Letter on Kilburn Square expansion

CGI image of how Kilburn Square might look

CGI image of how Kilburn Square might look - Credit: Brent Council

It's time to collaborate

Keith Anderson, chair, Kilburn Village Residents’ Association, writes:

Following last week’s article on the re-set of the Kilburn Square expansion, I’d like to update your readers.

In conceding that the scale of the original scheme was unfair to current and incoming residents, Cllr Southwood said Brent would be “revising some elements of the current design”. And the phrase “some elements” gave us cause for concern.

That concern is proving justified – on two counts: the limited scope of Brent’s initial reduction offer and the rushed process they are seeking to adopt for the promised collaboration with residents.

The initial offer is to cut the tower building down from 17 storeys to 5-7, in line with the other block planned around its base.

Protesters say save Kilburn Square from developments

Protestors in front of some of the "beautiful trees" along Victoria Road which the current Kilburn Square plans would remove - Credit: Bill Davis

That would meet one of two key changes our petition – chng.it/xwxLyYcDhP  – asks for; and it’s a prudent move – since there’s no guarantee the local plan inspector will approve a late attempt to designate Kilburn Square a tall building zone (TBZ). Without that it wouldn’t meet the mayor’s London Plan – and the decision may not be made until the New Year

Residents who dropped in at two hastily arranged on-site events (wrongly billed as design workshops, implying some group discussion and collaborative working) were shown that base case, plus four questionable variations – all subject to the TBZ uncertainty – and asked to choose a favourite.

But no option was yet presented to reduce the density further and to preserve the mature trees and green space, cherished by residents and neighbours alike, that would be removed by two satellite blocks on the corner of Victoria Road.

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Councils building “infills” on green space in existing estates is a policy being widely challenged across London; and it’s counter to Brent’s own policy on protecting green space.

So there’s a lot more talking to be done. But Cllr Southwood has told this paper she is committed to “developing a scheme that can work for everyone”. And we all put faith in the reassurance by housing director Hakeem Osinaike to the January 21 community and wellbeing scrutiny committee that Brent “would not want to force homes on anyone” so they had built only “with the support and encouragement of local residents and ward councillors”. 

That statement is framed on our walls.

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