'A human beehive': Petition launched against Kilburn 'over-development'
- Credit: Bill Davis
A petition has been launched against the scale of development planned for Kilburn Square.
Brent Council has proposed building an extra 180 council homes on the existing site.
Also planned are five multiple storey buildings, including a 17-storey tower in addition to an existing one, next to the "highly polluted" Kilburn High Road.
Some of these new buildings will involve the removal of mature trees, a playground, a football pitch and open green space.
The petition has so far attracted more than 700 signatures, with many residents in Kilburn opposed to more buildings following historic fallouts with the council over regeneration plans.
The council is running a consultation, which can be completed online until July 23.
Petition organiser Nicky Lovick, a member of Kilburn Village Residents’ Association, said: “We feel the council is playing games with us.
"Our stakeholder group has been in dialogue with them for six months, telling them in some detail why we believe the current project is far too big.
"I live close to Kilburn Square, and we have friends on the estate itself.
"The current version of Brent’s plan would totally undermine the current stable, sociable nature of this jewel of a community. And we don’t need a second 17-storey tower, thank you very much.”
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On resident who lives on the Kilburn Square estate, said: “These plans will destroy the beautiful balance of the estate.
"Building new, affordable housing is one thing – creating a human beehive is another.
"Brent and the GLA should have worked with residents first, rather than developing such detailed designs and then forcing residents to like them."
Victoria Road local Bill Davis said he objected to the environmental impact and loss of amenity on "what is already the most densely populated ward in the whole of Brent".
"As a local resident of many years' standing, I greatly value the 'space' that the current grassed area and mature trees provide," he said.
"I acknowledge there is a housing crisis in London but find it difficult to believe that no other sites are available in Brent for the proposed number of additional housing units to be built on."
Neighbour Rita Legro said it would "seriously damage social cohesion on the estate and in the general area".
Joanna Watson added: “The pandemic has shown us how important green space and the outdoors are for mental and physical health. Kilburn Square is not only a well-managed and friendly place to live, it also provides a green lung for the neighbourhood so close to the very polluted Kilburn High Road.
"The council should scale back the plans, so any new build works for everyone and the experience of living there for estate residents continues to be positive and happy.”
Cllr Eleanor Southwood, Brent Council’s lead member for housing and welfare reform, said the council is "open to reviewing the design of the development on Kilburn Square".
She said the current proposals are in "response to the chronic shortage of genuinely affordable housing" in Brent.
More than 1,700 families live in temporary accommodation and a further 240 families in priority need for a transfer because of issues such as overcrowding, she added.
“Whilst building council homes is a priority for us, so is ensuring that any new council development also works for people who already live in the area," she said.
"Covid restrictions have made it difficult to engage with residents living on Kilburn Square in the ways we’d have liked, which is why we have extended our engagement over the summer.
"We want to hear from more residents about their wants and needs for the future.
“We are open to reviewing the design of this development on Kilburn Square. I can reassure local people that no decisions have been made and encourage everyone to contribute their views and ideas.
“I look forward to further work with the local community as we refine these proposals and reiterate my commitment to developing a scheme that aims to work for everyone.”
To sign the petition visit: www.change.org/p/brent-council-chief-executive-save-kilburn-square-from-over-development
To learn more about the campaign visit https://save-our-square.org/
To have your say on Brent Council's consultation before July 23 visit https://www.brent.gov.uk/KilburnSquareEstate