Wednesday 26 April 2017

Evening Standard: "Living in Harlesden: the lowdown"

Link to web site

"With long-established Irish and Caribbean communities and newer arrivals from Brazil, Portugal and Somalia, the north-west London suburb of Harlesden is one of the most diverse in London.

"A great fan of this cultural melting pot is broadcaster Louis Theroux, who settled in Harlesden 15 years ago and likes to bang the drum for his neighbourhood at every opportunity, whether celebrating improvements to the town centre or opening a new clinic at The Mayhew Animal Home in Trenmar Gardens.

"... South of Harlesden town centre, a major new transport hub will open at the point where HS2 and Crossrail meet, making it one of London’s best-connected new neighbourhoods with as many as 25,500 new homes and 65,000 new jobs planned over the next 20 to 30 years."

Thursday 9 February 2017

Until 21 Apr 2017: TfL"Bakerloo line extension - Have your say"

"We are proposing to extend the Bakerloo line beyond Elephant & Castle to Lewisham, serving Old Kent Road and New Cross Gate, and would like to hear your views.

"The extension will improve connectivity, increase the capacity and resilience of the transport network and reduce journey times between key destinations. This will help London to grow by supporting new homes and jobs.

"In autumn 2014 we asked for views on an extension of the Bakerloo line. Following assessment of the consulted route options alongside those suggested by consultees, we have concluded that an extension to Lewisham via Old Kent Road and New Cross Gate is the best option for an initial Bakerloo line extension. Progressing with these proposals is a commitment made by the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, and we have therefore allocated funds for its development in the TfL business plan. We have a lot of further work to do to progress these proposals and will consult further as our plans develop. The Mayor has committed to bring the completion date forward from 2030 to 2028/29.

"Our application for planning permission to construct and operate the extension will be through a Transport and Works Act Order. This is subject to rigorous conditions and may result in a public inquiry at which further representations can be made."

Elephant & Castle

Lewisham choices

Thursday 24 November 2016

Brent & Kilburn Times: "Brent Council bans takeaway shops and shisha bars from opening close to schools and caps the number of betting shops in the borough"

Link to web site

"Brent Council has introduced a cap on the number of betting shops, payday day loan stores, pawnbrokers and takeaways that can be opened in town centres in the borough.

"The restrictions have been rolled out as part of a new blueprint for the borough which will also protect pubs and bar new takeaways and shisha cafes from opening close to schools.

"The borough's housing crisis is also being addressed with the introduction of a new policy which insists on half of new homes on major developments being affordable.

"The 74-page blueprint called the Development Management Plan (DMP) also aims to improve resident's health and well-being, make the borough a cleaner place and tackle issues such as child obesity in Brent."

Thursday 3 November 2016

The Harlesden Hub

"The Harlesden Hub is a project aimed at bringing together local people and organisations to provide support and advice and make connections. The Hub is open for two weeks in locations in the centre of Harlesden and hosts a range of activities to encourage better connections, new relationships and sharing of information."

Click on the image above to link to the latest schedule of events.

Brent & Kilburn Times: "Mayor of London backs new city in Harlesden and Park Royal plans, but calls them 'a mess'"

Link to web site
('Old Oak Park' is not the whole site)

"Sadiq Khan has criticized Boris Johnson following a review into the £10 billion regeneration of Old Oak Common amid concerns over the cost and whether it offers value for money to Londoners.

"... As part of the plans, Mr Johnson set up a new body, known as the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), to lead the transformation which was approved by the government last year.

Mr Khan slammed Mr Johnson saying he 'rushed headlong' into an agreement with the government to transfer land at Old Oak as it was made on unfavourable terms compared to other major regeneration schemes in the country.

Thursday 13 October 2016

31 Oct to 14 Nov: LB of Brent: "Harlesden Community Hub"

"We are planning to set up a pop-up Community Hub in Harlesden for two weeks from 31 October to 14 November 2016.

The Community Hub will help the council trial some ideas for new ways of working with partners and the community.

