truly inescapable.

3.67 The non-delivery of savings has been mentioned elsewhere in the report and here the lack of accountability for that non-delivery is manifested with budgets being reinstated without any attempt to explain why the saving was not achieved. The same applies to budget overspends, which seem to be classified as ‘pressures’ and then just added into the budget the following year with limited challenge.

After such comments there was no going back for the council."

My reading is that Brent is becoming increasingly close to some of the practices being followed in Northants and that this should be a cause for concern.  Perhaps it will be if any post election challenges to the Leadership succeed. 

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Brent Annual Library Visits Rise Yet Again

Brent Library visits have risen yet again.  The annual figure is 4.5% up on last year (2,547,168).  The graph above shows the continuously upward trajectory since the decision to transform public libraries in Brent was taken back in 2011.  In my view, it is a clear demonstration that a public network of libraries is far preferable to a privatised one

Book loans have shown a slight dip (by 1.7%) from last year, although they are still appreciably higher than in 2011.  The graph showing progress is below:

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Cllr Lesley Jones MBE Dies

I am sorry to hear that Cllr Lesley Jones MBE died during the weekend.  I first met Lesley back in 1998 when she first stood as a councillor in Willesden Green, which she went on to represent for the next twenty years.  She had already led a remarkable life, which I got to know about during our conversations over the years.

She was originally brought up in Kentish Town where her father was a stone mason and I believe she attended art school when she was younger.  Unfortunately, her father's business went bust which meant she wasn't able to study for as long as she wished.  She married a writer when still very young and moved to what was then recently independent Nigeria.  She wrote a short memoir on the subject called Oyinbo.  She taught English there and had two of her children there.  I thought this sounded remarkably adventurous.  She came back to England and settled in South London, having more children, before moving to Brent.

She served in a number of roles on the Council including as one of my predecessors as Lead Member for the Environment, and was widely respected for her expertise and her honesty.  She was a great supporter of Trading Standards and a champion of the new Library at Willesden Green. 

This was merely one of many projects always occupying her.  As recently as March she was actively objecting to the proposed new block on Willesden High Road.  But she had a long history of numerous campaigns, including opposing the downgrading of Willesden Post Office, refurbishing the park on Villiers Road, a skateboard park in Roundwood Park, helping sponsor the Fabric of a Nation Exhibition, improving play space in Unity Close and many others.  She also took a strong interest in trying to shape planning policy with an emphasis always on trying to improve the lives of local residents.  I remember particularly her long running fight to improve houses of multiple occupation in Willesden

She was also unstinting in her casework, sometimes in excess.  One of the first pieces of casework I got involved in was to do with parked cars cluttering the bottom of Harlesden Road, which was an area shared between our wards of Willesden Green and Kensal Green.  I asked Lesley's help, expecting that she would just give me a telephone number of the right person to call, and then discovered that she had gone off and sorted the entire problem herself.  This hard work was appreciated by her constituents.  On another occasion I remember being out doorknocking with her and meeting voters who insisted on coming to greet her personally because she had recently managed to get street trees planted in that particular street.  

As well as serving as a Councillor she served for a long time on Willesden Consolidated Charities, Brent Housing Partnership, on Treetops Childrens Centre, in the management of the Local Government Intelligence Unit, in the Kings Hall Community Association and as a school governor on local schools.  She was also very proud of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Another Erratic Planning Decision

Back in March, Brent's Planning Committee decided it wanted to refuse the Planning permission for a new development on Queens Parade in Willesden for more student housing, a position consistent with previous decisions made in the Willesden High Road area.  Normally that would be that, but for some reason this has been recorded as a "minded to" decision rather than the outright rejection that I reported before.  This is very odd as previously refusals have tended to be done on the night and noted; only granting permission against officers recommendation has led to this kind of pause.  The reason being that granting has no appeal whereas a refusal can always be appealed through the Planning Inspector.

This is another way in which Planning in Brent appears to become increasingly peculiar during Cllr Muhammed Butt's leadership.

It was followed by another deferral in April.   Previously officer practice was to discourage deferrals without good reason as they stopped the Council meeting its targets for timely resolution of planning applications and therefore damaged the Council's reputation.