Oct 23 2012 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
CUSTOMERS are outraged that a popular red brick pub which is a focal point for the community is to be demolished and turned into a 10-storey block of flats.
A planning application has been lodged by owners Fairview New Homes with Brent Council proposing to knock down The Queensbury pub, in Walm Lane, Willesden Green, which is used by Busy Rascals and the NCT’s Bumps and Babies for a meeting place.
Regulars and neighbours are fighting the plans, which could see a building with 56 flats constructed within five years, and 150 people have signed a petition.
Supporter Jill Cantor, of Riffel Road, said: “This pub is for the whole community and there are so many different types of people who come here.
“Families come here for the groups in the mornings and office people come in at lunch time – there is such a huge range of people. It would be hugely missed.”
Brent Central MP Sarah Teather has got behind the campaign and has submitted her objection.
Ms Teather has criticised the development on a number of grounds including the height, which she said is almost double the height of the tallest local building, the poor provision of affordable housing, the loss to the high street of a local business and popular community hub and the demolition of the historic building dating from the 1900s.
She said: “As a Willesden resident I am appalled at these plans. If this development goes ahead it will have a devastating impact on the high street, as not only will we lose this much loved pub and local hub we will also lose vital community meeting areas. ”
Fairview New Homes, based in Enfield, bought the property about six months ago from the Conservative Club, which used to operate out of the building. Four years remain on the lease for the pub, but the community wants to see its future secured.
Letters were sent to homes in the surrounding area as part of a consultation and so far 11 objections have been made.
One comment objecting to the application says: “The Queensbury Pub is a great place, nice atmosphere and just want the community needs... It would be a real shame to demolish it, and would hinder the sense of community and potentially drive property buyers/renters away from Willesden Green.”
A spokeswoman for the pub said: “We greatly appreciate the support from the community which shows great passion, a quality which we hope is emulated in the Queesnbury.”
Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone has spoken out in support of the pub, which has had celebrities The Saturdays, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaues from ABBA and Jesse J among its customers in the past.
The Observer contacted Fairview New Homes for a comment, but it failed to respond.
A petition can be found at www.change.org by searching for Queensbury, or updates of the campaign can be followed on Twitter at @info_save.
You can register your views as part of the consultation online at www.brent.gov.uk until Friday, October 26.