A plan to build new homes in a much-loved park has been described as an "affront to the wishes" of the man who gave it to the people of the area.

Barham Park in Sudbury, Wembley, was the home of successful business owners, the Barham family, from around 1895 to 1937. It was the home of Titus Barham and his wife from 1913 until his death in 1937, where he had arranged to hand over the property and gardens “for the enjoyment of local people”.

The park is now managed by Brent Council on behalf of the people of Brent, through the Barham Park Trust. The five trustees of this charity are members of the council executive and headed by council leader Cllr Muhammed Butt.

However, a plan to demolish the two existing properties on the site and replace them with four three-storey, three-bedroom homes has angered local residents – with 160 signing a petition opposing it and a further 33 objecting to the application online – as well as the Barham family.

They say it was ‘a gift to the people’ to enjoy from its original owner and fear it could lead to further development in the park.

One said: “[…] It is a bad idea to build a four story building on the beautiful Barnham Park. It will look out of place and is not the right setting. The park is a place for the people to relax and enjoy the view. The park was not given to the people of Sudbury to be used for building residential homes.”

Barham Park. A plan to build four new homes in Barham Park has caused outrage amongst local residents. Image Credit: Google Maps. Permission to use with all LDRS partners

Barham Park. A plan to build four new homes in Barham Park has caused outrage amongst local residents. Image Credit: Google Maps. Permission to use with all LDRS partners

Another called for  the plan to be thrown out as the park “needs to be protected from encroachment”. Failure to do so could “demonstrate a willingness of the council to accept development on a green site” and may set a precedent for other parks in the borough.

The existing two semi-detached houses in the park were built in the 1970’s specifically for park wardens working there at the time. However, they were no longer needed when a borough-wide contract to run the parks was adopted in the early 2000’s.

The houses were subsequently auctioned off, where they were bought by funfair owner, and property developer George Irvin. Upon purchase, a covenant was signed stating that he would be getting only these two houses and there would be restrictions on any further development. 

Since then, the site has been the subject of a number of development applications from Mr Irvin, most of which were either refused or withdrawn. A 2018 plan to build four homes was given the green light but, as building work never started, the approval expired.

The latest plan has also stoked a response from relative Allan Barham, speaking on behalf of the Barham family.

In a letter sent to the chair of Brent Council’s planning committee, Cllr Matt Kelcher, he urged the council to reject the plan and “uphold Titus Barham’s express wish that his gardens should be used for the enjoyment of local people and nothing else.”

He added: “While the original building of the two houses may have been questionable, the proposed building of four larger and taller houses is an affront to the wishes of Titus Barham.”

Mr Barham also called on the council to “continue to respect and protect his generosity specifically for the enjoyment of local people”.

Sudbury ward councillor Paul Lorber said: “This is a very controversial planning application. Local people love their local park and are upset about the plan. I fully support their opposition to the application.”

The plan has been recommended for approval by council officers, with their report stating: “The proposal is considered to accord with the development plan, and having regard to all material planning considerations. The proposal would deliver the provision of four family-sized homes, contributing towards the council’s housing targets”.

George Irvin was approached for comment but did not respond ahead of publication. The plan will be heard by councillors at the next planning committee meeting (June 12), where a decision on whether or not to approve the application will be made.