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


HS2: Phase one of high-speed rail line set for go-ahead

(BBC) A controversial new high-speed rail line between London and Birmingham is expected to be given the go-ahead by the government later.

Transport Secretary Justine Greening is set to back the 100-mile (160km) link, which would be built by 2026 and is the first phase of High Speed Two (HS2).

The government says it is the only way to cope with overcrowding but opponents along the route are considering legal action which could delay the scheme.

The first phase will cost £17bn.

Read more...
 
New Yoga Loft in Queens Park

I visited the new Yoga Loft on Lonsdale Avenue on Sunday for an hour free trial. Really nice set up and they have a great offer of £30 for unlimited visits in the first month.

See more here

 
Zipcar- Brent partnership – 2011 progress

Message from Zipcar (formerly Streetcar) who have been serving the residents and businesses of Brent for 4 years.

In Brent, we now have over 1500 members using 90 cars throughout the Borough.

This means 1800 cars taken off the roads of Brent and an annual reduction in carbon emissions of approximately 2265 tonnes. 

 

We continue to drive our business towards profitability in a challenging environment (e.g. fuel prices, insurance premiums etc.). In 2012, we will require on-going strategic support from our Council partners (in relation to parking cost, in particular) if this path is to be maintained.  2011 saw a number of parking permit increases, which only serve to hinder our financial progress and, as a result, our ability to invest in growth in Brent to the extent we would like.

Read more...
 
Junction of Kilburn Lane, Harrow Road and Ladbroke Grove
Question No: 3481 / 2011
 
Navin Shah - When will the pedestrian phasing on the junction of Kilburn Lane, Harrow Road and Ladbroke Grove be installed?
 
Written response from the Mayor
 
Written answer provided on 22 December 2011:
 
This junction is not on the TLRN and Westminster City Council is leading the overall design of these improvements.
 
A meeting was held on the 17 October 2011 with representatives from TfL, the City of Westminster, London Borough of Brent, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and Glenda Jackson MP, to discuss a proposal to widen the pedestrian refuge islands in the centre of the junction and introduce a right turn indicative arrow for traffic travelling south on Harrow Road. At this meeting, TfL was informed by Westminster CC that it is not pursuing pedestrian phasing at this location but opting for the pedestrian improvements described above instead.
 
Subject to the submission of further information from the Westminster, it is proposed that the revised pedestrian islands will be installed on a trial basis in January 2012. If this trial is a success, this will be made permanent in October 2012 along with the introduction of the right turn indicative arrow.
 
 
Basement Developments

Subterranean development

Question No: 3950 / 2011

Navin Shah 

I have been contacted by a constituent in Queens Park regarding subterranean developments. Residents have a number of concerns about basement construction such as damage to other properties, the potential for improper construction of deeper foundations leading to possible distortion to the building above, a wave effect that could impact on neighbouring properties and possible flooding issues.

Local planning teams are limited in what they can do. The Party Wall Act is the only protection for residents in this situation, which affected residents would want, expanded. The idea would be for the owner of the property undergoing the development to give an insurance based bond to cover any future damage. Would you support this?

Written response from the Mayor

I agree that the planning system has limited control over basement construction if it is ‘permitted development’, though if it legally constitutes new development, strategic and local planning policies must be taken into account such as those on groundwater and, if the excavation extends under a garden, biodiversity. Subject to consultation responses, I will consider dealing with this issue in the forthcoming Housing Supplementary Planning Guidance.

 

I am advised that your proposed insurance bond may in fact duplicate a process that legally is already a civil matter. The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 provides a framework to enable neighbours who share a boundary to carry out certain building works (including excavation works within six metres of neighbouring buildings) and enables the appointment of an independent surveyor to:

-          -set out whether any protection measures are required to prevent damage

-          -provide a record of the condition of the neighbouring property before the work begins (so that any damage to the neighbouring land or buildings can be properly attributed and made good)

 

The Act also enables an amount of money to be made available to the neighbour for restorative works, where the developer fails to carry out the necessary works.  What works are necessary to make the neighbouring property good are normally based on the opinion of the independent surveyor.

 

Requiring a bond through the planning system would be duplicating this system, and the planning enforcement system is not well-suited to dealing with matters of this kind. 

 
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