A week on from the end of the marathon public inquiry into The Queensbury and three popular questions we’ve been asked are: What’s the decision? How was the inquiry? And….. Do you think we’ll win?
The first question is easy. These things take time. The government’s planning inspector has indicated that a decision will be made “on or before 25th March” so look out for a tweet / email nearer that time.
Second, how did it go? We gave it our best shot, took a full part and reinforced just how strong local feeling is against this development. Brent Council’s consultant heritage expert made a great case that a 10 storey building simply does not sit or fit well at 110 Walm Lane. It was a tiring and difficult process to be involved in but a good 12-15 local people came forward to attend / speak at the inquiry so it was really worthwhile. Importantly, we secured some key detail around the community space and opening hours IF the proposal gets the go ahead.
Onto the third question: will we win? The fact that the inquiry lasted a week and the decision is taking a further seven weeks means that it is difficult to call. The proposal for a dense 10 storey tower is new for Willesden and is consistent with some policies but inconsistent with others. Fairview threw everything at it, including a very experienced QC barrister to fight their corner.
The inspector has to consider everything and produce a cast-iron decision that cannot be challenged. The decision will be detailed, offering reasons why the appeal was unsuccessful (or successful). We have to respect that decision, accept whatever future the Inspector decides for The Queensbury and take it from there.
Yes yes yes…. but will we win?
The inspector’s decision is something we just can’t predict. Obviously we hope that the existing pub and building will stay, but even if he rules in Fairview’s favour we have won a major victory in securing a pub and community space in the new building, something which Fairview strongly resisted but for our campaign.