Brent will be the London Borough of Culture in 2020

Brent will be the London Borough of Culture in 2020. The prestigious award will see Brent receive £1.35 million to stage an ambitious year long programme of cultural events and activities, which will put culture at the heart of the borough’s future. Brent fought off stiff competition from the 21 other London boroughs to win the title, which was awarded by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
Waltham Forest will become the first London Borough of Culture in 2019 with Brent following in 2020 as the Euro 2020 football finals take place at Wembley Stadium. Brent’s bid was structured around seven key projects, showcasing the borough’s spirit of diversity, youthfulness and internationalism.
These include a collaboration with Vice and Brent’s young people to develop their skills across film, radio and writing, a huge street party taking place along a pedestrianised A5, and an open air ‘Museum of all Brent Life’. During the year, Brent will also host a reggae music festival, and a Brent anthem will be composed to be performed at Wembley Stadium during Euro 2020. The council has pledged a further £300,000 to set up an independent Cultural Trust, to oversee the borough’s cultural programme.
A wide range of London’s leading cultural institutions will work with the winning boroughs – including the Barbican, the Museum of London, the Roundhouse, Film London and the National Trust and many more. For more information about London Borough of Culture 2020 and to get involved, please visit 

Chalkhill Primary School join the Slash Sugar campaign

Chalkhill Primary School has recently introduced ‘Sugar Free Tuesdays’ whereby all food, drinks and snacks eaten on Tuesdays should be free of refined sugar.

Our Public Health team recently visited the school in Wembley to witness the campaign in action and got the chance to speak to a range of pupils from year 2 to year 6 about Sugar Free Tuesdays and other healthy lifestyle initiatives.

Pupils explained that on Tuesdays they swap sugar found in sweets and fizzy drinks for natural sugar from fruits instead. For example desserts such as custard and cake have been swapped for fruit salad. ‘The Crunch’ (the school’s canteen) make their own tomato ketchup as branded versions can contain more than one teaspoon of sugar per teaspoon portion.

As well as Sugar Free Tuesdays, the pupils are given healthy lifestyle tips at weekly assembly, educated about portion control and the tuck shop only sells healthy snacks such as fruit, homemade banana cake, fruit cups and crackers on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The money made from the tuck shop goes towards free healthy snacks for Key Stage 2 pupils as currently the government only funds free healthy snacks for Key Stage 1 pupils and the school believes that no one should miss out.

When asked what was important for a healthy diet pupil’s responded with the following answers: 60 minutes of exercise a day; swap sugar for healthier options instead; drink more water; eat a balanced diet; eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day; and check the labels of food for any hidden nasty’s.Slash Sugar

Karima Peerwani, Assistant Head Teacher said:

“As a healthy school we engage with both the pupils and parents because it is important that the hard work we do at school continues at home. We host healthy packed lunch workshops and give out prizes for children who pack healthy options. We display information about the risks of eating too many sugary snacks on our notice boards and our elected etiquette inspectors promote making healthy food choices and drinking plenty of water.”

Well done to all the pupils and staff at Chalkhill for embracing Sugar Free Tuesdays. It’s a scheme that I hope all schools across Brent will consider.

Brent stands united with Paris


After the attacks in Paris last weekend, Brent, London and the rest of the world turned their eyes towards Wembley Stadium on Tuesday night. The England v France friendly match was arguably the most friendly match anyone watching had ever experienced, as the Wembley Crowd showed their solidarity with our French neighbours, and the stadium and the Brent Civic Centre was lit up in blue, white and red, and with the French motto of Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite.

Record fine of £1.4 million for landlord who persistently breached planning law

A judge has ordered a Brent landlord to pay the record sum of £1.438 million for turning a house into 12 flats without planning consent following a two year intensive investigation by Brent Council.

The sum must be paid within six months or the landlord will face a ten year prison sentence, a judge sitting at Norwich Crown Court ordered.

The order to pay the money follows a prosecution brought by planning enforcement officers from Brent Council against a landlord who had continuously flouted planning regulations in the borough for the last ten years.

Brent’s Planning Enforcement Team used powers that enable councils to seek to recover the ‘proceeds of crime’. The case related to the failure to comply with the requirements of a planning enforcement notice for a property on Willesden Lane which had been converted from one house into 12 flats.

The £1.438 million order is believed to be the highest confiscation order granted for a planning offence in the country and is based on the assumed benefit that the landlord received from breaching planning regulations.

The Wembley landlord was also ordered to pay a fine of £4000 for the breach of the planning regulations and legal costs of almost £35,000. Brent Council will receive 37.5 per cent of the money and the rest will go to the treasury and the court collection agency. A restraint order has been placed on the guilty man to prevent him from disposing of his assets before he fulfils his obligations and pays the £1.438 million.

