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Political fall out over campaign to save the Queensbury pub in Willesden Green

PUBLISHED: 19:19 24 October 2012

Sarah Teather, Lib Dem MP for Brent Central and Cllr Muhammed Butt, Labour leader of Brent Council

Sarah Teather, Lib Dem MP for Brent Central and Cllr Muhammed Butt, Labour leader of Brent Council

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Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather and Labour leader of Brent Council Muhammed Butt take jabs at each other

A campaign to save a Willesden Green pub from closure has resulted in political rivals taking jabs at each other.

While the community unites to try and save the Queensbury pub in Walm Lane, from demolition, the division between Cllr Muhammed Butt, the Labour leader of Brent Council, and Sarah Teather, Liberal Democrat MP for Brent Central, widens.

Fairview Homes, who bought the building off Brent’s Conservative Party, have put in an application to knock it down and build 56 flats over 10-storeys in its place.

The crusade to save the site has garnered much support with former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and boyband The Wanted speaking out against its closure.

Last week, Ms Teather, who lives a stones throw away from the pub, set up a petition calling for it to be saved resulting in Cllr Butt accusing her of carrying out a publicity shunt.

He said: ‘This is one of the most shameless cases of an MP chasing a photo opportunity I’ve ever seen.

“Her (Ms Teather’s) party talk about the need for more homes in Westminster, but oppose them in Brent where they are desperately needed.

“Her Government is committed to ‘improving’ planning laws, which in reality mean that local residents will completely lose their say on local planning issues, while she campaigns locally on issues like this.

“She is as bad as Nick Clegg when it comes to saying one thing and doing another.”

In response Ms Teather denied Cllr Butt’s claims, saying: “It is absurd and short term to knock down one of the few valued community hubs to build a tower block of luxury flats priced way out of the reach of ordinary Brent families.

“It is the council’s job to ensure that there are enough homes for people to live in as well as community facilities for them to use.

“In order to have a community you need places where people can meet up – maintaining a balance between housing and amenities is the reason we have a planning system.”

Campaigners argue that the pub helps run community events and hosts mother and baby sessions – ensuring that new mothers are able to socialise with others in their situation.

In addition, the Times has discovered that if the pub is demolished, the Queensbury Deli nearby is expected to close as well as it is unlikely to be able to sustain business on its own.

Maggie Robson, who lives close to The Queensbury, said: “This pub represents much more. It is a nice place to eat and acts as something of a community hub as well.”

Liam Win, of Dartmouth Road, said: “It was a bit of a shock and disappointment finding out about the plans

Brent Council is currently consulting on the plans and will continue to take opinions and information from residents, customers of the pub and members of the public up until Friday (26).

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