After the welcome and introductions (including meeting our new best friend Planning Inspector Lyons) the appellant, the council and us set out our opening statements. It was refreshing to hear an excellent opening statement by the Council’s barrister, slating the grounds of appeal.
We opened by saying that conservation, the pub, the community facilities and the absence of a plan to house Busy Rascals concerns us and will be covered in detail by us. Not to mention the density and unaffordable housing proposed.
London Assembly Member Navin Shah gave a comprehensive summary of London’s protection of pubs. Cllr Carr made clear how Cllrs have come together in objecting (across parties) and Cllr Miller gave an excellent summary of why The Queensbury is important. He also covered what is ‘viable’ in housing terms and what is not.
Brent had a heritage expert who tells us that the land used to have a nursery on it – around 1895. He couldn’t get into detail because Brent’s Archive is only open a couple of days a week. #cuts! He also recognised the important landmark that is St Gabriel’s church and we saw some horrifying images of the proposed tower.
Fairview’s people then went through his evidence practically line by line. It’s ironic that the QC for Fairview is from Landmark chambers which is ironic given the afternoon was spent discussing “what is a landmark.” It got a bit abrupt at one point.
Glazed terracotta versus cream terracotta. Verticality and horizontality. By this point we’d glazed over and we adjourn until tomorrow when Brent’s policy and housing person is up to give evidence, then us.
The inquiry continues this week at the Brent Civic Centre in Wembley, the public are welcome to attend.