How it came about
The Community Hub was one of the key ideas thought up by residents and partners at the outcome based review (OBR) visioning event in July. The visioning event brought together people from across the borough, with the aim of helping the council generate innovative ideas for delivering a better service to its residents.
Who can get involved
Absolutely anyone can get involved with the Community Hub. In fact, we’re looking for local volunteers to help run activities. If you would like to get involved, please contact

There are three outcome based reviews (OBRs) which the council is conducting to improve the way in which it delivers services to its residents. The three OBRs are focused on:
  • Housing and vulnerable people
  • Employment and welfare reform
  • Regeneration (physical, environmental and social).
The initial stage of the OBRs comprised primarily of community research, focus groups and interviews, designed to get a detailed sense of what matters most to residents in their lives. This research was then used to inform the visioning event, which brought together stakeholders from across the borough to generate innovative new ideas about how to deliver a better service to residents.

The Community Hub is the exciting next phase, where we put some of the thinking from the visioning event into practice."

Thursday 22 September 2016

Brent & Kilburn Times: "Jubilee Clock to be removed from Harlesden for up to six weeks"

Link to web site

"The iconic Jubilee Clock in Harlesden will be removed from the town centre so it can undergo vital repairs.

"The timepiece, which dates back to 1887, was damaged after a bus crashed into a shop in May.

Wednesday 4 May 2016

Groundwork London: "Mayor of London Pocket Parks"

July 2015
"Over the past year the Mayor, Boris Johnson, has been calling on volunteers and community groups to apply for grants to help transform more of London’s unloved spaces into 'Pocket Parks' for local neighbourhoods to enjoy. 100 spaces have now been transformed with 42 of these being developed by constituted community groups as part of the Transform Pocket Parks initiative, led by Groundwork London."

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Allotment guidance for community growers

23 March 2016:

"New guidance aimed at sweeping away confusion around allotment law and helping get more communities growing their own food, has been published by the 'Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens' and the 'Community Land Advisory Service'.

The Allotment Law & Community Growing Factsheet, endorsed by the Government’s Department for Communities and Local Government, demystifies where allotment law applies to community growers and when sites become designated as statutory allotments.

There has been a surge over recent years in local people getting together to set up a community garden and grow produce – but many have been put off by laws governing allotment sites.

The new publication provides general information on various legal issues concerning allotments, current at the time of publication. It is aimed primarily at anyone that is thinking of setting up a new allotment or community garden site, or is concerned about how allotments law could affect their site.

Landowners wanting to put land into productive use by creating private allotments or giving their land over to a community gardening group will find it useful too.

FCFCG Chief Executive Jeremy Iles said:
"We know that in the early stages of a community group’s development there are a lot of things that seem daunting and can easily dent confidence and progress. One of this is whether allotment law applies to a site. It can be confusing to people not familiar with property law.

But landowners too may find it mystifying for local authorities too. In particular, even if they would like to set up new sites, there can sometimes be some reluctance in case they can't then dispose of them easily."
 The document is below, and also available to download from the 'Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens' website, via:

The contents of the new publication do not constitute legal advice, are not intended as a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied on as such. FCFG recommends that individuals or groups should seek legal advice in relation to their individual circumstances. Allotment law varies across UK countries, particularly Scotland. This fact sheet is therefore primarily relevant in England and Wales and while some of the general principles are applicable in Scotland, it would be best to check with SAGS in Scotland on any technical or legal matters, via

Saturday 19 March 2016

Next Harlesden Town Team Meeting

Monday 9th May 2016

Meetings are held at Salvation Army Hall,
Manor Park Road, Harlesden NW10 4JJ 

6.30 onwards: Networking with drinks and snacks
7.00: Meeting

Later meetings:
  • tba.
For more information about the work of the Harlesden Town Team, please consult

Harlesden Town Team
Mission Statement
"To improve the image and perception of Harlesden and make it a safer, healthier and more enjoyable place for its community to live;
"To enhance the quality, accessibility and positive use of the public spaces and places, and create greater opportunities for cultural and communal events, promoting and celebrating the Town’s history and it’s modern strengths and particular character;
"By working together towards common goals, to build a strong sense of community, and a powerfully vibrant, rich, Harlesden identity - unified yet recognising diversity." 

