South Kilburn community 'delighted” Carlton/Granville redevelopment go-ahead “called in” for scrutiny
PUBLISHED: 15:57 20 March 2019
Campaigners demanding community space in South Kilburn have welcomed a decision to “call in” a council decision to build homes instead.
Brent’s cabinet chiefs gave the green light to redeveloping the Carlton and Granville centres at a meeting on March 11.
The plans, which include building 23 council homes on the site, were waived through despite massive opposition from the community living in and around it.
But on Tuesday, following pressure from seven councillors, including all three Kilburn councillors, the decision was called in and will now be scrutinised by the Public Realm committee next month.
Leslie Barson, who co-runs the Granville Community Kitchen in Carlton Vale as well as community centre the Otherwise Club, said: “We are delighted they have called it in. We feel the arguments we made against the decision were not really heard so great we have the chance to put them again.”
She added: “The issues to be build social housing in Brent is fantastic but building social housing on the site of the only multi-use space in South Kilburn is not.”
Dee Woods, co-founder of the award winning GCK, which offers free food to the community on Fridays, added: “It’s really crucial to have a space where everybody can come and feel welcome. Because of the housing element, that’s going to change and people won’t feel welcome.
“We will also lose part of our history and heritage in Kilburn.”
Pete Firmin, chair of the Alpha, Gorfield, and Canterbury Tenant and Resident Association, added: “I’m pleased they are going to have another look at it. We weren’t happy with the decision.”
Carlton/Granville is part South Kilburn Masterplan project split into two phases.
The community battled the council in 2016 over ‘phase one’ of its its plans to refurbish the Granville.
The South Kilburn Trust (SKT), were eventually given the keys in December 2017 and they transformed the space in to a purpose-built enterprise hub for entrepreneurs and organisations. It included a a much reduced community space, a café and increased access to the garden.
Under phase two proposals agreed last week, SKT would manage the Carlton site which will also be used as enterprise and office space.
Ms Barson told the meeting the total loss of community space in the area amounted to more than 779 sq m and risked vanishing completely.
“The needs of the housing will be, in time, prioritised over the needs of the community spaces,” she warned citing examples of noise complaints from Granville neighbours in 2013.
Mr Fermin said: “A lot of residents in South Kilburn do not trust the South Kilburn Trust in terms of accountability to the community.” He accused the charity of having no community representatives on its board and a councillor not from Kilburn. He added they had made “no attempt to talk to the community of south Kilburn about what we want.”
However Ros Dunn, chairman of the trustees, told the meeting: “Not only will there be more community scope that is currently available but also better.”
Kilburn’s Cllr Abdirazak Abdi told this paper: “The population of South Kilburn is increasing and the council is planning to double the number of homes on the estate.
“Some of the estates which had community halls have been regenerated without them. We believe this development will put community facilities at risk. We urge the council to find an alternative site for this housing and we suggest the Peel Precinct, which is as little as 10 metres away, which is planned to have 308 homes, only 42 of which are social.”
Cllr Shama Tatler, lead member for regeneration, highways and planning said: “We’re incredibly proud of the Carlton and Granville proposal, which will secure the future of a valued community asset in South Kilburn and provide much-needed new council homes for Brent.”
She said design of new facilities which include “improved nursery, community and enterprise spaces” was shaped by the local community “demonstrating a commitment that community voices will always take the lead.
She added: “I therefore welcome this extra opportunity to allay any fears: the Carlton and Granville centers will remain protected community resources. I am confident that when this call-in is complete, all involved will see the value of these proposals.”