Two days of spin

A huge thanks to everyone who made the effort to come to Fairview’s exhibition yesterday and today. We counted around 150 people attending and 96% of those were against the demolition of the pub. We will await Fairview’s summary of the comments with interest.

As expected, Fairview were full of misinformation and spin over the two days. Among the lies we overheard: “this site has been designated by the council for residential use”, “the pub runs at a loss and is not financially viable”, and “developers do not build flats with a pub on-site”. All of which were untrue and we were able to refute with facts.

Fairview know that there is huge community opposition to their scheme and that opposition is growing rather than dissipating. That is thanks to all of you for speaking up for your pub, for your high street and for your community.

“This proposal is not adequate for Busy Rascals”

As well as being a concerned mum who took great confidence and sometimes solace from attending the National Childbirth Trust sessions,Tuesdays in particular, at the Queensbury, I am also professionally, involved in Planning and Development so I have an idea of how the process works and what the developers are trying to do.

The exhibition run by Fairview is intended to consult locals on their revised proposals. They did this last year (9 months ago for their previous scheme) but the invitees to the exhibitions were a very short list and didn’t include Busy Rascals or the NCT. Fairview recorded at that time only 22 comments from locals – I suspect that none of these 22 comments came from local parents who use the pub regularly for NCT/Busy Rascals.

If you can make it down to the exhibition it is most important that you leave a comment inside with the Fairview team so that this time they will have a more representative selection of comments to submit to Brent. These comments have to be formally presented to the council, they will not be ommitted or ignored. If you can’t make it down they are opening some web pages on the 17th July where you can view the proposals online and I presume leave a comment (see below).The exhibition is online HERE

Just a few pointers so that you cannot be fooled: the new proposals as I understand it, include a space for community uses and a cafe on the ground floor. You may think this will be adequate for Busy Rascals but I think not…here’s why:

  1. The management team and staff at the Queensbury that are so welcoming and accommodating won’t be there. This space will be leased to someone else who may not want children and babies running round their space. There is absolutely no way that Fairview can guarantee that the operators of this new space will take on the groups in the same way as the Queensbury people do.
  1. There will be a period – if this happens – during demolition and rebuilding when there will be no venue at all for the groups. So how do Fairview guarantee a temporary venue for the groups? The Council are I think very concerned about the survival of the the children’s groups into the future and Fairview will HAVE to address this point. How do they do this?

I would also like to say that the Queensbury is only under threat if there is no support for its retention. So far the team at the Save The Queensbury, along with support form local residents groups, CAMRA and hundreds of local individuals have delayed the application decision by at least 9 months, have forced Fairview to revise their plans (at great cost to Fairview) and raised a huge amount of profile for the pub in local press and within the local area. Please don’t do anything because you think the closure of the pub is inevitable – I assure you it isn’t!!

In many ways you mums hold the ‘Trump Card’ – Fairview cannot be seen to be closing down children’s groups – bad for the company reputation, AND the council would be much, much less concerned about this application if the Queensbury was ‘just a pub’! Please use your trump card!

You can comment on the proposals up until 2 September at http://www.fairview-walmlane.co.uk/

Fairview’s plans revealed: confusion and disappointment reign

The Save The Queensbury group doubted that Fairview Homes would exhibit a scheme that retains Willesden’s flagship pub and landmark building. After all, they have a lot to lose by keeping The Queensbury and plenty to gain by building a 10 storey tower block on the site.

In spite of buying a 120 year old building and pub, Fairview seem hellbent on a scheme that literally bulldozes through the conservation area.

After day one of their exhibition the initial reaction of people to the “revised” plans has been confusion and disappointment.

The confusion is because there is nothing new. Fairview showed off the token gesture cafe / community space months ago and it was derided then as a poor replacement for what will be lost. There were no detailed plans today. Confusion because the online exhibition website asks for comments yet there is just one image, which gives some detail but it is simply impossible to read.

Disappointment because Fairview have missed an opportunity to win over at least some of the community by showing that they have listened and responded. Disappointment because Willesden is full of cafes, but empty of gastropubs yet Fairview simply do not get it. Disappointment because they still do not understand why The Queensbury works for Busy Rascals and why the replacement clearly will not.

Save The Queensbury group is made up of people who object on three grounds: loss of the building (conservation); loss of the pub (social value); and loss of Busy Rascals (community use). The “revised” scheme wins none of these people over.

So let us press on – you keep telling Fairview so that they get the message (louder and clearer) and we will once again ask Brent Council to list this site as an asset of community value.

Fairview – are you hearing? You certainly are not listening.

You can comment on the proposals online at http://www.fairview-walmlane.co.uk/

Fairview to exhibit new plans to demolish The Queensbury

Have you received a letter from Green Issues Communique, inviting you to an exhibition regarding The Queensbury?

Fairview and their PR representatives are holding two “exhibition” sessions, at St Gabriel’s Church Hall (corner of Anson Road and Chichele Road) on Wednesday 17th July: 3–7pm and Thursday 18th July: 3–7pm.

THIS IS NOT A CONSULTATION ON THE REVISED PLANS – ONLY BRENT COUNCIL CONSULTS WITH US ON PLANS – NOT DEVELOPERS! These events are for the benefit of the developer – to sell an amended scheme so they can report back to Brent that they have engaged the community. The same attempt was made last year and left a lot of people very very angry, yet the same company return to the same venue to repeat the exercise.

You are encouraged to attend, tell your friends and neighbours too and give your views direct. We need to ensure that Fairview hear locals’ continued objection to the loss of the pub and give our views to counter the inevitable ‘hard sell’ at these exhibitions.

Please make sure that you tell Fairview that the debate about what to put on the ground floor of a 10-storey tower block is irrelevant; we do not want a cafe, nor a community hall, nor a commercial nursery in a replacement building – we want to preserve a fine pub in a historic building. Build around it, don’t demolish it.