Olympics news

TfL is holding a series of Road Shows to advise residents about changes in travel arrangements and road closures in Brent during the games.  They will be in Willesden Sunday 1 July 11:00-17:00 Sainsbury's Willesden Green.

The Olympic Torch Relay will pass through Brent on 25th July. It will travel along Harrow Road, Wembley High Road, the Stadium, and up to Kingsbury via Brent Town Hall to leave the borough into Barnet at 12:15. 

There will be parking suspensions along the route and a rolling road closure.  Buses will be re-directed. The Brent Magazine has details of the route and recommended places to stand. After the relay, spectators will be encouraged to visit this event:


Brent Celebrates the Flame; 25 July, 12noon-7.00pm King Edward VII Park

A free event, open to everyone that aims to celebrate the Olympic torch relay passing through the borough.  This park event is expected to attract a family audience of about 4,000 people.

Residents are encouraged to bring picnics and blankets to enjoy a laid back afternoon event in the park, watching performances, taking part in workshops, or trying some of the diverse food that will be available to buy. There will also be a large screen showing coverage of the relay as it travels through Barnet, Enfield and Haringey.

Local school in Olympics role

The organisers involved with preparing for the Olympics has offered two schools in Brent the chance to be Flag Bearers and Player Escorts for the Olympic Football matches at Wembley. Both the flag bearers and player escorts will be responsible for leading the teams and match officials onto the pitch. The two schools are Furness Primary School and St Andrew & St Francis CE JM & I School. I am particularly pleased about St Andrew and St Francis School as I am chair of the governing body.


Chapter Road improvement

Chapter Road (outside number 244 to St Pauls Avenue junction) is due for carriageway resurfacing. It certainly needs it!  Work will commence 10 July and to be completed by 17 July 2012. More information from 020 8937 5117.


Commemorating Mrs Desai

Last Friday was delighted to attend the event to mark the completion of Brent Housing Trust’s (BHP) recent acquisition -  the flats development in Chapter Road beside Dollis Hill tube.  Was also the opportunity to view the newly named “Grunwick Close” and the commemorative plaque to the late Mrs Jayaben Desai who was instrumental in leading the dispute with the Grunwick company on the site in 1976. The predominately female employees protested about working conditions and the refusal of bosses to recognise their union status.  Mr Desai was invited to the event and was delighted that his late wife was remembered and I am grateful to BHP for including it at the development. The small plaque says:

Jayaben Desai
2nd April 1933 to 23rd December 2010
Leader of the
Grunwick workers strike

Abolition of the national council tax benefit

The Government is abolishing the national Council Tax Benefit scheme and councils are required to replace it with their own local schemes that are based on the needs of the people living in each borough.  The reform has meant the amount of money available to councils has been reduced by around 10%.

This is very crafty politically.  People would welcome savings on benefit payments and may think this a good idea from government. But the government requires local authorities to decide which vulnerable groups will benefit from the reduced support and will be blamed for the decisions.  The reduced funding means that Brent has to make some difficult decisions about who gets financial support and how much.  Pensioners should see no change but everyone else entitled to council tax benefit will potentially be affected. Brent residents are expected to be badly affected.

The proposals include all but the most vulnerable working age claimants paying a minimum council tax contribution; encouraging those in work by increasing the amount of earnings they can keep before reducing their benefit; reducing the amount of savings allowed when claiming support; and where there are other adults in a claimant’s household, they contribute more.
Consultation on how Brent responds to the changes will run from 11th June to 10th August 2013.

Police Station closing?

There was an announcement today that around nine police stations in London could be closed. This is not a new item as I first heard about it in 2008 when the Met Police had a review of assets.  I wrote then that the argument for closure has always been that the Willesden building is not fit for the purpose of modern policing and together with budget cuts, this is likely to remain the strongest argument against it staying open.  I also wrote that if there's a choice, I would rather see officer numbers maintained rather than unfit buildings as I don't think buildings are the main issue. The main issue should be the ease of access to the police at local sites and the service received.  There may be yet another "campaign" by opposition groups and the Lib Dems, but it is cuts forced on the police by the coalition government they support is responsible. A firm plan on which police stations are to close is expected by the autumn.