Loss of family housing?

Large parts of Willesden Green consist of Victorian and Edwardian terrace houses. I am concerned that so many family size houses have been converted to flats or bedsits over the past ten years or so and reducing the stock of larger properties the borough so badly needs. Like other London boroughs, Brent has a very long list of families applying for affordable housing. Many are currently in overcrowded conditions and wait a long time for a suitable property to become available.

In some Willesden roads, nearly half of the houses appear to have been converted already and have changed the community of residents. I suspect that some developers focus on roads with houses of very similar dimensions and style so they can use the same plans for different planning applications.

It is therefore good to know that the planning service can sometimes refuse an application (using policy H17) that would result in the loss of “a small purpose-built family dwelling” failing to “aid in the retention of mixed and balanced communities through a variety of housing sizes.” I would welcome this policy guidance being used more regularly in Willesden.


Satellite dishes - No longer needed?

A resident has pointed out that there are satellite dishes all over Willesden and they do spoil the look of houses. Before 2004 planning permission was required generally, but national guidance changed the policy, so that permission only needed in conservation areas and for listed buildings. Suspect assumption was that the technology was changing and dishes would eventually be obsolete. Problem may be that they are not removed even when no use any more. The Borough is developing new policies and guidelines in the Local Development Framework that all authorities expected to produce. I am contacting the planning service to find discover current thinking on dishes and whether related policies or guidance are being developed.


Building on Willesden Reservoir?

Thames Water is considering putting in a planning application for 49 dwellings on the “brown field” part of the Reservoir.  Thames Water has delivered leaflets to households most likely to be affected by the development – Harlesden and Kings Roads.  I have met with residents to explain the planning process and how they might put their comments and objections when there is a formal planning application.