Lonnie Donegan’s Plaque unveiling on 13th July 2019

A plaque for Lonnie Donegan was unveiled by his son Peter outside the
ENO ( English National Opera) building in Broadhurst Gardens today.

Lonnie recorded ‘Rock Island Line’ at the Decca Studios 65 years ago
today. This record accelerated the growth of Skiffle which led on to
rock and the Beatles.

Jim Carter who made a documentary called ‘Lonnie and Me’ is at the back.

picture by Dick Weindling

Some music by Lonnie Donnegan here

What’s happened this fortnight 7th July 2019

Is pink the new colour trend in Kilburn? Delightful window display and gentleman. Let’s hope however that this red and this yellow do not take over our streets.

Did you know that George Orwell was a Kilburn resident? We also have a plaque for him! Here’s an article from Orwell Jr when the plaque went up.

This shop was opened in 1884 by George Arnold as a pawnbroker/jeweller. He also had a branch in Kentish Town. Still a jewellers today!

Unfortunately Tara Leigh Tearoom closed down.

We went on a 2 hours walk down the Kilburn High Road with Shama Tatler Town Centre Manager, and Brent Planning Enforcement. Hope you will see the results soon. We will be attending a meeting on 16th July regarding improvements to the Kilburn High Road. So watch this space.

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The worst play in the world?

Courtesy of Dick Weindling and Marianne Colloms

On Monday 15 May 1911, the play ‘When Kilburn Sleeps’ was put on at the Kilburn Empire. This was on the triangular site at the beginning of Kilburn High Road, where the London Marriott Hotel is today.

Kilburn Empire, then Essoldo Cinema 1953

It was produced by the wonderfully named Wentworth Croke.

He advertised it as ‘the worst play ever written, presented by absolutely the worst actors in the world’. ‘Wigs stolen from Clarkson’ (the famous theatrical wig maker). ‘Wardrobe from Petticoat Lane’ (the street market). ‘Mechanical effects by accident’.

It was written by Frank Dix (the advert said ‘pinched’), as a skit on melodrama.

One reviewer who saw it, said it was very funny travesty on sanctimonious melodrama performed with an excellent company of players. The actors clearly enjoyed their work as did the reviewer. But the Kilburn audience took it seriously, believing they were watching a real drama being badly played. Some stared vacantly and kept quiet. Others began hissing and booing. As they left the theatre they said, ‘The management ought to be ashamed to engage such a company to play that drama in that way’. ‘I saw it played properly in the West End a few years ago’ (the person was mixing up the Kilburn production with a successful drama called “When London Sleeps”, which was later made into a film in 1932).

As the play clearly failed to convey the intended humour to its audience, Croke took it off after only one day.

His full name was Wentworth Augustus John Croke, and after working for a railway company and the Stock Exchange, he became a successful producer, theatre manager and theatrical company owner. Croke’s wife Grace Chalmers who he married in 1899, was an actress. In the late 1920s he retired to run a hotel at Fowey in Cornwall.

Grace Chalmers- 1904

Croke was in the habit of taking aspirins to help him sleep, and on the day he died, had taken 150 tablets. The 1930 inquest verdict was heart failure induced by an overdose, but the coroner ruled there was no evidence Croke had intended to harm himself.

Addition by “Life in Kilburn”: here is a link that presents the history of the Kilburn Empire.

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.

What’s happened this fortnight 23rd June 2019

Oh shock, horror! Our tweet suggesting that Spicy Basil might be relocating to Cricklewood received many responses of disbelief and shock. They are definitely applying to open in the McGoverns pub in Cricklewood. However we hope it’s a second branch!

Now it’s official! Kilburn High Road will be closed to all traffic on 11th July 2020 for a Brent Borough of Culture Parade now rebranded as “street party”. We met with the consultant back in February but were asked to keep the date quiet. We attended the Brent Connects Kilburn meeting on 18th June to find out more. Apparently Kilburn High Road was chosen as it is the A5, the road used by many immigrants to Brent. The street party’s main theme will be immigration. We are still very unclear about the content and how local residents, community groups and businesses can get involved though. We received reassurances that Camden Kilburn groups will be included and can apply for the Culture Fund. Apply here!

No injuries in the fire that destroyed a 4th floor flat in Watling Gardens. The local community was on stand-by to help, which is nice to see.

Next weekend, the Queen’s Park Book Festival is on. The festival is run by a charity and in its second year of revival needs your support. You can get day tickets at £18 per person. Queen’s Park is after all part of the Kilburn family as many old postcards and records state “Queen’s Park, Kilburn”.

Bistro 267, at 267 Kilburn High Road is under new management, while Meaty Buns at 262 Kilburn High Road is up for sale.

Offside Books at 92 Willesden Lane are having a sale, 50% off all books till the end of June.

