This is an epic battle; good vs evil, David vs Goliath, community vs developer. It seems to also be a battle of resident vs councillor.
Several residents have asked us what our local councillors are doing about the threatened demolition of The Queensbury Pub. Given the huge public opposition to the plans, the response of our elected representatives has been, on the whole, rather shabby. We find it disappointing that they are so out of touch with public opinion and also surprising, given that we are now in the run-up to to next year’s local elections.
We urge everyone to telephone and write to local councillors and ask them to take a stand against the loss of a valued community space. Note that some will say that they will pass your views on to the planners but have no view themselves (the “postman” approach). This is not acceptable – as representatives they should declare a view and stand up for the interests of their residents. If they refuse you might like to ask them why they think it acceptable to remain neutral on (or even support!) the destruction of community facilities in the name of a developer’s profit. Don’t be shy to email or telephone councillors, remember they are supposed to work for us! You might also like to remind them of the upcoming elections which take place in May 2014.
We have listed local councillors in the four wards closest to The Queensbury, along with their known views and their contact details. If your councillor is one of those who is opposing the development it is still worthwhile dropping them a line thanking them and saying you support their stance.
You can find out which ward you’re in here http://www.writetothem.com/
146 of the formal objections to the original plans came from residents in the Mapesbury ward.
Councillor Hayley Matthews (Liberal Democrat)
Councillor Matthews’ colleagues tell us she against the Queensbury development although she has not made any public statement regarding it nor, as far as we are aware, has she submitted any formal objection to the plans.
Tel: 020 8937 1133
Verdict: Not good enough
Councillor Chris Leaman (Liberal Democrat)
Councillor Leaman is opposed to the demolition of the Queensbury and has submitted an objection.
Tel 020 8451 9072
Councillor Sami Hashmi (Liberal Democrat)
Councillor Hashmi is a member of the Planning Committee and so is not allowed to declare a view until he hears all the evidence at the Planning Committee meeting. This should not stop you making your views known as a resident and he should still acknowledge your comments.
Tel: 07956 212 825
WILLESDEN GREEN WARD
90 of the formal objections to the original plans came from residents in the Willesden Green ward.
Councillor Lesley Jones (Labour)
Councillor Jones is opposed to the demolition of the Queensbury and has submitted an objection.
Tel: 020 8452 3086
Councillor Ann Hunter (Liberal Democrat)
Councillor Hunter has so far refused to take a view and is taking the “postman” approach. She has claimed that some residents are supporting the development but has refused to give figures of the numbers of people who have contacted her either for or against.
Tel: 020 8830 2152
Verdict: Poor, and possibly dishonest
Councillor Gavin Sneddon (Liberal Democrat)
Councillor Sneddon has not so far taken a view on the demolition of the pub. In conversation he has expressed concern that the development may be inappropriate and too profit-driven but he has made no formal statement. When questioned recently he exclaimed “you can’t expect me to make a decision right now!” and was silent when it was pointed out out that that the demolition plans had been in the public domain for 7 months.
Tel: 07407 155 438
Verdict: Must do better
DUDDEN HILL WARD
41 of the formal objections to the original plans came from residents in the Dudden Hill ward.
Councillor Aslam Choudry (Labour)
Repeated emailing finally got a response 6 months after our original inquiry. Councillor Choudry has stated that he supports the need for new housing in Brent. He has not responded to our reply that just 4 of the proposed 56 flats will be the affordable family-sized homes that Brent desperately needs, and that these could easily be incorporated into a design which preserves The Queensbury.
Tel: 07958 732 384
Verdict: Poor and misguided
Councillor Krupesh Hirani (Labour)
Councillor Hirani has submitted a view that the current proposals do not have enough wheelchair-accessible homes and there is not enough disabled parking provision . He has not objected to the demolition of the pub but will adopt the “postman” approach to residents who send him their comments. In response to a tweet asking him if he supported demolition of the Queensbury he said he had “no opinion”. A local politician having “no opinion” on the loss of a community amenity seems quite odd to us.
Tel: 07886 939 295
Councillor Rev David Clues (Liberal Democrat)
Councillor Clues moved to Brighton over a year ago and has not been seen or heard from for many months. He remains a Brent councillor and is still entitled to collect his allowances. Many residents have complained to us about their emails going unanswered, his lack of response to residents is now the subject of a complaint to the Standards Committee of the council by one resident, another is promising to pay him a visit in Brighton with copies of her unanswered letters about The Queensbury.
Tel: 07957 140 372
Verdict: Absolute disgrace
BRONDESBURY PARK WARD
24 of the formal objections to the original plans came from residents in the Brondesbury Park ward
Councillor Carol Shaw (Liberal Democrat)
Councillor Shaw is opposed to the demolition of the Queensbury and submitted an objection early on in the process.
Tel: 020 8958 4436
Councillor Barry Cheese (Liberal Democrat)
Councillor Cheese is a reserve on the Planning Committee and prefers not to express a view as it may be grounds to disqualify him from voting. This should not stop you making your views known as a resident and he should still acknowledge your comments.
Tel: 020 8459 1716
Councillor Mark Cummins (Liberal Democrat)
Councillor Cummins is a member of the Planning Committee and so is not allowed to declare a view until he hears all the evidence at the Planning Committee meeting. This should not stop you making your views known as a resident and he should still acknowledge your comments.
Tel: 07976 739 058