Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Brent Council plan to meet shortage of primary school places

Brent Council has outlined proposals to meet an expected severe shortage of primary school places over the next four years.
A council report estimates that Brent could be short of 692 reception places by 2020, and suggests that around £52 million in total needs to be spent to meet demand up to 2014-15. The report recommends that the council agree to spend close to an extra £21m from next year on creating extra places. The council hopes to obtain the remaining £31m from central government. 
Due to factors including the rising population, Brent Council, like most authorities in London, is struggling to meet the rising demand for primary places. A shortfall of around 70,000 places from reception to year six is predicted across the capital over the next four years.
The council says it has already created 310 new reception places for the next academic year, having spent £15 million on the expansions of Newfield, Brentfield and Park Lane primaries and turning Preston Manor High into an ‘all-through' school, all to open in autumn, and £1.5m on high quality, temporary bulge classes at eight schools.
But demand is expected to continue rising to reach 4,224 reception places by 2020 - with the shortfall of 692 reception places even after the latest expansions being taken into account.
Councillor George Crane, Brent Council's Lead Member for Regeneration and Major Projects, said: "Given the increasing scale of the school-places shortfall, the physical constraints of many existing school sites and a lack of any confirmed government funding, the council and local schools are faced with a real challenge."

courtesy of PWL

Brent - Housing Stock Consultation ( ALMO)

Brent Council is to conduct a consultation on future arrangements for ownership, investment and management of its housing stock, but has decided to retain the ALMO.
In light of changes to the funding regime for council housing, an independent review was commissioned earlier this year by Brent in order to consider options for the future of its housing stock which is currently managed by Brent Housing Partnership (BHP) - the Council's Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO). 
At its July meeting, the Council's Executive agreed the authority should retain its housing stock and consult residents on a new 'optimised ALMO' model of housing management run by the ALMO. The new model would build on the strengths of Brent Housing Partnership's existing approach, and specifically the emphasis that BHP place on resident engagement.
In the meantime the council and BHP will be seeking further improvements and efficiencies to the housing management services, and will be working together over the coming months on three main areas:
  • To pull together a new long term management agreement between the council and BHP, setting clear service standards for the management of the housing stock.
  • To undertake a full efficiencies review within BHP to consider how to best optimise its services, and in particular to explore how back office functions can be shared with the council.
  • To undertake a full governance review of BHP.
Brent Council will start consulting residents in the next few months to get their views on the proposed future management arrangements. 
Councillor Janice Long, Lead Member for Housing said: "BHP has a long track record of working with our tenants and residents to deliver high quality housing management services.  We are determined to build on the strengths and successes of BHP to drive further service improvements for local people."
Kathy Ellison, Chair of BHP's board said: "We welcome the council's decision and are looking forward to working closely with the council and our residents to provide the best possible service."
A report on findings is expected to go to the Council's Executive in early 2012 regarding a final decision on the future role of BHP.

courtesy of pwl

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Questions to the Mayor: Planning in London and the Localism Act


(picture: Evening Standard)
Planning : Question No: 452 / 2011

Navin Shah (AM for Brent and Harrow):

"How do you see that the changes to the planning law due to the Localism Act 2011 will affect building in London?"

Written answer from the Mayor:
"Judgement on this should be reserved until the Bill has been enacted, as it may be amended during its passage through parliament. It is likely, however, that neighbourhood forums will be established in many parts of London, for the purpose of bringing forward proposals for growth through the medium of neighbourhood plans and development orders.

"These forums will have the benefit of local support following referendums, and are thus likely to lead to development more readily than under the current planning regime."

courtesy of Pinkhamway web

Monday, 15 August 2011

Farrells' futuristic high-speed rail super hub

Vision for west London’s Old Oak Common area

Terry Farrell & Partners has unveiled its futuristic vision for the transformation of Park Royal City in west London.
The area around Old Oak Common is earmarked to become Britain’s first “high-speed rail super hub”, together with 12,000 new homes and a waterside park.
Terry Farrell said: “High Speed Rail is not just a transportation strategy it’s a nationwide economic catalyst that requires creative place making.
“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity to reshape and unblock the development of a critical part of north-west London, and crucially to have a huge impact on the country as a whole.”
Farrells’ master plan was prepared as part of Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s submission to the Department for Transport, backing the government’s plans for a new high-speed rail line from Birmingham to London.
courtesy of  bdonline.co.uk

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Preston Road Parking

Sagar Shah has a lengthy posting on parking in Preston Road, which as he says is rather passionate.  He asks for a response, so here goes.

The first thing that strikes me, as I pointed out earlier, is that there seems to be an assumption that one area is being singled out.  This is actually the opposite of the fact.  The recent Highways decision is actually bringing the arrangements in Preston Road in line with other parts of the Borough.  Meters are being introduced as they exist elsewhere, and the same standard charge is applied.  My view is that treating Preston Road in the same way as other places is fair. 

My experience of going around various different parts of Brent is that there is a general perception that resources are skewed elsewhere.  People in the North frequently state that resources are sent disproportionately to the south.  People in the South often argue that resources are unfairly sent to the North. Sags argues that Preston Road should be treated as a special case, but I think that would only be justified if some special rationale can be shown.

He also argues that the shopkeepers are dependent on the free parking, and that without this they will go out of business.  I don't believe that is true, but it does not answer the point about fairness.  Effectively he is arguing for this road to get a special subsidy.  Why this road and not (say) Willesden, Chamberlayne Road, Harlesden or any other parade of shops?

The point, which is commonly made, that parking charges are there to maximise revenue ignores the fact that all such revenues have to be spent on transport expenditure.  In other words, motorists are contributing to the upkeep of the roads and pavements.  Since they use this transport network, that seems to me to be not unreasonable.

