Times’ letters: Housing in Brent and Kilburn
PUBLISHED: 08:30 21 June 2020
Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Times’ readers this week.
Sudbury Town station car park
Paul Lorber, former Lib Dem leader on Brent Council and councillor for Barham and Sudbury 1982 to 2014, writes:
It is in my view highly irresponsible of the Mayor of London to ignore the concerns of local people and try to sell off the car park at Sudbury Town Underground Station.
The proposal to build 61 flats (later reduced to 52), including a five-storey block, without any car parking was clearly an over-development. Almost all car parking would be lost, with their unrealistic expectation that local streets already described as “heavily parked” could absorb all the cars displaced. Equally unrealistic is the suggestion that users of the station should use public transport when the mayor’s transport bosses have removed the No 245 bus service from the station.
The developers’s last minute “carrot” of an extra £400,000 to Brent Council was a disgrace.
While the car park may not be fully used, there is regular demand for between 15 to 35 spaces. This is not surprising as Sudbury Town is one of the few ‘step free’ stations, accessible for disabled and older people and parents with young children. With the loss of the 245 the station is no longer easy to access by public transport.
The Mayor of London has promised to build 10,000 homes. He should not resort to desperate actions to keep his promise, which may look good in electioneering propaganda but may be unrealistic.
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The Brent Local Plan, developed by the Labour-run council, identified Sudbury Town Station as suitable for up to 30 homes. I hope that should the mayor or any developer come back with new plans they take account of the area and local views - no five-storey blocks, fewer units and retention of parking for residents.
South Sudbury Residents and Sudbury Town Residents Association worked hard to get the concerns of local people across. I wish to pay a tribute to them and the people who supported them.
Value of home
Councillor Eleanor Southwood, cabinet member for housing and welfare reform, writes:
As people grapple with the impact of coronavirus, the value of a safe place to call home has never been clearer. Tonight, far too many families across Brent will go to bed in housing that is designed only with a temporary stay in mind. Many face unstable jobs and reduced hours, and are struggling to make their wages stretch far enough.
Renting privately is out of reach for many, particularly as the housing benefit cap is too low. That’s why we set up our own housing company, i4b, which rents properties at more affordable rates. We know this will only get us so far, which is why we have plans to build 1,000 new council homes, and to deliver 4,000 affordable homes with partners.
For the second year running, Brent has the highest number of affordable homes under construction in London - with 1,650 started. Brent owns little land so our plans depend on increasing the number of council homes on existing sites, which is what we did in Ellerslie Gardens, Willesden. Building new homes so close to where people live is disruptive and can cause anxiety and I’m grateful to local residents for their support and engagement.
Sadly we know, that despite our best efforts supply does not match demand - as the Brent & Kilburn Times highlighted on May 21, the average wait for a three-bed home is sixteen years. These are difficult times for everyone and we have every ambition to redouble our effort to help those in need.
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