Local Liberal Democrat councillors have reacted with dismay to the prospect of yet another betting shop opening in Wembley High Road.
We don’t need yet another betting shop in Wembley says Councillor Paul Lorber
This new betting shop, at 458 High Road (formerly Gamestation, then a clothing shop) is set to be operated by Betfred. It will bring the number of betting shops along Harrow Road and the High Road to around a dozen, with yet more in Ealing Road and other nearby streets.
Sudbury councillor and Liberal Democrat Group Leader Paul Lorber said:
No-one locally will benefit from the opening of yet another betting shop in Wembley. It will suck money out of the area and brings little employment in return. It is more urgent than ever that both the council and the government take action to stop our High Streets being dominated by these parasitic businesses.
The Liberal Democrats put a motion to Brent Council setting out the need for action in July 2011. We received support from all parties so I am sad that the council’s portfolio holder seems to have done so little since.
Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the Labour government relaxed restrictions on gambling when it was in power and local Labour councillors wanted to encourage gambling at a supercasino in Wembley.
The motion called on Brent Council to:
- Work with the government on changes to planning rules to deliver more effective control of betting shops and similar uses [the government was carrying out a consultation at the time]
- Use existing rules where possible to halt the massive increase in betting shops
- Lobby government and local MPs to reform Labour’s 2005 Gambling Act which relaxed controls over gambling and made effective control of betting shops difficult.
Councillor Sami Hashmi
Brent’s only rugby club trains in near-darkness on weekday evenings because it has taken Brent Council over three years to turn on new floodlights in Gladstone Park.
The council was granted planning permission for new floodlights at Gladstone Park in August 2009 and they were erected soon afterwards. It took the council two years to place an order to connect the lights to the electricity supply. The order was eventually placed in February 2012. The lights were then due to be ready in time for the start of winter training in September 2012 but the council missed its deadline again.
Eleven months on the rugby club is into its second winter of training in near-darkness. Council officers recently met the company due to install the lights but are still unable to give a date for the works.
Kilburn Cosmos Rugby Club and its 200 members are deeply frustrated that they have paid to use a floodlight training area for evening training but Brent Council has not delivered its side of the bargain.
Mapesbury Liberal Democrat councillor Sami Hashmi, who was approached by a rugby club member for help, is demanding that Brent Council sorts itself out and puts the floodlights into use.
Cllr Hashmi said:
Kilburn Cosmos Rugby Club does great work with local young people and other residents. They have endured delay after delay and been badly let down by the council. It has been a real struggle to get sensible answers about the reasons for the delay.
The council must now commit to a definite date when the lights will be turned on. I also think the club is entitled to a refund for the service it has paid for but not received. It’s a terrible waste of money that the lights have been in place for so long but not used.
The lack of floodlights has also affected other clubs wishing to train in the winter evenings, including Luke’s Lions football club, named in memory of local resident Luke Fitzpatrick who was shockingly murdered in Dollis Hill in May 2012. Liberal Democrat councillor Alison Hopkins, who represents Dollis Hill and has worked with members of the Luke’s Lions club said:
Sport is a constructive way for young people to spend their time. It’s a crying shame that the floodlights have been unavailable for so long.
During questions to Executive members at Monday’s council meeting Cllr Ann Hunter challenged Brent Council to end the delay and sort the problem out.
Members of Campbell Gordon Way Residents Association are celebrating following their victory in the neighbourhood category of the Brent in Bloom 2012 competition.
Cllr Alison Hopkins (second left) with Bernie Fitzpatrick and members of Campbell Gordon Way Residents Association with their award at Greenhouse Garden Centre in Birchen Grove.
The neighbourhood category is for small, resident-led groups which are just starting to green their local areas by improving streets, gardens and open spaces.
The group was helped on its way by a £500 grant from the Dollis Hill ward working fund, controlled by Dollis Hill’s Liberal Democrat councillors Alison Hopkins, Javaid Ashraf and Jack Beck.
Cllr Alison Hopkins, said:
I get a lot of feedback from residents concerned about the state of our local environment. Campbell Gordon Way Residents Association has really brightened up the area and made Dollis Hill a better place to live with their fantastic floral displays.
They grow vegetables as well and work with youngsters to give them a taste of planting and eating their own home-grown food. The award is thoroughly deserved. I am very pleased that our support has paid off. This is official proof that Dollis Hill is the best blooming place in Brent.
Councillor Paul Lorber (centre) was on hand to celebrate the arrival of Sudbury Neighbourhood Centre’s new £43,000 Ambulance with staff, volunteers and users.