Chris Walker Brent Council’s Assistant Director of Planning and Major Projects said: “This landlord ignored planning rules designed to ensure that the quality of accommodation in the boroughs is maintained and that the environment for surrounding residents is protected. He ignored the council’s notices and as a result, he profited hugely from this sub-standard accommodation.”

Cllr George Crane was interviewed on ITV News and the clip can be viewed from the video below.

Boris rejects Brent regeneration bid

Ealing Road Bazaar
Ealing Road, Wembley (Image by Route79 via Flickr)

At a Council meeting last November the Coalition parties made much of the Mayor of London’s Outer London Regeneration Fund so it comes as some surprise to see that both of Brent Council’s bids have been denied. Brent’s Lead Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, Cllr George Crane has expressed his disbelief that the Mayor has chosen to ignore the needs of Outer London’s most diverse borough.

Brent put in a bid for 1.65 million to continue the successful work started in Willesden High Road in an earlier bid agreed last year. The bid would have helped transform Willesden Green High Road by renting some empty shop units on a long-term basis. These would be used by emerging businesses to help employment and skills of local people. The other part of the bid was to improve the area around the Willesden Green Library centre and make it a focal point to showcase local creative talent.  (For more info on Willesden project see )

The second bid was for 1.8 million for Ealing Road between Wembley Central and Alperton. The programme was designed to promote Ealing Road to deliver physical, economic social and cultural benefits to Ealing Road, Wembley and Brent.

Ealing Road is already attracting high visitor numbers from around London and beyond with its unique style of Indian shopping experience.

Cllr Crane said

”All our neighbouring Boroughs have received money and it is difficult to understand why Brent has been singled out to have both projects rejected..

I will be asking Navin Shah, Brent’s London Assembly Member to raise this with Mayor Johnson and ask him to reconsider both Brent’s bids.”  

Wembley Central By-Election Polling Day:

VOTE KRUPA SHETH (Labour Party) – 4th name on the Ballot Paper.

Polls are open from 7am to 10pm today (Thursday 22nd December 2011)

A Brent girl through and through, Krupa grew up in Wembley and attended the Swaminarayan school. A member of the Borough’s Jain community, Krupa speaks fluent Gujurati and Hindi, and volunteers at Jain temple helping to raise money for various charities across the world.

Krupa is deeply committed to social justice, and is training as a barrister to devote her career to fighting for vulnerable people in society. As well as her involvement in the local community, Krupa has devoted her free time and holidays to volunteering for charities, a local hospice, and the Citizen’s Advice Bureaux.

“Residents are worried about the effect of government cuts on Copland school and on police numbers. Women like me feel that government politicians are just not listening. I will visit every home in Wembley Central. I will ensure there is at least one politician who does.”

Krupa Sheth Labour Party Candidate for Wembley Central

It’s been a sad few days for London

We hoped that Brent would not fall victim to some of the scenes that we have seen on the news in other parts of London. But it is unfortunate that a few minority have been inspired by scenes in other parts of London, rather than appalled by what is happening and are carrying out criminal activity in Brent.

Brent residents had been offered tickets at a heavily discounted rate for the England vs Holland football friendly international game. The Football Association has now confirmed that the match has been called off.

Wembley Event Day Parking restrictions 10th and 11th September 2010

This time it’s Muse who are playing at Wembley Stadium on 10th (today) and 11th (tomorrow) September 2010.

The Council are reporting that there are currently faults with some of the digital display signs in the Borough. These are showing the wrong date.

Gold chain thieves arrested: Willesden and Brent Times

Last month I blogged on an increase in incidents of gold chain snatching LINK.

The Willesden and Brent Times are reporting that two people have been sentenced for robbery in a police crackdown on thieves who snatch valuable jewellery from people walking by.

Brent police launched a massive undercover operation in August to find and arrest thieves who were grabbing gold chains from the necks of innocent victims.

The operation was launched in response to an unprecedented crime wave of jewellery muggings with some 90 reported in 12 weeks. Church Road market in Dudden Hill Ward, and Ealing Road market in Wembley, were flagged up as particular hotspots although as my article says, incidents were not restricted to these two areas.

In the first case, a 14-year-old youth from Harlesden, was sentenced to a six month parenting order and a supervision referral order for 12 months at Brent Youth Court for attempted robbery. The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, followed a woman, 47, as she walked home in Neasden.

As she turned into Denzil Road, the youth stopped her and asked for the time. He then grabbed her by the neck and left shoulder and threw her to the floor before trying to pull a gold chain from her neck. Passers by heard her scream and ran over to help.

Fortunately, officers were nearby and stopped the 14-year-old from running off. He was arrested for robbery. He later pleaded guilty at court.

A PCSO on duty with two police constables. Not...