There is also a specific issue in the Preston Road area about the car park, which is widely regarded as underused.  Various charging regiemes have been attempted there, and yet people still complain that it is virtually empty.  I suspect that this is related to having free onstreet parking very close by.  Why pay when you don't have to? The introduction of meters will show if I am right.  It will also help to deal with the enforcement issues that Sags mentions.  As wardens will be enforcing the meters, they will also be available for other kinds of enforcement, something that has been noticeable in CPZ areas for many years.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Chalkhill children accuse Brent Council of playing them around

Families from Chalkhill Estate in ­Wembley claim the local authority made a promise to build a MUGA (multi use games area) in St David’s Close back in 2007.
But this week the council said there are no plans for the play area on the land where flats are being built.
Furious Kathleen Fraser-Jackson, Chalkhill Residents’ Association chairwoman, accused the council of going back on their word.

She said: “The children of Chalkhill have been lied to. I can’t actually believe it.

“We were told in 2007 that a MUGA would be built for the children of Chalkhill. There is nothing here for them to do here.”

Youngsters have emailed the council and are demanding councillors come clean about what happened to the planned MUGA.

Ms Fraser-Jackson, 55, who lives with two of her ten grandchildren in Wellspring Crescent, said: “The young people here are angry. What message does this send out to youngsters? That it is okay to go back on your word? That it is okay to lie? Everyone feels very let down. My grandchildren have never had the opportunity to play in a park. It is a disgrace. “Yet again, the children of Chalkhill have gone another summer without a playground.”

Residents say there is room for both flats and a MUGA on the site. They are also furious money has been spent on a water feature which they say is a waste of cash and of no use to the community.

A council spokesman said: “St David’s Close is within a half mile of an existing MUGA that is part of the Poplar Grove youth centre. Brent Council’s sports and youth services are discussing increased access at Poplar Grove. We do not have a MUGA planned in St David’s Close.”

with courtesy of W&B Times

Sunday, 7 August 2011

North London Light Railway - Brent Cross

A major focus for the group( Better Transport for London) has been a planned development at Brent Cross, and the group's idea for a new light railway line. The hope is that the North and West London Light Railway (previously called the Brent Cross Railway) could mirror the success of the Docklands Light Railway, as shown in this video.  A summary of the railway is available on Wikipedia. The group is a member of the Coalition for a Sustainable Brent Cross Cricklewood Development.
New developments, jobs and leisure facilies based around light railways can look like this:-

The western terminuses suggested for the light rail system could possibily be replaced by one at the planned "Old Oak Common Crossrail and High-Speed-Two station", just south of the existing Willesden Junction station

Bus service proposal: routes 206, 224 & PR2

The London Bus Network is kept under regular review. As part of this, TFL develop proposals for changes to services.

Why TFL is consulting

TFL is  working closely with Brent and Ealing Councils to improve bus routes around the Wembley and Park Royal areas.
The proposed changes would mean that the bus network in and around Wembley and Park Royal would be able to provide more capacity and also offer more frequent and simple services alongside new links.

TFL is  proposing;
  • Route 206 will be withdrawn from between Brent Park and St Raphael’s Estate and re-routed  to Wembley Park, The Paddocks
  • Route 224 will be rerouted at Harlesden Station running along Brentfield Road to terminate in St Raphael’s Estate.
  • Route PR2 is withdrawn

Please click here to view a detailed map of the proposals

The possible effects of the changes

Currently route PR2 operates Monday to Saturdays only with a bus every 30 minutes. The changes mean that there would be a daily service along all the roads currently served by route PR2. The frequency of buses would also increase at most times as routes 206 and 224  run every 15 minutes during the day Monday to Saturdays
Sunday service frequency

Routes 206 and 224 both operate on a Sunday. Route 206 operates every 20 minutes and route 224 every 30 minutes.

Earlier / Later buses

Routes 206 and 224 have earlier and later buses operating along the routes. Route 206 will run between about 0520 and midnight Monday to Saturday, and 0650 and midnight on Sundays. Route 224 will run between about 0500 and 0030 Monday to Saturday and about 0645 to 0010 on Sundays.  This will provide more travelling options for bus users who require the services at these times. The current times of route PR2 are between about 0600 and 2320 Monday to Saturday.

New Journey Options

New journey options are created to/from the Wembley Stadium and the relocated Brent civic centre, St Raphael’s and Brentfield Road.

Direct journeys no longer available

No replacement for route PR2 is proposed along Hillside or at Stonebridge Park however this area is served by high frequency route 18. Additionally, many users will be close to bus stops served by routes 206 and 224.
Routes 228 and 487 will continue to link the Central Middlesex Hospital area and Willesden Junction station, with nine buses every hour. (Eight buses per hour evenings and Sundays). Harlesden Station also provides interchange with rail services.

The new routeings

Route 206 operating between Kilburn Park and Wembley Park, The Paddocks

At Brent Park the route would run via the Tesco store in both directions and then on the roads currently used by route PR2 .

Please click here to view a detailed map of the proposals

Route 224 operating between Wembley Stadium Station and St Raphael’s Estate

From Brentfield Road towards St Raphael’s route 224 would run along Besant Way and then Pitfield Way to terminate. In the other direction it would run via the Tesco store Route 232 will continue to provide the link from Brent Park to St Raphael’s.

Please click here to view a detailed map of the proposals


The consultation

We are seeking the views of the local community, bus users, local council and local elected members. The consultation will run until 19 August 2011.
Depending on the views expressed during this exercise we are proposing to introduce the changes in October 2011.
Please have your say by completing the online form below. Please provide your contact details so we can let you know the outcome of the consultation and inform you of any updates to the scheme.

Give  Your Views

Related information


Related documents

courtesy of TFL

 Probable Result