31 Dec 2018

January 3rd (5pm) deadline for comments on Brent's new Local Plan

From Martin Francis (Brent Green Party)

The consultation  on Brent's new Local Plan ends at 5pm on Thursday January 3rd so there isn't long to get your response in. Full details can be found HERE.

I will be putting aside a certain cynicism about the Local Plan, based on how often planners ignnore the principles set out in the current one,  and hope that many other residents will do the same. The Plan will establish the context of planning decisions and thus the nature of our area for years to come - at the very least we should establish a strong demand for the retention and enhancement of green spaces.

The borough has been split into 7 'Places' and an initial weakness appears to be that Wembley is split rather confusingly between Central Place (Wembley Park) and South West Place (Wembley Central). One would think that the relationship between the two parts of Wembley was crucial in terms of roads, bus and railway transport as well as offices and retail ands thus shold be treated as one place. The South East Place covers a large and mixed area.

Respondents can choose between responding to the details for a particular place (The South East Place questionnaire is below as an example) or the overall plan.

The Spring 2018 consultation indicated a split between the general public,  and developers and what were referred to as 'professionals'.  This was particularly evident over high rise flats and the amount of really affordable housing in new developments:

Question 15: Solutions to meeting growth challenges, e.g. tall buildings, lower rise buildings but compromise on standards, or rely on character to inform height/density.
.        2.32  Tall buildings – answers focussed on the need to meet targets with potential to contribute to townscape, those not in favour identified them as eyesores, changing character and perceptions of safety and unlikely to provide affordable housing with criticism of Wembley Park design quality.

.        2.33  Lower buildings/ compromise standards – there was little support for compromising standards which was considered likely to adversely impact on quality of life/ mental health.

.        2.34  Take account of existing character – this was supported the most but most people interpreted this as meaning no tall buildings.

How this is addressed in the Preferred Options Local Plan

2.35    The Plan principally take account of existing character, but recognises that in accordance with London Plan that a positive strategy and sites will have to be identified for taller buildings. The Local Plan focuses on providing ‘clusters’ of tall and increased height, whilst removing opportunity for isolated tall buildings. Lower scale, but taller buildings than exist are identified for intensification corridors and town centres.

Question 16: Where do you consider are the most appropriate or inappropriate areas for tall buildings and why?

2.36    The responses to this part were limited, consistent with the general antipathy towards these types of buildings.

How this is addressed in the Preferred Options Local Plan

2.37    The approach taken forward is to cluster tall buildings in highest Public Transport Accessibility Level (PTAL) areas and those areas where the Tall Buildings Strategy points to such opportunities as part of a positive plan-led strategy.

Question 19: Should higher density housing in suburban areas with greater public transport accessibility be through: conversion/ extensions to existing buildings; infill in spaces between buildings; comprehensive redevelopment of sites, or other?

2.42 Limited number of responses – positive about reuse of buildings and comprehensive redevelopment, but negative about infill.

Question 23: Appropriate affordable housing target.

2.50    From the general public there was more support for the 50% target, although many questioned the affordability of affordable homes provided. The professionals considered 50% too high and pointed to the 35% target set by the Mayor as a recognition of this, as long as viability could still be assessed where lower proposed.

How this is addressed in the Preferred Options Local Plan

2.51    The Plan is consistent with the Mayor’s approach of a strategic 50% target but with a viability threshold of 35% approach. Tenures will be focussed on rented products that even at their maximum are accessible to those on benefits.

Question 24: Greater flexibility in relation to on-site affordable housing provision?

2.52    The general public were against this flexibility as it was likely to polarise communities, developers sought greater flexibility.
Question 25: Affordable Housing Tenure Split?
2.54    The majority of respondents considered that there needed to be a mix, with products genuinely affordable and also those that catered for those working/ wanting to buy. Developers wanted flexibility/ pragmatism on a site by site basis.

How this is addressed in the Preferred Options Local Plan

2.55    Taking account of the needs and viability assessment work a preferred local mix that maximises London affordable/social rent/affordable rented products is prioritised (70%) as a proportion of the affordable housing but also seek a minimum 30% intermediate (shared ownership/ London Living Rent).
Here is the link to the various 'Place' proposals and questionnaires: (see map above to locate your 'Place')
Full details and on-line survey HERE
Alternatively, comments can be submitted by email to or by post to Paul Lewin, Team Leader Planning Policy, Brent Council, Engineers’ Way, Wembley, HA9 0FJ, setting out clearly the page number, paragraph, policy, figure or image the comment relates to.

13 Dec 2018

bikes for hire? transport of the future or garbage of the future?

Electric hire bikes have just been introduced in Brent and there are some anxieties about their collection after use (see  This non electric hire bike has been in the street next to my house for about three weeks.

