Councillors voted unanimously to kick out Scheme A and by five votes to two to refuse permission on Scheme B, but not before one Councillor reported an inappropriate approach by somebody acting for the developer. Gloves came off.
We spoke, Mapesbury residents spoke, so did ward Councillors then the developer’s agent (note – not the developer or architect), the pub operator spoke and for half an hour officers at Brent council put up a pitiful and withering defence of their plan to demolish the pub.
Queensbury rules went out of the window. Often misleading and befuddling the committee, suddenly we were no longer up against a developer but officer(s) desperate to get a decision through. Councillors were excellent in their questioning – how is a metal roof in character with Mapesbury when there are no other metal roofs? What is the public benefit of the scheme? Where is the pub kitchen in the plans (answer, there is no pub kitchen in the plans). Can you guarantee a pub in the new scheme (long pause, “No”).
And then to a vote: five opted to save the pub and two voted to demolish.
Material planning reasons for refusal were: insufficient architectural merit; out of character with the Mapesbury Conservation Area in terms of excessive height, design and massing; and lack of a legal agreement to control resulting harm.
Once the cheers had subsided the frustration kicked in.
How did these plans even come for a decision? Why was there no mention of Save The Queensbury in the 75 pages of reports? Why did officers quote half sentences of the previous appeal decision and leave out the other half that favoured conservation?
A complaint was lodged with Brent Council before we even left the building, followed by collaring the Leader of the Council at the tube station.
Well done to the community for turning out in great numbers in spite of the rain. Thank you to the ward Councillors who spoke and others who sent deputations and comments to the meeting. Well done to the residents associations in Mapesbury, Willesden Green, Fordwych, NW2 and also the Willesden and Cricklewood town teams for their ongoing support. Well done to Busy Rascals for pointing out just how uncertain the community activity is and how little they’ve been informed by the developer.
Round seven in August.
No respite: an Appeal on the plans that Brent kicked out in May this year.
A five day public inquiry which starts on Wednesday 28th August.