I take a particular interest in planning applications for conversions or new build in the ward. Some developers are very greedy and try to pack too much in the space available. When I send objections, they usually cover concerns about over-development or poor quality accommodation or amenity for potential occupiers. Some applicants go on to appeal to the independent inspectorate and are often refused at that level. Have just heard that one of my objections went as far as the Magistrates Court where an owner was found guilty of breaching an enforcement notice which required him to remove a very large extension. He was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay the Council’s prosecution costs of £2,663.60. It's good to see the borough's planners get support from the independent inspectorate and the courts.
The Learie Constantine play area looks finished at last. Looking forward to an official opening soon. The funding for the work came from the Labour Government's Play Builder scheme. Brent originally got around £1m to improve a number of its open spaces in but most of the funding was stopped by the new Coalition Government. This play space just made it as work was well advanced when the cut came.
I have been involved in supporting the fight to retain the Burnley Practice, a GP practice now at the Willesden Centre for Health and Care. Brent NHS was proposing to shut the practice and to disperse patients to other GPs. Having settled into the facilities at the Willesden Centre, patients now find their surgery is at risk yet again, in spite of assurances over the years to resolve concerns. I worked with other councillors in leading objections and attending meetings with Primary Care Trust staff and patients.
It is really important for councillors to take up issues like this, especially to resolve a problem in an area where there are fewer GP’s per 100,000 population than other areas of the borough. The issue was also raised at the council’s Health Partnerships Overview and Scrutiny Committee which recommended as follows:
“The Health Partnerships Overview and Scrutiny Committee recommends that NHS Brent carries out an open tender process for the Burnley Practice registered patients service. This is to ensure that the service continues to be delivered from Willesden Centre for Health and Care and to avoid dispersal of existing patients in an area which already has fewer GPs per head of population than other areas of Brent.”
As a result of the objections and meetings, a further look at options for the Burnley Practice and further meetings are expected before the final decision is made next month.