Are Brent Council selling off restricted pavement space in town centres?

By complete chance we found out about 3 applications by JC Decaux to install 3 additional massive advertising signs on the pavements in Kilburn High Road. We alerted you to the applications in our last newsletter.

The application numbers are 19/1997, 19/2001 and 19/2006.

At the time, we tought that Brent Council would reject outright such proposals on the basis that our pavements are already too narrow for the footfall on the high road and that they do not bring any public benefit. We were re-assured that that would be the case with the recent publication of the Borough Plan 2019/2023.

Page 13 states “ Brent has busy streets and town centres – we need to ensure we are able to keep our borough moving with well-maintained roads and pavements, effective parking controls, and improved public transport and cycling facilities”

Page 14 states ” Invest in Brent’s town centres to reverse decline and support diversification, employment and enterprise. “ and “ Ensure well-designed public spaces and buildings – such as the multi-storey Generator building at the Northfields site,-through master planning ,environmental improvements,active community engagement and place management standards.”

Page 16 states ” Encourage people to use alternatives to cars for those journeys where it makes sense, by prioritising more walking and cycling routes, promoting sustainable means of transport and the health benefits ofbeing more active “

We found that on the 12th September 2018 Brent’s Cabinet agreed to the attached document “Authority to tender Concession Contract for six-sheetadvertising accroos the Borough”. This is a must read! We have highlighted the parts of the document that you should read.

In summary, Brent had a 20 years concession contract with JC Decaux (expiring in December 2019), thus the horrible free standing sign impeding pedestrians flow in front of 391 Kiburn High Road. The price that JC Decaux had to pay was 7 Public toilets against 72 signs, and for Brent to use the reverse of the signs to post “Public Service messages”. To the own admission of the officers the public toilets had not been operational. We know that, as the only one in Kilburn, in Victoria Road, has been out of service for years. As to the value of public service messages, advertising currently “Wembley Park” in Kilburn, we doubt that this brings any benefit to Kilburn.

Brent wanted to raise a 6 digit sum in their new contract, and employed Fortuna Associates to “monetise their assets”. The main criteria for tenders evaluation is Price (65% of evaluation) whilst Social Value is only 5%. There is no mention of siting the display boards in areas where they would not impede pedestrian flow and in fact there is a suggestion that their should be an increase of the advertising display portfolio to maximise income.

So in short, we think it is a sell off of public space by Brent. Good intentions to generate money, but should that be in breach of the Borough Plan visions and at the expense of pedestrians?

The decision re the final contract was made in March 2019, but the decision document has restricted access so as members of the public we cannot know how many signs will be erected nor how much revenue will be generated.

The only way we can stop our High Road to be blighted with these signs is to object to the planning applications. We need a minimum of 50 objections per application for them to be referred to the Planning Committee. So please do take 5 minutes to object and share with neighbours!

WE COUNT ON YOU! PLEASE OBJECT TO THESE MONSTERS that will bring no benefit to Kilburn. Planning application numbers are 19/1997, 19/2001 and 19/2006. Here is a link to the planning site. THANK YOU.

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