I looked up Lime E the electric bike and scooter hire firm that now operates in Brent and already operates in some US and NZ cities, in the former they seem to operate a freelance collection scheme paying individuals per bike or scooter for collection  in private vehicles and to recharge them and put them back in a location where they can be hired again. Does such a scheme make the collection of this bike from a relatively far flung location uneconomic? And would it lead to more discarded hire bikes on the streets?

19 Nov 2018

This Friday, there will be a People's Vote meeting in Brent!

The informal meeting will give you a chance to hear about the People's Vote campaign from local campaigners based in Brent, and representatives from People's Vote HQ, to ask any questions you may have, and find out how to get involved in the campaign in your local community.
After last month's amazing march in London, where 700,000 people took to the streets to demand a People's Vote on any Brexit deal at the second biggest march in UK history, it is time to focus on campaigning in towns, villages, and cities across the country including Brent.
There is only a short time until the Brexit deal, or no deal, is brought back from Brussels and now is the time to get involved and to demand a People's Vote on the Brexit deal.
The event will take place at the following time and location:

Date: Friday 23 November, 2018
Time: 6.30pm
Where: Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre, Brentfield, Harrow Road, London NW10 0RG
RSVP: Click here to RSVP
Will you join us at the event, ?
We hope to see you there!
Kind regards

Tim Verboven
People's Vote Campaign
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28 Sept 2018

I don’t care what Barry Gardiner whistles.

I take great exception to being associated, in a tweet made in the name of Brent Greens, with the silly and bigoted comments made by the Daily Mail about Barry Gardiner whistling the Red Flag at the Labour Party conference, 

Furthermore, I doubt if other members of 
Brent Green Party, or its committee will be happy with this being posted in the name of the Party, especially as the statement was posted without prior discussion or approval from committee or Party. This is because the Daily Mail is a Conservative supporting paper which often promotes reactionary and xenophobic stances, bordering on racism. It also supported appeasement of Nazism in the 1930’s.

Personally I am an ecosocialist, and also Trade Union Liaison Officer for London Federation of Green Parties and Secretary of Green Left, so I have for more sympathy with the sentiments of the ‘Red Flag’ than almost anything ever published in the Daily Mail;  what’s more I don’t care what Barry Gardiner whistles. 

I don't agree with Barry Gardiner's politics, but Brent Greens should be offering sensible criticism of them. Repeating the jeering of the Daily Mail could cost Brent Green Party votes; 

Yrs in struggle against misrepresentation
Peter Murry

12 Sept 2018

Why aren’t we talking/worrying/ panicking more about global warming?

Why aren’t we talking/worrying/ panicking more about global warming?


In 2017/18, the Arctic had its warmest winter in the last 40,000 years. The old frozen Arctic is gone, and will never come back for centuries. We know this, but we do not seem to be talking about it, or what it may mean for our future. Are we reacting by going into denial? What are the facts? What are the implications? And what can and should we be doing, and asking our politicians to do now?
Natalie Bennett was the leader of the Green Party of England & Wales from 2012 to 2016. As a scientist, journalist, activist and politician she has been deeply involved with these questions over many years. She will share her insights with us, and engage in discussion and debate.
Dr. Nicholas Smith from the University of Westminster explores social representations of climate change. He has also worked as post-doctural researcher with the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the Liveable Cities Project.
Roger Hallam is a climate activist and theorist and was an organic farmer for 20 years. He has most recently been involved with campaigns such as Kings College Climate Emergency, Stop Killing Londoners and Vote No Heathrow.

Tue 25 September 2018
19:15 – 20:45 BST
St Lukes West Kilburn
Fernhead Road
W9 3EH

11 Sept 2018

Shaka Lish: War and the Environment

Shaka Lish: War and the Environment War and the Environment: Shaka Lish of Brent Green Party and BME Greens speaking at Brent Stop the War meeting at Brent Trades Hall, Willesden, London on 10 September 2018. url:

8 Jul 2018

Shaka Lish on why we need to do more than Dump Trump

Shaka Lish, Brent Central Green Parliamentary candidate and Green candidate for the Willesden Green council seat addressed a cross-party meeting on Saturday which was building support for the demonstration against Donald Trump on Friday July 13th and against Tommy Robinson and his supporters on July 14th.

If you wish to join the demonstrations on Friday  assemble at the BBC, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA at 2pm. Rally Trafalgar Square 5pm. On Saturday assembly at Old Palace Yard, Westminster at 1pm.

29 Jun 2018

Join the Greens celebrating NHS 70th anniversary tomorrow

Message from Larry Sanders, Green Party Health Spokesperson

Tomorrow, I will be taking part in a demonstration in London celebrating the 70thanniversary of our wonderful NHS.

The event has been organised by a range of health and campaign organisations, including Health Campaigns Together (of which the Green Party is an affiliate), the People's Assembly and the Trades Union Congress.

We assemble at 12 midday at Portland Place, London and will march together to Downing Street.

