Brent Council rejects latest Willesden Green Garage proposals

Plans to add more flats to a proposed development at the site of a disused MOT garage were rejected by councillors.

Brent Council’s planning committee yesterday (Wednesday, April 7) refused an application for 16 extra homes and an additional storey at Willesden Green Garage, in St Paul’s Avenue.

It suggested the new plans “fall short on so many levels”, with concerns around limited amenity space and the level of affordable housing.

A scheme seeking to provide 70 flats in a building up to seven storeys was approved on appeal in December 2019 after councillors had initially rejected it on similar grounds to those given yesterday.

Plans to add a further six homes were then approved by the council on March 29 on the basis it would not cause any further damage when compared with the already secured permission – according to a planning officers’ report this decision remains “under consideration”.

However, the majority of councillors – six out of eight – felt they could not support this latest application since the impact from these latest changes would be too great.

They argued the balance was “not quite right”, highlighting the increased loss of amenity space for residents and the fact just 11 homes would be offered at affordable rent levels.

There were also some concerns around the impact on the nearby Grade II-listed building Kingsley Court and suggestions the development could be deemed an “over intensification” of the site.

It came despite representations from Micala Fox, chairman of Willesden Green Residents’ Association, who said the development would help “bring a derelict brownfield site into positive use which will benefit Willesden Green’s growing community”.

She suggested this final design would fit with the character of the area and will have a “negligible impact” on local infrastructure.

“The objections you’ve heard represent an array of concerns but, as you are aware, applications rarely hear from supporters,” she added.

“There are many people keen to see this troubled spot regenerated [and] in light of the housing crisis, permitting this site to remain underutilised is going to punish people in desperate need of accommodation.”

Furthermore, council officers recommended the application be approved on the basis there would not be any additional harm to the surrounding area from the changes.

Planning committee chairman Cllr Matt Kelcher (Lab, Kensal Green) and Cllr Saqib Butt (Lab, Sudbury) agreed with these views but were ultimately outvoted by their fellow members.

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