The leader of Brent Council’s Liberal Democrat Group is putting on his running shoes to help raise money for Sudbury Neighbourhood Centre.
The centre provides services to older people and those with disabilities. The money raised will go towards supporting activities and holidays for the users.
Sudbury Neighbourhood Centre was established more than 30 years ago. Its main aim is to support elderly and disabled people to remain within the community. The centre provides a luncheon club, advice centre and many other activities including direct support for dozens of local people.
The work carried out by the staff and the volunteers at the Sudbury Neighbourhood Centre is of fantastic value to our community. As with all good causes the centre needs to raise money to keep going. Their good work has inspired me to put on my running shoes
says Councillor Lorber who represents Sudbury on the council.
Anyone interested in the services on offer is encouraged to visit the Sudbury Neighbourhood Centre at 809 Harrow Road, Sudbury (behind the Methodist Church) or to phone them on 200 8908 1220. The luncheon club is open Mondays to Fridays between 11.30am and 1.30pm.
Anyone wishing to sponsor Paul Lorber and support his run for the centre can obtain a sponsorship form by emailing Cllr.Paul.Lorber@brent.gov.uk or phoning 020 8937 1130.
A local mother of three who runs a toddler group at Barham Volunteer Library has collected over 150 signatures from residents who want Brent Council to give local people back their historic library building in Barham Park.
Waheeda Bibi lives in Chaplin Road Sudbury and runs a mother and toddler group at the Barham Volunteer Library in Wembley High Road. Her 5-year old daughter is one of the Brent children who missed out on her reception year at school because of the Brent school places crisis. Going to the library and taking part in activities with other youngsters has helped her learning and development, according to Waheeda.
The volunteer library is a place for toddlers and families to take part in activities and meet other youngsters
The volunteer library is forced to rent temporary premises in Wembley High Road because it has been denied access to the Barham Park library building, which has stood empty since it was closed in October 2011 by Brent Labour Councillors.
Waheeda Bibi said:
It’s desperately sad to see the library standing there empty when we remember it buzzing with activity. The library was especially popular with children and with some of the area’s older residents who appreciated the parkland setting. Most of them have not been able to switch to Brent’s few remaining libraries given the inconvenient and time-consuming journeys required.
The building was donated to the council for the benefit of local people. It’s time the council lived up to that commitment. The new council Leader has made some positive comments but not done anything practical to help so far. I hope our petition shows him the passion and commitment we have.
Local charity Friends of Barham Library, which runs the volunteer library, has offered to run library services from the Barham Park library building. The group currently runs the volunteer library from temporary rented property in Wembley High Road. The volunteer library is open three days a week and is popular with children and families.
Sudbury councillor and Liberal Democrat Group Leader Paul Lorber added:
It is the young people who suffer most from the decision by Labour Councillors to close half the libraries in Brent. Volunteers from the Friends of Barham Library are doing a great job providing a valuable service from their temporary shop premises at 428 High Road Wembley. We could do so much more if only the Council came to their senses and allowed us back into the empty library building in Barham Park.
The Barham Volunteer Library at 428 Wembley High Road is open on Saturdays between 11am and 4pm and on Mondays and Wednesdays between 12 noon and 5pm.
The Friends of Barham Library have launched a fundraising campaign to help cover the costs of running activities from the Barham Park library building. For further information see www.barhamlibrary.wordpress.com or search for Friends of Barham Library on Facebook.
Needed: bike docking station in Wembley!
Wembley residents are scratching their heads about who would have abandoned a Barclays hire bike six miles from the nearest docking station in the middle of East Lane Open Space in Wembley. The cyclist who rented the bike potentially faces a £300 charge for failing to return it.
Local Liberal Democrat councillor Paul Lorber stumbled across the bike while training for the Brent 5k Fun Run at Fryent County Park in September. He reported the abandoned bike to Transport for London and took it home for safe-keeping.
Liberal Democrat councillors have previously called on Transport for London to extend the cycle hire scheme closer to the Wembley area. Councillor Lorber said:
I can only assume someone pedalled out to Wembley after a night out in London and didn’t realise – or didn’t care – that there are no docking stations north-west of St John’s Wood. We would like to see the bike hire scheme extended out at least as far as Wembley stadium, to increase the transport options available to local people.
Paul is doing the fun run to raise money for Sudbury Neighbourhood Centre which provides services for older and disabled residents in the Wembley area. Donations, payable to ‘Sudbury Neighbourhood Centre’ can be sent to Sudbury Neighbourhood Centre, 809 Harrow Road, Wembley, HA0 2LP.