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Brent Council leader visits threatened activity group based in Willesden pub

PUBLISHED: 17:32 27 March 2013 | UPDATED: 18:24 27 March 2013

Cllr Muhammed Butt visits The Queensbury Pub and Busy Rascals playgroup.

Cllr Muhammed Butt visits The Queensbury Pub and Busy Rascals playgroup.

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Cllr Muhammed Butt holds talks with Busy Rascals in the Queensbury pub

A threatened activity group offering learning and play activities for toddlers in a Willesden pub faced with demolition has been backed by the leader of the council.

Cllr Muhammed Butt visited Busy Rascals, an activity group which operates from The Queensbury Pub, in Walm Lane, today.

The visit was a chance for the club to show the vital services they offer amid fears their home could soon be demolished.

An application from Fairview New Homes, the Queensbury’s owners, to demolish the pub in favour of flats would see Busy Rascals and its sister group Bumps and Babies left homeless.

But Cllr Butt, who said it would be “a shame” to see the pub demolished said he would be willing to talk to developers to see if a space could be retained for activities to continue.

Sharmine Chowdhury-Tse who runs the classes, highlighted the need for the venue to remain.

She said: “I think he [Cllr Butt] was pleasantly surprised to see what we do. He saw how much the children enjoyed and gained from the class.

“Some of the parents spoke to him and emphasised to him how important the classes were and the support network they have made through it.

“That may not have happened if the Queensbury was not here. I’m not sure we could find a venue as suitable as this if we were forced to move.”

The five times weekly classes, which cater for children aged from 3 months to 3 years, helps improve early aspects of education.

The application is due to be considered by the council’s planning committee when a fresh proposal is drawn up.

Ms Chowdhury-Tse added: “We are not asking for funding- we are just asking the council to support us in continuing what Busy Rascals does by not letting the planners demolish the pub.”

Cllr Butt added: “I always say if you are coming into Brent as a developer and benefiting from it you have to give something back so I will talk and see if a space can be retained for them.”

The potential closure of the pub has also attracted criticism from local residents who have set-up the Save the Queensbury campaign while former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has also backed calls to save it.

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