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Harlesden community’s delight as development plans rejected by committee

PUBLISHED: 11:42 19 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:09 24 October 2017

Victorious Kensal Green councillors Claudia Hector, Matt Kelcher and Jun Bo Chan with local residents Lucy Owen and Ian Britton

Victorious Kensal Green councillors Claudia Hector, Matt Kelcher and Jun Bo Chan with local residents Lucy Owen and Ian Britton

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It was a victorious evening for campaigners in Harlesden as plans to build a block of flats on a tiny strip of land got rejected by planning chiefs.

Councillors and community members say no to development in Harlesden (Picture: michelemartinoli.com) Councillors and community members say no to development in Harlesden (Picture: michelemartinoli.com)

Brent Council’s planning committee went against its own officers’ recommendations to reject the Beckley Group’s application to redevelop a former warehouse site in Manor Park Road at a meeting last night.

Neighbour Ian Britton told the Brent & Kilburn Times after the meeting: “It’s amazing – I’m shocked.

“The committee accepted the points we raised about the overdevelopment. We are grateful to the members.

“We do want the site developed but something more modest.”

Kensal Green’s Cllr Jumbo Chan added: “It’s great that our views were heard – not just ours but also those of the community.” Plans to build 45 flats across two tower blocks had sparked a protest by the community who said the development was too large, dense and dangerous, and would overlook a girls’ school.

The developers wished to change the warehouse use from “industrial” to “residential” use with a further seven-storey extension above it to accommodate 24 flats.

A block of eight storeys would be built next to it containing 21 flats with a “very narrow entrance” to the site.

Campaigners feared the residents would be trapped in their homes with no way to get to the street if vehicles blocked the entrance way.

Cllr Claudia Hector, representative for Kensal Green ward, described the area as an “accident hotspot”. She said: “We accept the site has to be developed but two years ago the specification was for 30 flats. Now it’s for 45 properties, with an average of 150 people living there. There are access issues for the fire brigade, and delivery vehicles could also block the entrance leaving people trapped. The entrance is so close to a bus stop. It’s really, really dangerous.”

Dave Carroll, planning agent for the Beckley Group, dismissed the safety concerns, saying the level of traffic coming into the site was “predicted to be low”.

He added that they had a “duty to optimise the density for much needed housing,” which was echoed by council officers who said the scheme was “viable”.

But the meeting saw one committee councillor accept the plans, two reject them and three abstain.

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