Decision Day for The Queensbury – Wednesday 19th June 2019

Brent Council will be deciding on the fate of The Queensbury next Wednesday 19th June at a meeting which starts at 6pm at Brent Civic Centre.

There are two plans to demolish The Queensbury – one (Scheme A below) is recommended to be Refused and the other (Scheme B below) is recommended to be Approved.

We now hope that members of the committee will do as they did before and go against the recommendation of their officers.

Why? Both schemes are inappropriate at the location and both are strikingly similar to that already refused by the council. There is simply no logic in refusing two and agreeing to this one.

We have asked to speak at the meeting and encourage you to do the same, to make our voices heard. Contact joe.kwateng@brent.gov.uk at Brent council to request a slot.

Wednesday next week could be Last Orders for The Queensbury.

Act now.

Last orders at the Queensbury ?

Last Orders 2

There are worrying signs coming from Brent Council and we fear they are about to call last orders at The Queensbury.

Brent have penciled in Wednesday 19th June as the date they will decide on the two plans before them (scheme A and scheme B which are almost identical, both derided locally).

If the council supports either scheme, the developer will withdraw the Appeal which is set for late August.

Why the pessimism?

Brent have missed three deadlines over the last 5 months to prepare for the Appeal (deadlines set out by the government). Brent do not intend to spend money on defending their previous decision to save The Queensbury until these two applications are decided upon – by themselves. In other words, passing one application will save them a heap of cash and bring in more Community Infrastructure Levy to hand out to their favourite developers.

Obviously we have complained in the strongest terms and ask you to do the same by contacting your Councillor. Details are below.

Mapesbury:

Lia Colacicco

Councillor Tariq Dar MBE

Councillor Ahmad Shahzad OBE

Willesden:

Elliot Chappell

Fleur Donnelly-Jackson

Tom Miller

SAVE THE DATE – WEDNESDAY 19TH JUNE – FOR ANOTHER TRIP TO THE CIVIC CENTRE

Spot The Difference at The Queensbury

Easter 2019
Letters have dropped through doors with technical jargon about 110 Walm Lane and The Queensbury which has left even the hardened campaigners confused as to what is going on. Here is our attempt to explain:
The developer has two plans lodged with Brent for a decision. Scheme A and Scheme B. The differences between the two (below) are marginal. The developer recently shifted some internal walls so technically they have to inform locals about the changes. That is why letters have been sent out.
SCHEME A
 Scheme A
SCHEME B
Scheme B
More sinister, there is a document tucked away which has been added to both revised applications in which the developer claims to have considered whether to retain the existing pub. Among the hundreds of technical documents over the last 6 years this proposal gets just one page, below with scant consideration as to why this option is not possible.
RETAINING THE QUEENSBURY
Retaining the QB
Please write to Brent and tell them the developer has not properly considered a scheme which retains The Queensbury. Nor did they exhibit this last year or offer it as an option on the forms handed out at the exhibition.
While you are online ask Brent why there isn’t a kitchen in the plans for the replacement pub, why there is zero noise reduction between the pub and the upstairs flats (leading to complaints then the pub shutting) and also the toilets are in the basement (putting Busy Rascals pram and wheelchair users off).
Please keep responding. The developer is banking on people becoming fatigued and using lack of response as implied acceptance of the revised plans.
THIS HAS LITTLE RELEVANCE TO THE APPEAL WHICH IS STILL SCHEDULED FOR LATE AUGUST!
HAPPY EASTER! HAPPY EASTER! and SPOT THE DIFFERENCE . . .
Easter 2019 bottom

Queensbury Rules – time for a party

A government inspector will decide in August whether Brent Council was right to refuse permission to demolish The Queensbury. The inquiry will sit for five days, starting on 28th August 2019. Just like with the last Appeal, we think we should have a voice at the Inquiry so we have asked for (and been granted) Rule 6 Party status.

What is Rule 6?

Save The Queensbury has been confirmed as a “Rule 6″ party at the inquiry and we are now working with the local Resident’s Associations, Councillors and a Barrister to prepare our “case” in advance of the inquiry. We have to submit our papers by 20th March 2019.

