Save The Queensbury Year Seven

QueensburyFairview Homes have moved on and the new freeholder of 110 Walm Lane, Redbourne (Queensbury) Ltd have submitted a plan to demolish the existing building, including The Queensbury public house. The application number is 18/0210 and the full details can be found here:

https://pa.brent.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=DCAPR_138145

In its place will be a five storey block comprising 48 “high quality” flats (14 x 1 bed, 22 x 2 bed, 11 x 3 bed, 1 x 4 bed). No more than 15 flats will be “affordable” because of the developer’s viability analysis. The affordable element is the minimum to avoid detailed scrutiny of “viability” and will be in a separate block to the marketed flats, at the rear.

There is a pub planned for the ground floor, along with a community space (essentially the function room of the pub). Both these combined are apparently a larger floor area than the current public house and there will be an element of outdoor seating.

The developer is apparently content for planning permission to be subject to a condition removing permitted development rights which would enable change the use of the public house without planning permission. This was a major victory of our ‘previous’ campaign because this has been the demise of many a pub (permission is granted to develop but a pub fails to materialise over time, with viability cited as the reason).

According to the developer, the benefits of this scheme are numerous and weighty. A “Heritage Impact Assessment” finds that the proposal would have a ‘broadly neutral’ effect on surrounding designated heritage assets. In other words, demolishing 110 Walm Lane will not adversely affect conservation in Mapesbury and Willesden Green. Many locals disagree with this and would like to keep the existing building.

How to respond?

Brent Planning Committee will decide on the plans, in due course and comments should be made via the portal listed above. The committee will not take much note of objections such as:

  • the pub won’t be the same
  • noise and disruption during building works
  • targets on affordable housing will be missed
  • there aren’t enough schools / doctors for all these people
  • we have too many flats already.

The committee will need sound planning policy reasons such as:

  • The existing building makes a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the Mapesbury conservation area and should be retained.
  • Regardless of the size and shape of the proposal, the replacement of the existing building would lose the historical presence of original built form at the gateway to the conservation area.
  • The proposal neither preserves nor enhances the area’s character or appearance.
  • The appeal of the previous planning application concluded that the existing building makes a positive contribution to the setting of the Grade II listed tube station, which would be desirable to preserve.
  • New development would erode historic character. As a result, evidence of the original development and subsequent evolution of area, in particular of its buildings used by the community, would be lost. There would be harm to the conservation area’s historic interest.
  • There are no plans to rehouse Busy Rascals while development takes place. There should be a universal undertaking that commits that development can not commence until suitable alternative temporary accommodation for Busy Rascals has been secured, at no expense to the group.

Our view

Save The Queensbury have always accepted that the site is ripe for development but maintain that the location and neighbourhood means that a financial return could be realised by retaining the historic building and reopen it to wider use.

Although smaller in height than the previous plan, the proposal is still dense (particularly at the rear) and this is another example of profit outweighing conservation and community need.

Engagement with the community has been minimal and Busy Rascals do not feature in any of the 36 associated documents. There is no impact assessment on the removal of the vital services they provide, nor alternatives whilst building progresses.

Save The Queensbury represents those who want to protect the current building as an important focal point of history in Mapesbury and also to preserve the pub and community space.