Times’ letters: Disappointing politicians and 1 Morland Gardens
PUBLISHED: 12:30 19 July 2020
Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Times’ readers this week.
Disappointment at councillors’ actions
Andy Vassilev, full address supplied, writes:
Reflecting on the article published in Brent & Kilburn Times about Brent labour councillors attending a “joint prayer” event at the Ealing road temple during lockdown, I wanted to express my deepest and sincere personal disappointment with their actions.
It is absolutely unacceptable that elected politicians and community representatives have chosen to blatantly ignore the imposed rules on social gatherings and religious events, while many thousands of residents have been following them to the letter.
Furthermore, the absence of the slightest personal or collective expression of remorse is something that tells a great deal about the lack of responsibility and the feeling of unaccountability that has been spreading among some councillors in our borough.
We do not need a “joint prayer” from our councillors and elected representatives.
We need them to listen to their constituents’ worries and take concrete actions to improve the well-being of their residents.
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It is a shame that during this crisis all but a few councillors have been actively engaged with their ward residents, providing them with tangible support during the Covid crisis.
Philip Grant, Kingsbury, full address supplied, writes:
On Brent’s planning application to demolish the locally listed Victorian villa at 1 Morland Gardens in Stonebridge, and replace it with a new college and homes - if the council had properly considered the heritage importance of this building in the first place, they would never have suggested demolishing it.
The application could not proceed in April because it had not shown a clear understanding of this heritage asset’s significance (its value), or shown why the benefits of the proposal outweighed the harm to that heritage importance. That is why a heritage impact assessment (HIA) was submitted last month, and there is further consultation.
The HIA was prepared by a reputable firm of planning consultants, but it was a desk-based assessment. Some of the information they based their findings on has been shown to be incorrect.
They also used the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges as the main criteria for assessing the building’s significance, rather than the system adopted by Brent for evaluating its locally listed heritage assets. On that basis, the HIA concluded that the Victorian villa was of “low significance”.
This just happens to be the only opinion which would justify the demolition under Brent’s planning policies for heritage assets.
Brent’s own principal heritage officer has said that 1 Morland Gardens “should be considered an important local heritage asset of high significance”. This is based on Brent’s scoring system, and is backed up by evidence submitted by The Victorian Society, a professor of architectural history and a long-serving expert at Brent Museum & Archives, as well as a number of other local historians and many local residents. 368 residents have signed a petition against the demolition. The senior officers and councillors proposing this scheme are meant to serve the people of Brent with honesty and integrity. The false “low significance” assessment has been made on their behalf. Do they really intend to use the HIA, seeking to deceive Brent’s planning committee into approving a planning application which they should really reject?
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