The marchers will include Greens, including Deputy Leader Amelia Womack, as well as people of all parties and none. Together we will affirm our support for a publicly owned and properly funded NHS, that is free for all, and show our appreciation of our amazing NHS workers.

Yours in solidarity
Larry Sanders
Green Party Health Spokesperson

19 Jun 2018

Greens could be a strong opposition voice on Brent Council - Vote Green on June 21st

15 Jun 2018

Join the Brent Greens action day on Sunday June 17th and help us win Brent's first Green councillors

Action Day for Willesden Green by-election. Join us, take pics, help out, ask questions, grab posters & find out about ! Sunday 17th June 11am-1pm Willesden Green station.

Sian Berry (Green Party Assembly Member) and Rashid Nix (Green party activist from Lambeth) will be joing us. 

Our candidates are Shaka Lish (above), William Relton and Peter Murry.

Willesden Green election June 21st

PETER MURRY brief statement on Brent Advocacy Concerns and/or disabled people in Brent,

Could each candidate give us a brief statement as to how they would  help Brent Advocacy Concerns and/or disabled people in Brent, if they are elected as councillors for the Willesden Green Ward".
PETER MURRY 15/06/2018
I am standing as a candidate for the Green Party in the Willesden Green by election, and as a disabled person and supporter of Kilburn Unemployed Workers’; Group, I wish to state that, if elected, I would work to ensure that Brent Council, the Greater London Authority and other relevant governmental bodies support Disabled People's Organisation financially and in any other way they need. I am concerned that the council works better to extend facilities and consideration given to Disabled People in Brent, and that the Council does all it can to combat discrimination against Disabled People. I am particularly concerned about the difficulties Disabled People experience in traveling around the borough and wish to campaign for:
·      Step free access to trains at all stations, especially Willesden Green.
·      Longer times allowed to use zebra crossings
·      Pressure on Transport for London to ensure that bus drivers always lower buses to assist Disabled People to board, always stop exactly at bus stops, and always wait for passengers to be seated or standing securely before moving off.

4 May 2018

Willesden and Neasden jobcentre closures, written parliamentary answer

(acknowledgements to Alan Wheatley and Kilburn Unemployed Workers' Group)
Dawn Butler Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department plans to assess the effect of closing Willesden and Kilburn Job Centre Plus in Brent; and if he will make a statement.
·         Hansard source(Citation: HC Deb, 3 April 2018, cW)
In March 2018, the 20-year contract covering the majority of DWPs current estate of over 900 sites came to an end. This presented an opportunity to re-evaluate what we needed from our estate. The increased use of our online services in recent years, coupled with reductions in unemployment and improved efficiency, meant that 20% of the rent being paid by DWP was going toward space we were not using. In response, we have sought to redesign our estate in a way that delivers value for the taxpayer. We would stress that this is not about reducing services, but about taking the opportunity to stop spending money on empty space so we can spend more on supporting those in need.
The face-to-face support our work coaches offer at jobcentres will continue to be a core part of the service we deliver. The Department has a number of co-located colleagues working to support the community in Brent. These include:
·         Troubled families advisers co-located within Brent Local Authority alongside social workers, providing employment and skills support.
·         Work coaches working with the care leaver team within Brent Local Authority providing employment and skills support to care leavers, including appropriate access to relevant benefits.
·         A Work Coach providing employment and skills support on an outreach basis in St. Raphael’s Estate in Brent. This is one of the most deprived estates in the borough. The Work Coach is based in the community hub alongside other local authority service providers.
DWP will also explore with Brent Local Authority jointly funding an employment team to deliver employment advice and guidance through community hubs, which will be located in Willesden, Kilburn, Harlesden and St. Raphael’s Estate. DWP will provide employment and skills support alongside the Employment Team managed by the council, with the aim of having a more holistic support offer working in partnership with Housing, Health and Financial Inclusion advice and support.

2 May 2018

Divest Brent 'Keep it in the Ground' joint meeting with FoE May 8th

Dear Friends 
Thank you again for signing the Divest Brent petition - this is an exciting time for the campaign!
Once the dust settles after this week's council elections, we can start putting pressure on the them again to move on divestment.
In preparation for this we are running, jointly with Brent Friends of the Earth, an event on May 8th called Keep it in the Ground. We're aiming to recruit new supporters who can help grow the petition, build up relationships with councillors and more generally campaign on climate change issues.
If you are interested, full details of the event, which will be at 7:30pm at a meeting room near Kilburn station, can be found on Eventbrite, at the link above. Although the event is free, capacity is limited so please do register.
You can also forward this email on to your friends and family who might be interested - particularly if you do not yourself live in Brent.
Best wishes,
Simon - Co-ordinator - Divest Brent

Simon Erskine started this petition on Fossil Free. If there's an issue close to your heart that you'd like to campaign on, you can start your campaign here.

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