"I declare Station Road open"

Friday 18 March 2016

BBC: "Arriva wins £1.5bn London Overground contract"

Link to web site

"Arriva Rail London has won a £1.5bn contract to operate the London Overground line, Transport for London (TfL) has announced.

"The firm, which is owned by German rail group Deutsche Bahn, will operate the line for the next seven-and-a-half years, with an option to extend the contract for a further two years.

"Arriva will take over operation of the rail network in November. It has promised to modernise stations and provide more frequent services."

Monday 16 November 2015

Harlesden Neighbourhood Plan


Harlesden Neighbourhood Forum Meeting
4 November 2015
During the last HNF meeting members were asked to discuss a range questions on five key topics prepared by Ken Hullock (planning adviser to the Forum), to help brainstorm ideas on key issues that are important to a neighbourhood plan for Harlesden. Participants were given 10 minutes to discuss each of the topics and write their ideas and concerns on flip chart paper provided. Below is an overview of some of the main concerns that participants addressed for each topic.

Local Economy
1. Should all existing employment sites, i.e. business premises, be protected or can some outside of the town centre be redeveloped for new housing (with businesses being relocated if necessary).

2. Are there too many betting shops / amusement centres / takeaways and, if so, how can their numbers be restricted.

3. Should Harlesden town centre be expanded south along Station Road to link up with Willesden Junction station and new commercial development associated with the regeneration of Old Oak?

·        Participants agreed that local culture is important to maintain

·        Participants felt that more retail space could be used

·        Participants felt that there are too many betting shops and fast food restaurants on the High Street

·        Residents were curious as to ways they might be able to limit the number of betting shops and fast food restaurants, perhaps by restricting their distance from schools.

·        HNPF could appoint someone to monitor new planning applications

·        New housing developments should also bring employment opportunities

·        More variety in retail options on High Street.
1. Should those travelling to Harlesden by car be better catered for, e.g. more parking?

2. Should there be more restrictions on the use of the car (e.g. less parking) and a focus on walking, cycling & public transport? If so what improvements can be made?

3. Does Harlesden need a by-pass, either now or in the future?

·        Participants did not believe the use of cars should be encouraged

·        Too many trucks and traffic passing through the High Street

·        Tesco car park is very insufficient and a major concern

·        More parking is needed

·        Bypass was looked upon favourably but with some reservations
Open Spaces and environment
1. How can the provision of parks and open spaces be improved for Harlesden residents? Is existing children’s play provision good enough or should it be improved and, if so, how?

2. Should more heritage assets be protected, e.g. more buildings listed, even if this means fewer opportunities to redevelop for much needed housing, etc.?

3. Are tall buildings (over 8 stories) acceptable in Harlesden? If so where are they acceptable and, if not, how are the much needed new homes going to be delivered?

·        There is a need to raise awareness of local heritage sites

·        Overall participants wanted to limit tall buildings to the area towards Willesden Junction

·        There was a desire to raise awareness of where local spaces are to increase use

·        There could be more communal space for teenagers like a skate park

·        More trees on the streets are wanted.
Community Facilities
1. Are there enough premises available for the community to use for meetings, events, etc.? If not, how can these be provided and where?

2. Are there enough built sport and leisure facilities available to Harlesden residents? If not what would you like to see provided?

3. Should pubs be protected from development as community assets?

·        Many were concerned with a lack of secular gathering space, as there seemed to be few options other than pubs or spaces with religious affiliations

·        There was support for protecting pubs within the community as long as they could be considered a community asset

·        There were no strong feelings about a lack of built sports facilities

·        People agreed that there could be an opportunity to provide community space with major development but they did not want big sites.
1. Given the need for new housing in Harlesden, what type of housing should be prioritised? Affordable rental property, e.g. social housing or homes for first time buyers?