Gormley, or at least his sculpture, rumored to represent himself, approved of the Maygrove Peace Park Clean-up!

Kilburn got a space in an article about new landmarks of literary London in the FT. Zadie Smith provides an insight on what to do in Kilburn to get writing material!

On the 12th June, Kilburn made it into the Daily Mail with the smash and grab at our Sainsbury’s Local. Speaking of Sainbury’s, did you know that Kilburn had 3 branches, all with lovely facades? The branch at 292/294 Kilburn High Road ( known as the Brondesbury Branch) opened in 1892 and closed in 1969. Another shop opened at 128 Kilburn High road in 1892 and expanded into 130 Kilburn High Road in 1897. Closed in 1969 when Sainsbury’s moved to its current location. We could not find pictures of the other shop at 96 Kilburn High Road.

Sainsbury in 1969, Brondesbury Branch, 292/294 Kilburn High Road
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What’s happened this fortnight 9th June 2019

The planning application for the redevelopment of 2 to 12 Priory Park Road (19/1279) received 8 comments, 4 Objections, 2 Supports and 2 Neutral comments. This means that it probably will not go to Planning Committee and the future of the application will be decided by Officers. Watch this space for updates!

Hurray! Some progress has been made in the removal of the illegal terrace of the Cock Tavern. But still more to do….

Duck Duck Goose, at 228 Kilburn High Road opened on 28th May, with all the trimmings of an official Chinese opening, involving a dragon, music, incense, suckling pig and more. They’re offering a 20% discount until 28th June.

We went inside the Tin Tabernacle on Cambridge Avenue. One of Kilburn’s gems. There is an event on 27th July. An excuse to peer inside?

Ex Mix store, at 224 Kilburn High Road opened. A mix of second hand clothing and new clothing.

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What’s happened this fortnight 27th May 2019

The sky in Kilburn provided a great display, on 26th May, just before the European election results from Camden and Brent.

Maryam Eslamdoust, Kilburn Camden Councillor has been appointed to Labour’s head office. Now 2 of our Councillors have very influential posts in the Labour Party. Additionally she has become the new Mayor of Camden. Will this lead to the implementation of much needed improvements to Kilburn High Road? We have started to collate a history of promises made about improvements to the Kilburn High Road. Here is the start of the story, from 2013 to 2016. Revealing read we hope! We will add more recent developments later.

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A luxury hotel In Priory Park Road?

A surprising planning application for 2 to 12 Priory Park Road.

Brent Planning Application number 19/1279.

2 to 12 Priory Park road conssit of 3 building groups.

2 to 4, an architecturally interesting building that consisted of ground floor shop units and 3 upper floors of residential accommodation. This group of buildings was sold on 9th September 2002 for £550000 and left to go into dereliction. Its ownership was transferred on 26/02/2018 as part of a bulk transfer for 2 to 12 Priory Park Road.

6 to 12 Priory Park Road are 2 Mansion Blocks that originally consisted of 16 flats each. The ownership of these buildings is not clear as the applicant company on the planning application, Priory Park Property Limited, does not exist. However a company, Top Class Investment Limited, have a valid charge registered at Company House, against these 2 Buildings. There again ownership of these buildings seems to have been transferred on 26/02/2018 together with 2 to 4 for the grand sum of £14.199.995.

6 to 12 Priory Park Road have been subject to numerous planning applications all with various caveats.

87/2087. (19/10/1988) permission granted to erect play room on condition that building is returned to full time accommodation within 3 years.

88/0094 (19/10/1988) refused permission to continue use as B&B and increase of capacity- Substandard provisions

88/0934 (17/04/1989) change of use to hotel with redevelopment granted.

91/1561 (26th February1992) permission granted to refurbish 6 to 12 priory Park Road, linking the 2 buildings and use as hotel. The link between the 2 buildings was never built and the buildings were never used as hotel but as HMO’s

91/2030 (3/03/1992) retention of playroom granted on condition that buildings are used as hostel

02/2547 (6th January 2003) change of use to HMO with linking of 2 buildings refused

11/3354 (26th March 2102) permission to demolish 2 to 12 Priory road and develop into a hostel refused.

11/4478 (14th december 2017) erection of a mansard roof on 6 to 12 priory park road to accommodate caretaker flat- refused as having a flat on top of HMO is not welcome.

18/3953 (18th December 2018) Certificate of lawfulness to use as HMO refused as HMO use had not been established for enough years.

In summary 6 to 12 Priory park road were granted a change of use to hotel in 1989. However the promised developments never materialised and there is no documentation to establish that these 2 buildings were ever used as hotels. It is evident that the buildings, when not empty were used as hostels and/or HMO. In fact these 2 buildings were operated in a scandalous way by Clearsprings to house Asylum seekers under a Government Contract. In December 2018 a fire broke out in the buildings, used as hostels.

