The Post Office at Neasden Shopping Centre is to undergo works that will see it change to one of the Post Office’s new main style branches.
It will create a newer look Post Office and will have longer opening hours on Saturdays. The new look Post Office will open on Monday 17th February at 1pm. It will need to close for refurbishment on Thursday 6th February at 5.30pm. While it is closed, people can visit branches on Church Road and within Tesco at Brent Park.
Upgrading the Post Office in Neasden is something that we have long been calling for. I’m glad that this investment is finally forthcoming.
It is great news that finally after working with residents and the local Safer Neighbourhood Team that we have managed to successfully lobby for a dispersal zone to be implemented in the Neasden Shopping Centre area.
The Zone implemented means that police have the power to split up groups and has sanctions if they return. People have already been arrested for breaching Police warnings so some success is there and this is a good thing.
However, it is disappointing to see that there are simply not enough police officers visible or patrolling to maximise the success of having this zone in place. Your Labour Action team is raising the matter with the Police and hoping to increase patrols in the area.
Local people, social enterprises and local businesses joined up with the Community Payback team for a Neasden Clean-Up day. I brought along the leader of the Council and we both donned gloves and were issued with rubbish bags and litter pickers to help out.
Cllr Butt said, “We are delighted to support local people and businesses in Smartening up the borough”.
We managed to clear a lot of the litter that had accumulated around bushes and green areas on the approach to Neasden Shopping Centre. When we smarten places up, we encourage residents to use local shops and make the area more attractive to visitors.
Vijay Amin, of ABi Associates who have offices in the Grange on Neasden Roundabout and was the main organiser for the Day said, “The area was starting to look grubby. We organised the Clean Up to give an opportunity for businesses to work with the local community for everyone’s benefit. We will do it again in the summer by which time we hope it’s is a few degrees warmer. We want to thank Veolia for supporting us and look forward to their support in the summer”.
Over the last year and a half, our under-resourced Police have been working hard to with the local Council to tackle anti-social behaviour issues that take place at the Neasden Shopping Centre.
Misbehaviour of schoolchildren, street drinking and the more recent appearance of gangs in the area culminated in Labour Councillors, the police and residents coming together deciding to escalate the response to the situation.
Enforcement will run until the 1st of September 2013.
This to me also highlights the importance of Ward Panel meetings because the decision has been made in collaboration with local residents, the Police and the Council. The next Ward Panel meeting is on Wednesday 6th March 2013 and takes place at the College of North West London (Willesden Campus) at 7pm.
It surprises me that given the importance of this meeting, that in my time as Dudden Hill Councillor, ‘local’ Liberal Democrat Councillor David Clues has NEVER attended a Ward Panel meeting. In fact, I believe he has NEVER met a single member of the local police team.
It is a local scandal that he did not resign his seat in May 2012 so that a by-election could be held at the same time as the Mayoral vote to minimise taxpayer election costs after he moved to Brighton in December 2011.
Residents have expressed delight at the restoration of the Neasden Parade sign. It has been an eyesore in recent history as it has been allowed to be run down and has been left neglected. Residents and shopkeepers felt it gave a bad feel to the place as people entered the Neasden Shopping Centre. The sign itself is on private property and therefore the responsibility of the upkeep of the sign has been on the landlord, who in this case does not live in Brent.
Unfortunately, after various attempts to persuade the landlord to restore the sign, nothing was done. Quotes were obtained before I became a Councillor to restore the sign using the Council’s Ward Working budget, but these costs ended up being too high and as a result nothing was done.
This year, I took a new approach and filed a planning complaint against the property. Fortunately, this approach has proved successful in restoring the sign and the landlord has complied with the findings of Brent Council’s Planning Enforcement Department.
It’s great that the sign has finally been restored.
Police numbers in Dudden Hill are simply too low. My ward currently has only one Sergeant, one PC and one PCSO as part of the dedicated Ward Safer Neighbourhood Team at the moment.
Last night, I was on a joint collaborative ward walkabout with Welsh Harp Ward to investigate cross-ward issues in the Neasden area. Residents are also welcome to join me this Sunday with the Dudden Hill Safer Neighbourhood Team for a walkabout in the Neasden Shopping Centre area at 9.30am. The issues that we are trying to solve simply need more resources.
There are currently three different area with differing problems that we are trying to deal with at the moment. In Neasden, we have the street drinking and anti-social behaviour, in the Dollis Hill part of the Ward, I was informed last night that burglary has spiked up again and the Church Road area has one of the largest crime rates in Brent at the sub-ward level.
Given the lack of resources being afforded to our local police, I will ensure that ward working money is given to crime initiatives as I have done in previous years. The doubling of Ward Working funding will go a long way to help me, my remaining co-Councillor and the Dudden Hill Safer Neighbourhood Team address specific crime and anti-social behavioural issues in Dudden Hill.
It seems as though these two alley-gating schemes will be the last for the forseeable future as good Council staff who worked in this area are no longer working for Brent Council. The two schemes funded were behind the Subway fast food store and behind the Santander Bank (was tempted to write Abbey National!) by Birse Crescent.
Both of these had been requested by the local residents living in flats above these shops and by local businesses but had limited success. One scheme had gone as far as forming a committee to manage the upkeep of the gates, only to be denied at the final hurdle.
Street drinking has gotten worse in behind these alleyways. This can be really intimidating,especially for people who live in the flats above these shops.
I regularly walk the alleyways with the Dudden Hill Safer Neighbourhood Team who recommended that gates in these alleyways would be ideal. They had witnessed dumped rubbish, and even human excrement. One member had tripped on a greasy liquid and seen a rat of enormous size. Something had to be done.
I was pleased that I was able to take advantage of the final alleygating schemes for Dudden Hill ward and it was a real struggle to achieve this. I was able to successfully argue that proceedings had gone so far that it would be barmy to refuse installation of these gates now.
The gates have already been installed and the anti-social behaviour that occured in these alley areas are no more.
I spent the morning out with the Police, local residents and Council officers walking around the Neasden Shopping Centre. What we found was problems and clear signs of neglect with issues that have been left unresolved for years.
The lack of attention paid to the area by Lib Dem Councillors has led to it being left without due care and attention. It’s a sad state of affairs as I remember growing up in the area and having fond memories spending a lot of my childhood time at the local shopping centre.
I will continue to work with my local police team, residents, shopkeepers, fellow Councillors and Council officers to improve the area.