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Big blow to South Kilburn community as cabinet steams ahead with Granville and Carlton regeneration plans

PUBLISHED: 16:15 16 April 2019

Some of the Granville and Carlton supporting South Kilburn community members at the Brent cabinet meeting which did not go in their favour. Picture: Cllr Abdirizak Abdi

Some of the Granville and Carlton supporting South Kilburn community members at the Brent cabinet meeting which did not go in their favour. Picture: Cllr Abdirizak Abdi

Archant

Brent cabinet chiefs have bulldozed the Kilburn community’s hopes for the Granville and Carlton centres, which will now be redeveloped into housing and enterprise space.

The plans for the community centres in Granville Road were returned from a scrutiny committee to cabinet members with four recommendations including more social space and family homes which were passed.

At the meeting on Monday, Brent Council leader Cllr Muhammed Butt changed the wording of a recommendation to “ensure” there would be three- and four-bedroomed flats to saying only that Brent would “explore” the “financially unviable” option put forward by the public realm committee on April 3.

The plans for 23 council homes were welcomed by the South Kilburn Trust, a huge beneficiary of the project, which was roundly attacked by the public groups present.

It was a crushing blow for the campaigners who filled the meeting room, with many making last-minute pleas.

Rumi's Cave, which has operated in the Carlton Centre since 2011, will be evicted.

Founder Sheikh Babikir told the cabinet more than 2,000 use the centre every week: “We are inundated with people who are suffering in the area, mothers with toddlers, old people. They are asking me to stop what's going on.”

Listing the art and culture programmes they offer, the breakfast and after school clubs and weekend support for teens, he added: “You are going to allow children who are suffering now to suffer in their future. Where will they go? Please help us to preserve our services.”

Sara Calloway, of the Kilburn Housing Co-operative Ltd, said their members had used the community services for generations.

“As a co-op we know it's vital to have community input, community consultation and good will.” Their office was based in the Granville for many years, she added, with members using services from both centres. “It's very precious to us,” she said. “There's been a lack of clarity and consultation with the community and that needs to change.”

David Kaye of Kilburn Labour Party added: “SKT comes to speak to you here as if it's a community group. It's not – it's a legacy vehicle that got funds from previous developments in the area [...] with reserves of over £4.5million.

“The council is going further into agreement with them. What those negotiations really are we don't know – they are in financial papers which are confidential, which you call confidential, I call secret.” He added the plans needed “careful consideration” and “proper conslutation”.

But chair of SKT trustees Ros Dunn reminded the room that “SKT was set up as a charity by Brent Council”. She said that its profits are “reinvested rather than going to shareholders” and that the trust operates a “give-back scheme” for “fledgling start-ups” who become profitable.

She added: “We strongly support delivering broader community membership, including those members who are new to South Kilburn and new to community involvement and are certainly not represented here today.”

Regeneration chief Cllr Sharma Tatler drew heckles of “liar, you lie” when she said there had been “extensive consutation” including “40 events”.

“The Carlton Granville is a much loved and valued asset in South Kilburn,” she said, adding: “It is vital that we look to protect our community in an area of regeneration but we all need to be mindful of the operational requirements for building.”

She said she would work with the trust and community groups on what a “community model will look like” before passing the recommendations.

Following the meeing Dee Woods, stakeholder and co-founder of award winning Granville Community Kitchen, said: “They never asked us about housing – they just bulldozed ahead with their plans.”

Michael Coleman, of Kilburn Co-op, added: “This a big attack on all communities in Brent.”

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