2. Should new homes provided be exclusively flats or should some family homes with gardens be provided, even if this means building at lower densities and fewer homes being built?

3. Should new student housing or hostel accommodation be allowed in Harlesden?

·        Some participants thought that to afford a one bed flat at £280k a household would need to have an income of £25k, and was surprised to find that an income of £70k would be closer the mark

·        Overcrowding and difficulty with landlords is a problem

·        Similarly, one thought that shared ownership represents good value for money and affordability which is, depending on the specific scheme, far from clear

·        For type of property, people were concerned that the mere fact of building flats would present a high risk of ASB

·        Some participants were mindful of the need to retain density of population and to provide affordable housing for local people, but felt that these homes should be family homes with gardens. Given the amount of land likely to be available within the neighbourhood planning area (NPA), these are incompatible.

Thursday 8 October 2015

12-16 Oct: Local Democracy Week

"Local Democracy Week runs from 12 to 16 October and gives local people new opportunities to be listened to and influence our decisions.

Residents are being encouraged to submit questions or book an early place for one of the highlights of the week, Question Time Brent, which takes place on Tuesday 13 October at Brent Civic Centre. This meeting will be streamed live on the night.
Question Time Brent

The theme for this debate will be: 'Living together in multicultural societies: respect, dialogue, interaction'.

You can submit questions now via Twitter using the hashtag #QuestionTimeBrent or book a free ticket online (places are limited, so book early). Alternatively contact Chris Young on 020 8937 4349 or email to book tickets and/or submit questions.

On Wednesday 14 October, residents can join councillors for tea and a chat on the sofa in the Brent Civic Centre foyer, from 8am to 4pm. No need to book, just turn up.

"Local Democracy Week is an annual, Europe wide event which 'promotes and fosters democratic participation at a local level through public initiatives which involve citizens'.

"Find out more about Local Democracy Week on the Council of Europe website.

"Feedback from discussions during Local Democracy Week will be considered by councillors and so help shape the future of the borough."

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Evening Standard: "This is what Wembley Park could look like in two years"

Link to web site

"Wembley stadium could soon be surrounded by new high-rise office blocks under a new development being launched by developer Quintain.

"The company has released 750,000 square feet of land around Wembley Park, which it hopes will attract new tenants ranging from large corporates to fast-growing tech firms.

"Quintain has partnered with real estate firms Colliers International and Cushman & Wakefield on the office scheme, which has outline planning permission for buildings on the site."

Tuesday 22 September 2015

London Overground: Answers from the Mayor

London Overground (1)
Navin Shah (16-Sept-2015):
Following your previous answers, can you now give a start date for four trains-per-hour on the Euston to Watford Junction line?
Will late evenings become three trains-per-hour at the same time? Will Sunday late evenings have the same timetable as other days of the week?
The Mayor (16-Sept-2015):
Depending on an agreement being reached with Network Rail to allocate more train paths to London Overground, TfL will be able to run four trains-per-hour from 2018 when it receives delivery of trains, which will boost the existing fleet. This can include Sunday services if there is sufficient demand.
TfL is currently planning to increase the number of trains after 22.00 on this route to three trains per hour in the December 2017 timetable.

London Overground (2)
Navin Shah (16-Sept-2015):
What is the theoretical maximum number of London Overground trains per hour that could operate on the Willesden Junction to Gospel Oak section of the North London Line?
What enhancements to the infrastructure would be needed to reach that figure?
The Mayor (16-Sept-2015):
Under current Network Rail regulations, it is possible to achieve 13 trains per hour, if all available train paths were made available to passenger trains. In reality the most train paths that could be made available to TfL would allow approximately 10 trains per hour.
In order to increase the frequency on this route further it would need to be re-signalled as well as having improvements made to junctions, power supply and turnback facilities at the end of the route.

