Camden and Brent make a Levelling Up bid for Kilburn!

Camden and Brent have finally made a “levelling up bid” for Kilburn, asking the government to provide £13,210,832 for Kilburn. We wondered back in November 2021 why they had not made a bid in 2021. This is a very welcome news but what would that deliver if the bid is successful?

We made a freedom of information request to find out a bit more about this bid that ,it seems, both Boroughs have an intention to keep “secret”. We could not find any document on the Camden or Brent websites that refer to the bid.

Our Freedom of Information request was rejected on the grounds that the workload required to supply all the documents would not be justified by the “public Interest” test. A rather strange excuse as all the documents have been loaded onto the Levelling Up website for submission and thus must be in an easily shareable format. Anyway, we didn’t give up and resubmitted a Freedoom of information request asking just for a few documents.

We are sorry we don’t, as a result, have all the details but here is what we can share.

The bid consist of 3 projects:

  • Active Travel– resquested funds £9,643,832, match funding £2,100,105 total cost £11,743,937
  • Active Greening– requested funds £1,400,000, match funding £80,000 total cost £1,480,000
  • Active Citizenship– requested funds £2,167,000 match funding £20,000 total cost £2,187,000

Active Travel-covering Kilburn High Road and Willesden Lane from Kilburn High Road to Tennyson Avenue. £11,743,937

This area is roughly 2.16 km long, ie 1.64 Km for Kilburn High Road and 515 meters for Willesden Lane. The proposals include:

extract from the bid document
Extract from the bid document

The above sounds wonderful and is much needed. We have been waiting for more than 10 years for promised improvements on Kilburn High Road! However the budget seems rather low compared to similar projects. The budget is roughly £5.44 millions per Kilometer. In comparison, the Carlton Vale Boulevard costs are £9.43 Millions per Kilometer. (£6.6 millions for 690 meters length after value engineering the project). This probably means that materials will be of a lower spec, drainage issues will not be addressed, and real meaningful improvements won’t be achieved.

What is more worrying is that Camden and Brent still do not have the go ahead from TFL. They have been “working” with TFL since 2018 to find a scheme that doesn’t detrimentally impact on buses. Camden and Brent cannot make any significant changes to Kilburn High Road without the consent of TFL, who have to agree on pedestrian crossings, signals, width of highway, position of bus stops, bus lanes and cycle lanes. It is clear from the letter of support from TFL (extract below) that such agreement has not yet been reached.

Extract from TFL letter of support

Active Greening. £1,480,000

We don’t have much details about this project. But below is a short description. Apparently 1000 Square meters of Grange Park would be enhanced by the entrance by the Black Lion and 698 Square meters of green space created via the 3 pocket parks mentioned below.

Extract from bid document

Worrying that the bid document refers to “Netherwood Road” that does not exist. We do however have a Netherwood Street!

Active Citizenship. £2,187,000

This mainly consists of the refurbishment of 107 Kingsgate Road, ie the previous Kingsgate Community Centre. The Community Centre closed down in 2020 when the Community Association that ran it became insolvent. This space was well used by some people in our local community and is missed. The ambition is grand and laudable. It seems that Camden want to use the Centre as a Community Space but also to rent as affordable workspace.

Extract of the bid document


Let’s hope that this bid is succesful and that finally much needed investment comes to Kilburn. Let’s hope also that, if the bid is succesful, local people are given a voice to shape implementation.