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Queensbury pub saved by Brent planners again as they face second public inquiry

PUBLISHED: 19:05 24 June 2019

The Queensbury Pub

The Queensbury Pub

Jonathan Goldberg

Plans to demolish a 19th century pub of "significant heritage" in Willesden Green and replace it with a more modern building and new homes have been rejected once again.

Brent Council's planning committee voted to keep The Queensbury, in Walm Lane, in its current state.

It came after significant public support to protect the site amid concerns over the proposed new design's scale and character.

Developers had hoped to rebuild a new pub on the site while offering community space and 48 new homes - 35 per cent of which were classed as "affordable" and 25 per cent were family-sized.

But opponents noted what they saw as the risk of a "Trojan horse" development, with the promise of a new pub and community amenities far from guaranteed.

"There is no public benefit, just harm," said Ian Elliott, speaking on behalf of the 'Save the Queensbury' campaign.

"This proposal misses targets on housing, and it gives no assurances on future community uses.

"It patently fails on conservation grounds. The current building has a place. Build around it, bring a sympathetic scheme forward, but don't demolish it."

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Luke Raistrick, from the Centro Planning Consultancy, said the proposed scheme was in keeping with the area's character due to a set back roof.

He added that there would be an increased community space and a private garden, which would offer greater protection to children.

There was also an agreement in place as part of the scheme that would allow the current pub managers to have first refusal on the new building.

This, Mr Raistrick explained, would be attractive since "lots of the appeal of The Queensbury is down to the management".

Several councillors not sitting on the committee criticised the plans, focusing again on the density of the housing development and "insufficient architectural merit".

There were also concerns about the new roof, which was described by Cllr Fleur Donnelly-Jackson as looking "cheap".

The majority of councillors on the committee agreed with those campaigning against the scheme.

They cited a lack of enhancement to the area, fewer benefits when set against what the site currently provides and concerns about not fulfilling promises as some of the key issues.

A five day public inquiry brought by developers starts on August 28.

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