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Kilburn family who claim they have been made homeless by Brent Council protest at meeting

PUBLISHED: 12:41 11 September 2012

Isabel Counihan-Sanchez with Sarah, 15, and Anthony Juan, 14.

Isabel Counihan-Sanchez with Sarah, 15, and Anthony Juan, 14.

Jonathan Goldberg

It was the first council meeting since the departure of chief executive Gareth Daniel

The first meeting of Brent Council since the departure of its chief executive, Gareth Daniel, descended into chaos last night after a family of protestors forced the meeting to be moved into the town hall’s marriage chamber.

Moments before the meeting was due to take place, the Counihan-Sanchez family, joined by a small band of supporters, waved placards claiming Brent Council had made them homeless.

The family of seven had been living in a property provided for them by the council in Carlton Vale, South Kilburn, until 2007 when they returned to Ireland for a year to take care of their grandfather.

Following his death, he left the family some land yet despite the family claiming it is worthless, the council stripped them of benefits and issued a backdated bill of £46,000.

The family has appealed against the local authority’s assessment which will be heard at a tribunal hearing.

There was much speculation prior to the meeting as to whether Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, would mention the much publicised departure of Gareth Daniel, the borough’s chief executive of 14 years.

Last week the Times exclusively revealed that Cllr Butt could no longer work with Mr Daniel.

Mr Daniel subsequently announced his departure on Friday, September 7, and will leave before the end of the month.

However, despite an attempt by Liberal Democrat chief whip Cllr Jack Beck to pass a motion calling for a debate on the issue, the issue was not discussed.

However, Cllr Michael Adeyeye, mayor of Brent, paid tribute to Mr Daniel for his ‘fantastic work’.

But Cllr Paul Lorber, leader of the Liberal Democrat group slammed the apparent relationship between councillors and senior officers accusing Cllr James Powney (Lab), lead member for environment and neighbourhoods, of having no faith in leader Cllr Butt.

Last week the Times also revealed that a senior Labour councillor had put down a failed motion at a Labour group meeting expressing full support to Brent’s senior officers prior to Mr Daniel’s departure.

Cllr Lorber said: “I have never heard of a councillor putting his faith in senior officers before in what is a clear attempt to undermine his current leader.”

Responding, Cllr Powney said he had “full confidence” in his leader who had done a “fantastic job” since taking over in May and also expressed his support for the Executive members.

Cllr Butt added: “I have full confidence in all my executive members who work tirelessly for the people of Brent all year round.”


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