Why are we asking to be a Rule 6 party?

Being a Rule 6 party is a significant undertaking of time and effort. This campaign follows whatever process is necessary to protect the existing building (as the best way of protecting the pub and maintaining conservation). We believe the heritage role the building plays has been understated by the developer (and the council). Plus……. Even if… the pub is to be demolished we want to best protect a community space and pub in a new development.

So many developers promise to put pubs into a development then change their minds once planning approval has been received. Incredible, but true.

What will it cost?

We have some talented locals in the area but sustaining this campaign (now in its 8th year) is so draining!

Please step forward if you can help. We are not asking for money – our Barrister is pro bono and we have advice from the Campaign For Real Ale – so we aren’t looking for financial support but need more people to be involved.

How can you get involved?

Keep talking about the pub and how it is threatened. Email any group / association / forum you are on, or any local WhatsApp group and tell your neighbours. If you have anything to contribute – expertise, photocopying, posters, step forward now!

The Inquiry runs over five days and we will need people to attend and listen to how it’s going.

Please get in touch NOW if you know you will be available and willing to sit in on proceedings and show support in any way.

Queensbury yet again recognised as an Asset of Community Value – Hooray !

The Queensbury pub has once again been recognised as an Asset of Community Value. Hooray!

Brent Council has confirmed to accept the pub on their list for the second time. The Queensbury was the council’s first ACV, five years ago and it joins Kensal Rise library and a handful of others that are accepted as providing a significant role in their communities.

This is the first building to reapply for this status and it gives an extra layer of protection and should serve to warn prospective developers just how much The Queensbury is cherished locally.

Is ACV status important? Being on the list means that if the building is sold, the clock stops for six months to enable the community to bid to buy it (if the pub closes). More importantly for us, we will be pressing very hard to have the pub’s community status featuring prominently as a “material planning matter” when Brent and the government Inspector consider plans for The Queensbury later this year.

To recap, there are three plans submitted to demolish the pub.  Brent council will decide on two, over the next few weeks. The third is scheduled for a marathon public inquiry in late August.

ACT NOW and make sure you mention the community asset status when you object to the planning applications via these links:

Please go to Brent’s site for applications 18/4675 and 18/4701

A new year and three battles ahead to Save The Queensbury

Well done to all of you who commented on the Appeal via the government’s planning inspector website. We’ve heard that the Appeal will take place from 28th August 2019 for five days. This clashes with the bank holiday week, which is not ideal and on the back of comments to the inspector having to be submitted over the new year! We’ve asked for a new date so local community groups can take part.

There are also two new planning applications, to be decided by Brent Council. Again, comments were due early in the new year (clashing with the above) and lots of people have already commented.

But IT’S NOT TOO late to give comments on all three applications so PLEASE DO SO asap.

All comments are considered up to the point of a decision being made and the timescales given by the government and council planners are just minimums.

Please go to Brent’s site for applications 18/4675 and 18/4701

Both of these applications mean loss of the building and a replacement that is not befitting the conservation area. One has a different roof than the other and both miss Brent’s targets for affordable housing. Pictures are below in previous updates.

For the appeal, email enquiries@pins.gsi.gov.uk ENSURING you quote reference 3214420. The issues are much the same. The replacement does not equal or better the loss of a community building, which is an asset to the conservation area that is desirable to retain whereas the replacement will be less sympathetic. Refer to below for more detail.

This is a long haul. Thanks to the ongoing support of the Willesden Green Residents Association, Mapesbury Residents Association, the Willesden Town Team and NW2 Residents Association.

Between us we can send a message that the building should be retained, in a more conservation-sympathetic development. Make your views known and keep going!

ABC Scheming to Save The Queensbury

This week has seen a cynical (desperate) attempt by Redbourne to swamp the local council and residents with three plans, at what is the busiest week of the year. 

Two planning applications have been thrown in this week, with variations on the same theme:– 48 flats with insufficient Affordable housing. This is AS WELL AS the scheme currently being appealed. The new plans are Scheme A and Scheme B. See below Let’s call the scheme being appealed Scheme C. 

