Sep 6 2012 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
PROPOSALS to protect a much-loved public space have been set back by objections from the Brent Council and developers.
The council is against designating the area outside Willesden Green Library Centre, between the Victorian part and the building constructed in 1983, as a town square, which would protect it from development.
Linden Homes also objected, on behalf of developer Galliford Try, which is consulting on plans to build flats and a cultural centre on the site in High Road.
Local historian Philip Grant found documents in the library archive from the 1980s when the new library building was being planned, which support protecting the space.
They said: “High priority has been given in the design to create a feeling of space and landscaping, to put back the ‘Green’ in Willesden.”
Mr Grant said: “I deplore the council’s attempt to continue to ignore the community’s wishes over the open space between this and the current Willesden Green Library Centre.
“Brent’s regeneration department should have considered why this space was part of the 1980s plans drawn up by its predecessor.
“The public square outside the present library centre has provided one of the few open spaces along Willesden High Road for at least 25 years.”
Local resident Martin Redston submitted the town square application. He says the space is in constant use for walking, meeting people, artistic events and markets.
To get approval, Mr Redston must prove the public has used the area for more than 20 years and provide testimonies from 36 people who value the space.
There is a dispute between Mr Redston and the council over the validity of its objection, due to extended deadlines.
A Brent Council spokesman said: “The objection from Brent Council was in time. We are duty bound to consider all representations right up until the point when the decision is made.
“In addition, we have given further time for any objections to Brent Council’s objections to be made.
“The document from the 1980s has now been put forward as evidence and will be taken into account as part of the process.”
Mr Redston has until September 12 to respond to Brent Council’s objection, which he has requested be withdrawn. It is up to the council to decide whether the status is granted.
If it refuses the application, an appeal can be made to the Planning Inspectorate.