Campaigners demand involvement in South Kilburn regeneration plans
PUBLISHED: 11:12 23 November 2016 | UPDATED: 11:12 23 November 2016
Kilburn’s councillors and campaigners have told the council to involve them in all decisions as changes to their vital community centres and nursery are approved.
There was a huge turnout at Brent Council’s cabinet meeting from supporters of the Granville and Carlton Community Centres and Granville Plus Nursery which straddles the two on the South Kilburn Estate.
The meeting was to recommend a refurbishment of the site into an enterprise hub and also, to allow a designer be found for ‘phase two” of the project, part of the South Kilburn regeneration programme to provide homes.
Campaigners were not consulted over initial plans to demolish the centres.
Lesley Benson, of Granville Nursery, said the consultation “was not brilliantly designed” and added: “With phase two, our concerns are about both the timescales and also, it’s very important for the school to be significantly involved at that stage.
“There are some real needs around the role of the nursery in terms of the architecture of the building.
“For early years the architecture in intrinsically, inextricably related to the curriculum and the high levels of outcome that we do achieve and the really good progress we make with children without a proper understanding of the architecture.”
Cllr Lesley Jones, former mayor of Brent, said: “Funding for the hub is really good news and welcomed as a tremendous contribution to regeneration but don’t throw the baby out with the dishwater.”
She added: “Both centres already contribute to regeneration by freeing parents and carers to seek training and employment knowing children are looked after.”
Momota Ahmed spoke in defence of the Concord Café, and all the volunteers who cater for special needs groups and individuals.
Kilburn councillors, Cllr John Duffy and Cllr Rita Conneely, both took to the stand in support of users of the centres and the range of services provided there.
Cllr John Warren, leader of the Brent Conservatives asked that the key decisions made my cabinet members be ‘called in’ to scrutiny, saying the process was “flawed with mistakes, warnings not heeded and lack of early consultation.”
Cllr Roxanne Mashari, lead member of regeneration, said: “Our cabinet paper was not consulted in the way we would have liked and we are determined to put this right and to work much more collaboratively with stakeholders in South Kilburn from now on.”
She said the activities and services at the centres would not be impacted by the refurbishment.
She also sought to procure a design team to “progress to phase two”. She added: “Going forward, under regeneration we will put collaboration at the heart of this project. Priorities for the site are to secure a permanent enterprise hub, to secure future nursery school, Barnardo’s children centre and Granville kitchen.
“We will work with the individuals here tonight to make sure that we make this work and turn it around.”
Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of the council, added: “We are going to be working with all the tenants in that building and it is going to be a collaborative approach. South Kilburn is one of our most important areas in relation to housing and skills, the opportunities there we need to capitalise on that.”