James Denselow's Councillor Blog
Commentary on politics and local matters in Queens Park, Brent

War on Local Government?

Professor Steve Schifferes - City University

"Spending cuts for local authorities are particularly large, with a 17% cut in the first two years alone. But the government is increasing the 'freedom' of local authorities to manage their budgets any way they like by abolishing many ring-fenced spending categories. Ministers hope that the public will blame the councils, most of whom are not Conservative-controlled, rather than the central government, for the scale of the spending cuts to local services. At the same time they are urging local councils not to cut 'front-line services' but reduce back office bureaucracy by 'efficiency savings' - the perennial chant of all governments who want to avoid hard decisions about spending.

New Willesden Library & Cultural Centre

It was disappointing to see local MP Sarah Teather  “saddened” at the Council’s plans to regenerate Willesden High Road. The new Library and Cultural Centre will be a major Civic building in the southern part of Brent and a major boost to the regeneration of the area for business, shops and residents.

Both Willesden Bookshop and BIAS will be assisted by the Council to find alternative accommodation in the High Road, in one of the many empty shops. The Council has also approved a detailed interim delivery strategy for the Library, Museum and Archive during the rebuilding period.  The Customer contact point will be temporarily re located to the Job Centre in Harlesden a short bus ride away. Adequate study space is being planned at a number of locations in the vicinity. Local Liberal democrat Councillors are very supportive of the plans and see the potential long term benefits for the area.


What is of more interest is the deafening silence from Sarah Teather  at the devastating news that London Mayor Boris Johnson has rejected Brent’s bid for 1.6 million pounds to continue the regeneration work in Willesden. Last year the Council implemented a very successful project “New Windows on Willesden”. The rejected Brent bid was for this project to continue during 2012. I hope the Brent Central MP will join me and Navin Shah Brent London Assembly member in asking Boris Johnson to reconsider Brent’s bid.

Yours sincerely,


Cllr George Crane

Lead Member for Regeneration and Major Projects

Willesden Green Library Centre

(Brent Council) On the 15 February 2011 Brent Councils Executive agreed in principle to the redevelopment of Willesden Green Library Centre.

As part of the council's commitment to provide a cultural and service delivery hub in the south of the borough and libraries that are fit for the twenty-first century, officers have been given the go ahead to investigate whether building homes on part of the site could fund the cost of a new multi-use centre.

The latest update - January 2012

We are pleased to announce that plans to redevelop Willesden Green Library Centre (WGLC,) have been agreed following a decision made by the council's Executive (16 Jan 2012) to enter into a development agreement with Galliford Try Plc.

The decision - unanimously agreed by the board - marks a new chapter for the future of libraries and the delivery of council services in Brent. The new 'Willesden Green Cultural Centre', as it will be known, is expected to open its doors in the spring of 2014, providing residents with a state of the art library and cultural centre.

Officers have spent the last 12 months successfully firming up the proposal ensuring the project is feasible.


As well as a brand new library with access to millions of books and council services, residents can look forward to a cultural centre that will include a:

  • children's library 
  • customer contact centre
  • museum
  • special exhibition gallery
  • education room
  • community gallery
  • computers, free wireless broadband and study space
  • archive store
  • café
  • three creative cluster spaces which will be designed to accommodate a host of artist and cultural programmes
  • office space.

Lib Dems go Awol

Less than two thirds of the Liberal Democrat Group attended the Council meeting on Monday 23 January 2012. By the end of the meeting only five Liberal Democrat councillors were still in attendance.

Historically the Liberal Democrats have always had a liberal approach to attending meetings with the worst attendance of any of the three parties represented in the Council Chamber, especially when they are in opposition.

However, on this occasion their absence follows their crushing defeat in the Wembley Central ward by-election.

The Labour Leader of the Council, Councillor Ann M John, OBE lambasted the Liberal Democrats for their absence.

Councillor John said:

”Every councillor receives a basic allowance of £7,974 per annum and as a basic minimum they are expected to attend full council meetings. How can they expect to represent their constituents if they are not here?”

Message from Queens Park Manager


I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year.

Queen’s Park Staff and The City of London received some fantastic news recently.  Planning permission has been given by Brent Council for the play area in Queen’s Park. Thank you all for your continued support with this project.

Now the hard part. We need to start raising some funds to fund the development of the play area.  The Queen’s Park Area Residents Association(QPARA), along with a local resident have already made a donation towards phase one of the project and the City of London will also part fund phase one.

With the support of the QPARA Park Liaison group we would like you to start thinking about some fundraising ideas and initiatives.  We would also like to set up a small fundraising working group, maybe you have some experience in fundraising or would like to give some time to support our fundraising efforts.  If you are interested or have a great fundraising idea, please contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .   I’m not looking to take up to much of peoples valuable time but your support is needed. You can contact me if you would like to find out further information on the play area, the park, get involved with volunteering as part of this project or you have any further comments.

Further information on the Queen's Park Residents Association can be found at www.qpark.org.uk

Richard Gentry

Hampstead Heath Constabulary and Queen's Park Manager

North London Open Spaces


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