Our message to the country for this election is clear: hardworking people deserve places to go and meet their friends; to socialise and to have a drink. Even non-hardworking people deserve this, along with the non working, the disabled, the young, the feckless, the poor and the parents on maternity leave. This shouldn’t be taken away by developer greed with their gross profit margins – our pubs need protection.
The Carlton Tavern in Kilburn, demolished without warning shortly before its was due to be listed (Pic: Pete Firmin)
When we are elected to run this country we will commit to the following pledges:
1. Anybody who demolishes a popular, viable community pub should be imprisoned. Anybody who proposes to demolish one should be given community service and placed in the stocks.
What happened at The Carlton Tavern is nothing short of criminal. A developer demolished an open, viable pub on the eve of a preservation order being served on it. It’s not the first time it’s happened – look at Tommy Duck’s in Manchester for an even worse crime – but let’s make it the last so that The Queensbury doesn’t suffer the same.
2. Pubs should be protected by local councils
Many local councils have “pub protection” policies which stop aggressive development on sites where pubs are open and flourishing. The Corrib Rest has apparently been sold to a developer. It is currently closed and we wait and see what happens next. When we run the country we will legislate to ensure that all local councils have a pub protection policy. And we will make the Leader of Brent council sign theirs in blood.
3. Developments of 10 storeys or more should come with those binoculars that you get in the cheap seats at the theatre.
Nobody should have to strain their eyes from their penthouse, especially when you’ve paid £1.5m for the view, so a key plank of our first Queensbury Speech will to be mandate developers to provide binoculars for floors above 9 and 10. It’s only fair that the rich can observe the mundane happenings of the commoners below.
4. Local council offices should have a “poor door” and planning officials should be made to use it.
When developing swanky flats, developers build separate entrances for those who can’t afford the extortionate market rate. They get a discount and as a punishment they enter through a side or rear door, often next to the bins. That’s what was planned for The Queensbury. We would outlaw poor doors but leave a legacy whereby planners have to use one themselves to remind them of their failures.
5. Children should be banned from pubs. They don’t belong there. Their little feet stick to the carpet and they aren’t even big enough to reach the coin slots of the fruit machine.
No, we’re not serious. Responsible parents should be able to take their children to responsible venues, at appropriate times of the day. The Queensbury is a responsible venue and throws open its doors daily to babies, children and parents via Busy Rascals / NCT activities. The developer of 110 Walm Lane objects to this. Given the shortage of community venues in Willesden we will legislate to ensure all pubs are open for children of all ages and have cot facilities onsite too.
6. When an unprecedented number of people sign a petition, that should be enough evidence to list a building as a local asset.
The petition to save The Queensbury gained over 4,000 signatures but this was still not enough for Brent Council who have persistently failed to protect the building at 110 Walm Lane. Quite the opposite – officers at Brent council refused to put The Queensbury on the register of locally listed buildings while other officers sitting opposite wrote a report recommending its demolition. We think that’s wrong and the government’s inspector agrees with us. We will pass a law to ensure that if local people think a building should be protected then local councils have to take them more seriously.
7. If you order stuff online you have to print it off using a 3D printer at home.
At the public inquiry on The Queensbury a resident asked where the
Asda Ocado van would park to deliver to Altitude Towers. Incredibly, the developer insisted that online ordering would mean fewer delivery trips. We will follow this through to its natural conclusion – order online and there will be no delivery – print it yourself.
8. When locally elected members have meetings with developers, these should be documented and made available to the public.
Back in early 2012 Fairview Homes met with lots of Brent Councillors about their plans for The Queensbury. We don’t know what yarns they spun at these meetings. Unfortunately, local councillors did not ask their residents what they thought of the proposals and we were unaware that these clandestine meetings were taking place. Other London councils are open and transparent and print minutes of their meetings, so we can all see what was said. When we rule the world, we’ll make this a law.
9. Free beer Fridays
Pints, spirits, shots and slammers will be available free of charge in all pubs on Fridays, from noon until midnight only (let’s not go overboard).
Too silly? Not when you consider this.
10. People who do not register to vote should not be allowed to vote on The X Factor.
Either you’re in or you’re out. If you can’t be bothered to register for a vote in May then that should disqualify you from all forms of democratically decided events such as The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. You can’t have it both ways.
So when your doorbell rings and you see a fearful candidate with a horrific rosette, simply ask which of these pledges they will deliver if elected in May.