London Overground (3)
Navin Shah (16-Sept-2015):
Since your new London Overground trains in North-East London will have some transverse seating as on the Metropolitan Line, why will you not introduce the same on your new Euston to Watford Junction trains?
The Mayor (16-Sept-2015):
Longitudinal seating provides greater overall capacity than a transverse seating layout. Some transverse seating will be included on the West Anglia routes as average passenger journey times are longer than elsewhere on the London Overground network.
Average journey times on the Watford Junction to Euston route are somewhat shorter and there are some heavily loaded sections, particularly between Willesden Junction and Queens Park. This means that the additional capacity provided by longitudinal seating is required.

In addition, trains on the Watford Junction to Euston route are drawn from a pool of trains, based locally at Willesden depot, that will also serve the Gospel Oak-Barking route. This sharing of trains across more than one route reduces costs, increases the availability of trains and makes the service more reliable.

Thursday 17 September 2015

Transport for London's 2014 proposals for improving Willesden Junction station (kicked into the long grass)

Willesden Junction is a complex station and its footprint straddles the West Coast Main Line, the North London Line and the Watford DC Lines. There are no longer any platforms provided on the main lines, but the DC lines and the North London Line are both served.

The Low Level Station comprises an island platform with a central bay. The platform buildings are of masonry construction and the platforms are linked to the rest of the station by a footbridge and lifts. Alteration works are currently under way on the low level station in order to prepare it for the operation of five car trains. The station booking hall is located to the south of the platforms and is modern, having been completed only within the last five years. It is fitted with a standard gate line and LOROL type ticket machines; although a manned ticket office is also provided. The station staff reports that the booking hall is subject to congestion in the peak hours and a wider gate line system is required.

The High Level station is situated on a sharply curve where the North London Line is elevated on a steel viaduct as it crosses the WCML, and is located on top of the northern abutment of the bridge. The line is of twin track, but there is considerable separation between the two tracks and the station has an island platform configuration. The main structures date to a rebuilding in 1956 and the station building is a concrete framed structure incorporating staff rooms and subway links to the booking hall. The facilities are basic and the public areas are sparsely furnished. The staff facilities include a train crew signing on point which must be retained at the site.

The high level station is connected to the Booking Hall by a ramp walkway. This is open to the elements, having no canopy or side screens.

(Click to enlarge)

It is proposed that the reconstruction of the High Level Station should include the following works:
  • The 1956 concrete structure should be completely demolished and should be replaced by a modern steel framed building with extensive glazing. The accommodation must include a passenger waiting room, coffee stall or buffet, staff signing on point and platform staff accommodation. There should also be a covered lobby area containing the stairs and lifts linking to the low level station. Platform canopies should be provided, covering the same basic area as the current arrangement. The waiting room should be provided with a modern Passenger Information Display The ramp linking the high to low levels should be retained, but should be fitted with a canopy roof and glass side screens. The interior should be fitted with lighting to a modern standard
  • The existing ticket office should be retained, but should be lengthened at its western end to permit the provision of a longer gate line with at least two more gates. In order to create enough space for this extension, it will be necessary to carry out works on the street frontage to extend the existing parking bays and to relocate the bicycle racks. The opportunity might be taken to place the bicycle racks inside a locking compound in order to increase their security
  • The ticket office at the Harrow Road entrance should be removed and replaced by an extended gate line supported by automated ticketing facilities.
An initial cost study would suggest that this station can be rebuilt for a sum of approximately £3.9m.

If only limited resources are available for the rebuilding of this station, a reduced project might be attempted. The following economies might be considered:
  • Remove the signing on point from the station, and provide the train crews with a dedicated building, probably a prefabricated structure of standardised type
  • Retain the shell of the high level station, but re-clad it using modern materials and completely redesign its interior to create a more spacious waiting room and a small buffet
  • Consider retaining the existing booking hall and gate lines at the low level station and at Harrow Road, thereby avoiding the building extension and associated highway alterations.
The reduced scheme might be delivered for a sum of approximately £2.4m.

The promised videos...

Cycling on Western Avenue

North Circular Road incident

Stonebridge rail workers

ROAD SAFETY in West London