A,B and C downplay the existing building, all have a replacement pub doomed before it even opens because of its substandard design. The developer is trying to portray  that there are few options for The Queensbury other than demolition. 

We disagree. There is a plan D, which would make less profit but retain the existing building. This developer is clearly not interested in Plan D. 

PEOPLE OF WILLESDEN STAY FOCUSSED: What is important is to comment on Plan C – the Refused scheme which is being appealed. The government’s planning inspector needs your comments by 3rd January - still OPEN. Brent Council website is still taking comments as of 16/04/2019.

There are sound planning reasons to object to all of these plans as being detrimental to Willesden and Mapesbury: 

  • The replacement building does not preserve or enhance the conservation area – especially looking from inside the conservation area 
  • The existing building makes a positive contribution to the historic interest of the area, which will be lost 
  • The existing building also makes a positive contribution to the setting of the listed station, which according to the previous Appeal inspector, would be desirable to preserve
  • The mass of the base block (to the rear) is too bulky for the setting
  • The design of the proposal is detrimental to the conservation area
  • The proposal contains a pub but the design is poor – there is no soundproofing built into the design which means complaints from those above, and the pub becoming unviable. Those in the business refer to this as a “Trojan Horse” 
  • There is insufficient affordable housing proposed 
  • There are no safeguards for Busy Rascal, i.e. no legal agreements for them to continue whilst building works are underway. Nothing in the plans about how they would operate in the new premises. Both were promised by the previous developer as planning conditions. 

ONLY AFTER you have commented to the inspector, turn your attention to the new scheme via Brent’s website: 

Planning apps 18/4675 https://bit.ly/2LrpCTY 

And 18/4701 https://bit.ly/2rJpYfD 

Only comment once, but mention the other when you do. Neither of these will be considered before the Appeal. If the Appeal is kicked out (again) then so will these two. 

Merry Christmas to you all. Let’s hope it’s a good one, without scheme A,B,C.

Scheme A and B

Railway side scheme A and B

Scheme C

All I want for Christmas is The Queensbury

Action Stations

The latest plan to demolish The Queensbury at 110 Walm Lane was refused by Brent Council in May. The developer is now appealing to a government inspector and the deadline for comments from local residents is 3rd JANUARY 2019.

Please make your views known to the Inspector, the more the better. Head to this website:

Click on Make Representation – as a local resident you are an “Interested Person”

What should you say? Use your own words, but the things relevant to the Appeal are:

Conservation stuff

The Queensbury is a standout / gateway building at a cornerstone location, undervalued as a community asset and should be retained.

The proposed building is not a worthy replacement of the existing building, because of its poor design.

Demolition of the building and putting up 48 flats does not outweigh the harm that the proposal would cause to the character and appearance of the Mapesbury Conservation Area.

The proposal would not preserve the character and appearance of the Mapesbury Conservation Area, it is a modern-looking step backwards.

The scheme does not have enough affordable housing to justify demolition of the existing building.

The existing building should be protected on a local list, as the previous appeal suggested.

Pub stuff

There is a lot of debate about the new design of the building compared with the existing, but nothing about the design of the pub in the new building.

The replacement Queensbury will have low ceilings, limited outdoor space (overlooked by balconies of flats above) and lack character both inside and out.

There are no safeguards to protect the pub’s viability in a new scheme. For example lack of soundproofing of residential flats above the pub will lead to complaints (threatening the viability of the pub).

Access for prams and wheelchair users is restricted, because toilets are in the basement. The current building has one level access and toilets on the same floor. This is important for Busy Rascals users and the new design is a step backwards.

The previous plans insisted that the developer returns to Brent Council for specific permission to change the use from a pub to something else in the future. (Some developers promise a pub then say one isn’t viable, further down the line and once development has been approved. This will help stop that).

Busy Rascals stuff

Busy Rascals will be homeless. This impacts not just families using The Queensbury but the teachers who are paid to run classes.

