Preparing for the public inquiry

Let’s recap on where we are at. Brent council decided in March this year that permission should not be granted to demolish 110 Walm Lane (and with it The Queensbury pub). A government inspector will now decide whether Brent Council was right to take that decision. A public inquiry will now decide on the future of The Queensbury. That inquiry will sit for 5 days, starting on 27th January 2015. Fairview Homes and Brent Council are the big players in the inquiry but we think we should have a voice too.

What is Rule 6?

Save The Queensbury has been confirmed as a “Rule 6″ party at the inquiry. A Rule 6 party becomes an active partner in the inquiry and has to prepare a case in advance of the inquiry taking place. WE are working on that and have to have it to the inspector by 3 December. At the actual inquiry we will be in a better position to cross examine witnesses, including Brent’s and Fairview’s witnesses.

Why are we asking to be a Rule 6 party?

Being a Rule 6 party is not for the fainthearted and is a significant undertaking of time and effort. We have always said that we would follow whatever process necessary to protect the existing building. Brent Council have been very supportive of our campaign in their decisions and have twice decided that Fairview’s plans are unacceptable (on the actual scheme and on the affordable housing element). BUT, in spite of meeting officers and attempting a dialogue with them, they continually seek to sidestep the council’s own policies and side with the developer rather than with the community. Being a Rule 6 party is the only way we can ensure that the voice of residents is properly heard by the inspector. It will also enable us to continue to be vigilant of Brent’s officers as they prepare their inquiry case.

A word about Save the Chesham Arms

Other pubs have been Rule 6 parties and other pubs have succeeded. One case we’ve followed keenly and have sought advice from is the Save The Chesham Arms campaign. We want to bring as much vigour to this inquiry as they have to theirs.

What will it cost?

A good Barrister costs about £10k a week, plus another £5k to prepare our case. A consultant planning / heritage expert costs another £5k. Big money. But we have no money!  This website is supported by meagre resources from a kind donor. Our leaflets cost £75 and were printed via the Campaign For Real Ale. All the petitioning, meetings, letters and planning objections have been supported only by time and effort of local residents and we really have achieved a great deal.

It is a credit to Willesden that a Barrister who lives locally has offered his time, for free, to help with our Rule 6 case.  He specialises in planning law and will work with us IF we are accepted as a Rule 6 party by the government inspector.

What is the risk?

There is a risk, but it is a small one. If we behave unreasonably then costs of the inquiry may be awarded against us. However the advice we have received is that if we stick to planning matters, continue to represent ourselves in the right way and not waste the inquiry’s time by trashing the civic centre, then we have a perfectly reasonable case.

How can you get involved?

Our legal volunteer and those who worked on the ACV and planning objections will be drawing up the necessary documents for the appeal.

BUT….. given the inquiry runs over five days, we need people to attend the inquiry and listen to how it’s going, from Tuesday 27th January, possibly for five days.

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