Queensbury decision date confirmed

Planning officers are recommending that The Queensbury is demolished. A decision will be made on Weds 12th March.

If you submitted an objection to the planning application to demolish the Queensbury you will receive a letter (or may have already received one) from Brent Council. Unfortunately the recommendation of planning officers is to approve the plans – but this is just a recommendation, the final decision will be made by the elected councillors who sit on the Planning Committee. The planners’ report with its recommendation can be found here. Its a long report, we’re still reading and digesting it but there is plenty in it to challenge, so watch this space for our rebuttal.

There are 2 important dates:

Saturday 8 March: At approx 11.15am the Planning Committee will visit The Queensbury for a site visit. Your presence is also requested so that they see the strength of feeling in the community. This is not a demonstration (only one of us will be allowed to address the committee at the end of the visit) but home made signs and banners will be welcome. Be as creative as you like!

Weds 12 March: The decision will be made at the Planning Committee meeting which takes place at 7pm at Brent Civic Centre (directions here). Again your presence is needed.

Anyone wanting to travel together to the Planning Committee meeting on 12th March should meet at Willesden Green station at 6.15pm.

This is it folks, crunch time – see you there!

A month of contradictions

Fairview have submitted a positive change to the ground floor use plan, but also an appeal against The Queensbury’s listing as an Asset of Community Value.

Last we heard a planning decision is due on 12th March. Meanwhile a supplementary document was sent to planners, by Fairview earlier this week, “Ground Floor Use and Operation Statement.”  (Welcome to The Queensbury II.)

The document says that “there have been a number of responses to the planning application which has prompted Fairview Homes to produce this statement which outlines current position and to make sure the whole community is fully aware of the current proposals.” Clearly the 4,000 strong petition and 100s of objections have struck a nerve. “We have listened and now have a very good understanding of what the community want.” In the document is a summary of their discussions with the current pub operator and an outline of how the community space will work, opening hours etc. They say they’ll accept an obligation to fund the rehousing of Busy Rascals in the meantime, but the accompanying updated community facilities document is not even worthy of posting a link. There is reference to A4 (pub) but not A3 (cafe) in addition to D1 (community use) yet the entire application remains unchanged. Progress, but some distance away from the guarantees we are seeking if Brent decide to allow the building to be demolished.

Meanwhile a letter from Fairview’s lawyers dropped into the mailbox the same day…. they are appealing the community asset status, citing the proposed arrangements above as a reason to not list the pub as an asset. In other words if both parties agree to end the lease (in place till 2017) and there are plans to rehouse the community groups then hey Brent, why not just take the pub off your list? Brent Council are holding an oral hearing around 19th March and we have been invited to take part. Who’s up for a grilling?

The above begs a number of questions:

  • How can we trust Fairview to actually deliver what is in their amended plan when, afterall, they have also asked for cafe use in their application, which remains ‘live’ and unchanged?
  • Which Fairview do we believe, the one that says they’ll put in a great pub / community space or the one that continually objects to The Queensbury as an asset?
  • Why are Fairview so reluctant for the pub to be listed as an asset, if they claim to have listened? How can a planning decision possibly be taken on 12th March when the community asset status is appealed the following week?
  • The existing building still disappears and there are still plans for 10 storeys. If Fairview have genuinely listened and understand what the community wants, as they claim, then surely they would address one or both of these concerns?

Questions questions questions…

Speaking out for The Queensbury at the Willesden Green Wassail

Today we attended the 5th annual Willesden Green Wassail.

Wassailing is an ancient tradition that involves singing and drinking the health of trees in the hopes that they might better thrive. Local poet and story teller Rachel Rose Reid has adapted the custom to make it relevant to our urban setting in Willesden Green so we sang to local independent traders with the help of MCs and other spoken word artists. With the fate of The Queensbury still undecided, today was a good opportunity to show how much we value our high street.

Thanks to Wembley Matters for the video