At the last appeal the developer (Fairview Homes) provided a “ground floor use and operation statement” and accepted an obligation via a s106 agreement to find suitable accommodation for Busy Rascals during construction AND that development would not start until the developer had identified and made available the temporary community accommodation. This appeal should contain the same but it does not.

What Happens Next?

Please get comments in by 3rd January

Later in January a date will be set for the Appeal, likely to be a five day public inquiry and probably not before March 2019.

In the meantime, tell your friends and neighbours and encourage them to comment too.

Let’s play “Spot the Difference”

We feared the latest “exhibition” on demolition of The Queensbury would be a nightmare scenario and unfortunately our fears came true.

The exhibition presented two new “options” from GML Architects but was totally silent on their current Appeal proposal and there was no mention of retaining the existing building at 110 Walm Lane, which the previous Appeal thought desirable to retain, on conservation grounds. Any replacement to The Queensbury has to enhance conservation but boy oh boy how ugly is this?

The developer was not at the exhibition which is not only disrespectful but also plain weird. From that point onwards last night it was clear that this was a tickbox exercise with little intention of listening to residents. The PR company claim all the details are on the dedicated website but this is a dead site. It all points to a pointless exercise, falling considerably short of good practice engagement.

What did they exhibit?

Spot the difference. The first photo below is the scheme that they are appealing, to the government inspector and we face a six day public enquiry, again. This proposal was not on show last night but there was a “new” plan which looks cunningly similar.

The PR company only asked “option one or option two” with one having a roof that sloped slightly more than the other, but neither option was the plan that is subject to appeal. None of the graphics on show last night showed any image of the monstrosity of the rear of the block, focussing entirely on the front.

There were no graphics of the design they are appealing (the one below is from the previous application), which is very strange when the design is practically identical.

So what is going on here?

Architects claim that officers at Brent Council have advised them throughout on alterations that would be approved, for example having bay windows in spite of the building next door having none. They were surprised that the last plan was kicked out without even going to the planning committee.

What’s our view?

Classic developer tactics are at play.

The tactic is to swamp the planning department with three simultaneous applications – two that were on show and one being appealed – thus presenting a fait accompli or in plain English “we’ll keep going with one of these plans and there is nothing else on the table. Officers take your pick. We’ve spoked to the community and they prefer plan A over plan B.”

Any suggestion of retaining The Queensbury building, in a sympathetic scheme that enhances conservation is not possible in planning terms, so they’ll say.

Of course, we disagree. Just up the road is a scheme to retain the old police station, to develop it and build around it. That site is more constrained that 110 Walm Lane, more expensive to develop and presents significantly greater challenges. If it is possible there then it is possible here.

There is a fourth option.

The developer is appealing one decision and has placed two other plans on the table but there is a fourth option.

The prospects for the existing building are boundless – a cinema, boutique hotel, theatre, creative hub, nursery, retail….. with mews houses or apartments surrounding. It takes is a creative developer (willing to make slightly less profit) and a quality architect with experience which GML clearly are not.

It also takes officers at Brent Council to give clear, unequivocal advice to the developer that the existing building should be retained. By all means offer to work with the developer, but on a scheme predicated on that approach.

image

image (1)

Halloween horrors

STQ poster Nov 18It’s been quiet since May, then shock and horror for Halloween week.
In a leaflet drop over the weekend the owner / developer of 110 Walm Lane gave notice of a public consultation at St Gabriel’s Church Hall next Thursday 8th November. This is an exhibition of a “new plan” and an opportunity to “have your questions answered” yet the leaflet bizarrely fails to mention the pub nor include any further detail on what is planned. Likewise the dedicated website (www.walmlane.co.uk) provides just a date and map, so we have no clue how much of nightmare the New Plan will be.
Save The Queensbury is easily confused. At the same time the developer has applied to the government’s planning Inspectorate (cynically just days before the legal deadline) for a six day public inquiry into Brent Council’s decision to save the pub from demolition – based on the plan kicked out in May by Brent Council.
Please tell your neighbours, Councillor, friends and others about this and encourage them to pop along and give their views.