JONATHAN DAVIES BRENT COUNCILLOR QUEENS PARK WARD

6 April 2006

QUEEN’S PARK TOWERBLOCK

Many people have been asking me about the Council’s plan to put a 26-storey towerblock on the car park next to Queen’s Park Station. The Council is not prepared to have an open public consultation about the proposal. My view is that the people who elected me as their councillor deserve to be informed about the proposal.

The Council was in extensive pre-application talks with the proposed developer, Genesis, from at least the middle of 2004. In April 2005, the Council amended the planning guidance relating to the site to allow for a building of up to 20 storeys paving the way for Genesis’s planning application for a set of twin 26-storey towerblocks. The Council persuaded them to withdraw it in September 2005 due to the unexpected level of public opposition to the proposal.

Unfortunately, the proposal is not dead. Genesis will be making a new application after the May 2006 iocal elections when the Labour leadership, if re-elected, will not have to worry about the electoral consequences of building a concrete and glass skyscraper on the edge of

The Labour leadership refuse to change the planning policy for the site, which calls for a 20storey building. They opposed a Libdem motion criticising the Council’s policy of encouraging towerblocks. Planning permission for a tall building will increase the value of the land. The Council owns the land and has agreed sell it off to the developer, so it has a vested interest in making the tower as tall as possible to maximise profits from the sale.

Brent Council has set up a “Stakeholder Forum” to discuss the new planning application that will be submitted after the May 2006 elections. You might think that is a good idea. It is a total sham. You can’t take part because it is not even open to the public. Participation is by invite only. Just eight local residents have been allowed to attend – completely outnumbered by other people at the meeting who have other vested interests. A genuine public consultation would be open to all.

At the first stakeholder forum, the Council revealed the ground floor plans of three new proposals, but refused to say how tall each proposal would be! The Council will reveal the height of each proposal at the next meeting due to take place after the May election!!! The Council and Genesis came to the meeting unwilling to discuss the height of the proposed building! The conclusion I draw from their secrecy is that the proposed height will be as unacceptable as it was under the previous planning application.

The policy of the currently labour controlled Council is to support the proposal. Although I am a labour Councillor, I am totally opposed to the plan and I am appalled at the Council’s secrecy about their intentions and their refusal to respond to public opposition to the proposal. As a result, I am not standing as a candidate myself in May 2006. I have enjoyed representing the people of Queen’s Park of the last four years and I wish you all a happy, tower free future!

Printed and Published by Cllr Jonathan Davies. Distributed in Queen’s Park 6/7/8 Apr 2006