No change of use was ever granted for 2 to 4 Priory Park Road.

All 3 buildings have been poorly maintained, if at all in the last 30 years. There is evidence of broken windows, gutters, balconies and fire damage. It is quite clear that they have been used to house the less fortunate. So is this application motivated by the fact that the Government Contract has ended and that it seems Brent are not using these buildings as short-term accommodation anymore?

So what is this new planning application about? Linking 2 to 14 Priory Park Road, adding Mansard roofs and creating a luxury hotel while retaining some of the frontages features.

While the renovation of these historic buildings is very much welcome, the hotel concept presented is less than clear. The website referred to in the application does not exist. It looks like the developers want to create a mix of short let appartments, with coffee shop provision at the back in conservatories, a gym and restaurant in 2 to 4 Priory Park Road. Slightly confusing are the floor plans showing 54 “studios”, 16 “1 bedroom” flats, 15 “2 bedrooms” flats so a total of 85 units and a total of 100 bedrooms, not the stated number of bedrooms on the application form.

In the traffic management document, the estimated increase of traffic (dead-end street) would be negligeable as apparently these buildings already operate as hotels. We doubt that would be the case as we all know these buildings were used for years to house homeless families and asylum seekers with no traffic whatsoever. The proposed turn around space for delivery vehicles in Glengall Passage is not adequate.

The planning application states that the sites are vacant. This is not true. The 2 mansions still house homeless and asylum seeking families. We witnessed numerous people going in and out.

Also does Kilburn need more short-term lets or simply long term accommodation? There are numerous short-term accommodation options in Kilburn, The Marriott Hotel, The Maitrise Hotel, The Quarters above Kilburn Library, Sanctum in Belsize Road, Black Lion B&B. However Kilburn is short on long term accommodation.

Thus we ask you to object to the change of use of 2 to 4 Priory Park Road, and ask for a return to 2 retail units and 6 flats on the 3 upper floors. We ask you to object to redevelopment of 6 to 12 Priory Park Road into short-let units. We think the proposed self contained flats should be long term accommodation, much needed in Kilburn.

Please comment on this application by 29th May.

Thank you.


History of Kilburn High Road Improvement Promises

28th February 2013 “Brent and Camden launch project to improve Kilburn High Road”

“Both councils are committed to improving road safety and accessibility through the Local Implementation Programme, especially on the corner with Quex Road and Willesden Lane which are accident hotspots, and have claimed lives.

Plans also include opening a local credit union in order to tackle illegal loan sharks operating on the road and encourage responsible lending, as well as addressing issues such as littering and anti-social behaviour”

https://www.kilburntimes.co.uk/news/environment/brent-and-camden-launch-project-to-improve-kilburn-high-road-1-1960508

19th March 2013Area action Group meeting with Camden officers “Camden was working with Brent to deliver area improvements and discussed how funding for improvements came from the Local Implementation Plan. She also said that Kilburn had been highlighted as a key area for investment. Camden would like to reduce the number of collisions and road danger and improve accessibility; Jacqueline also stressed that it was important to improve the character of the area and establish a sense of place.”

10th October 2013. Brent Highways Committee re improvements to Kilburn High Road, 20mph speed limit, removal of street clutter.

http://democracy.brent.gov.uk/documents/s19532/Kilburn High Road Proposed improvement scheme and 20mph limit.pdf

24th November and 14th December 2013 “public meetings to discuss proposed improvements to Kilburn High Road”

https://healthwatchcamden.co.uk/sites/default/files/2814.2_kilburn_rd_brent_poster_v3.pdf

https://healthwatchcamden.co.uk/resources/kilburn-high-road-development-scheme-presentation-camdenbrent-14th-dec

2nd May 2014 “Action needed now for a safer Kilburn High Road”

https://www.carolinepidgeon.org/node/1092

18th December 2015. TFL grants Brent £250000 for 2016/2107 “to re-visit the design proposals presented in the bid and to work with TfL to resolve concerns about impacts on network resilience, bus service journey times and capacity. The key requirements associated with the Major Schemes funding are set out in Appendix 1. “

http://content.tfl.gov.uk/lip-funding-confirmation-letters-16-17-brent.pdf

What’s happened this fortnight 12th May 2019

The two brothers who caused a night of chaos and no less than 3 helicopters to hover above Kilburn until the early hours of the morning have pleaded guilty in court.

And on crime…. a lot of shop windows have been smashed along the high road in the past few weeks. Those damaged in this fortnight include the new Tex Ann restaurant and Maison de la Vie.

…And there were thieves at the North London Tavern…in 1946.

The “Tin Tabernacle” will be opening its doors on 31st May for a night of music. If you’ve never been inside, please attend and discover a gem of Kilburn.

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