Detective Sergeant, Mark Fletcher, from the Priority Crime Unit, said: “This suspect was arrested as a result of public spirited citizens and police coming to the assistance of a lone female who was being subjected to a cowardly attack.

“Brent police are dedicated to pro-actively patrolling the streets, looking for suspects concerned in robbery offences. We will continue this positive action in order to identify, arrest and convict robbery offenders.”

Source: Willesden & Brent Times

Brent Labour’s Budget Proposals

On Monday 1st March Brent Council met to determine its budget for 2010-11. Labour opposed the package of cuts and redundancies proposed by the Lib Dem/Tory administration. Labour also re-affirmed its promise to scrap the £25 charge for bulky refuse collection, which has led to an epidemic of dumping across the Borough Other proposals included:


Labour will be proposing free parking for the first hour in council car parks (all of which are close to local shopping centres) in order to discourage local people from driving to ‘out of town’ shopping centres like Brent Cross, where parking is free, to encourage people to shop locally. This would have the effect of reducing carbon emissions and also have the effect of boosting local businesses with local people using local shops.

Labour’s Transport Spokesperson, Cllr Lena Ahmed, said:

“We believe that parking restrictions and charges in local shopping centres are bad for business and we want to encourage local shopping for local people so that local people use local shops. The cost in lost revenue is a mere £96,840, which is a small price to pay for a significant boost to the local economy during the world economic downturn”.

Labour is also calling for residents’ parking charges to be linked to carbon emissions with higher charges for vehicles which cause the most pollution.

These measures will form part of a ‘Green Charter’, which Labour will present to the electorate as part of its manifesto.


Having promised free personal care for the elderly before the last election, The Brent Lib Dems have increase some home care charges by nearly 300%. Labour voted against these increases and is pledged to review the charges. However, the government has now introduced the Personal Care at Home Bill, which will eliminate many of these charges.

Labour’s Spokesperson for Adults, Health & social Care, Cllr Ruth Moher, said:

“Those who receive home care are amongst the most vulnerable people in our borough and we will protect them”.


Labour’s budget proposals contain a specific pledge to reverse the Lib Dems’ plans for housing development in Barham Park and to protect all public open space from rapacious developers. In December, the Lib Dem controlled Executive agreed the sale of 776-778 Harrow Road, Wembley, which is in Barham Park, for housing development and Labour fears that a tower block may be built there.

Labour’s Environment and Planning Spokesperson, Cllr James Powney, said:

“The Lib Dems sneaked this report through the Executive just before Christmas and entitled it ‘Disposal of 776-778 Harrow Road’ in the hope that nobody would notice that the site is in fact IN Barham Park. The report allows for housing development on the site. Labour is opposed to any housing being built on public open space and we will fight this proposal all the way”.

Labour’s budget proposals also sought to reverse the sale of the scout hut at Oliver Goldsmith School.


With Brent South Labour MP, Dawn Butler, being Minister for Young People, it is no surprise that Labour’s budget proposals seek to improve services for teenagers and young people. The party proposes a multi use games area in every suitable open space and regrets the Lib Dems’ decision to remove years 2 & 3 funding from the budget for improvements to Kingsbury’s Roe Green Park. Labour is also committed to restoring the cut in funding for the ‘Positive Activities for Young People’ programme, which is a Youth Service project working with young people at risk of social exclusion engaging them in constructive activity programmes in order to assist their progress into education or employment.

Labour’s spokesperson for Children and Families, Cllr Mary Arnold, said:

“It’s a false economy to cut youth spending because with nothing better to do, young people can sometimes drift into trouble, become a nuisance to everybody else and miss out on educational and employment opportunities, which will affect their life chances. Given the opportunity for positive activities, young people generally develop their talents and skills and they will thrive”.


Labour will maintain the £22,000 one off increase in funding for advice agencies and seek to develop innovative ways to link advice, debt management and job seeking support services.

Kilburn ward Councillor Mary Arnold, who has campaigned against the closure of Brent In2 Work and cuts to advice services, said:

“Brent is slowly emerging from the world wide recession but the recovery is fragile and will be put at risk if the Tories or Liberals are in power. It is therefore important to retain the extra funding for advice agencies and to link advice, debt management and job seeking support services.


Labour Councillors will slash spending on consultants by £1.5 million and use the money saved to repair pot holes and broken pavements. The Council’s own budget report shows that the cost of claims for injuries sustained on broken pavements has risen by over 30%. The Lib Dem and Tory council is also proposing to cut spending on street cleaning.

Labour’s Environment Spokesperson, Cllr James Powney, said:

“There are more pot holes in Brent’s roads than there are in the Yorkshire Dales and they are a danger to motorists in general and especially to cyclists. Meanwhile, broken pavements are an ever present danger to disabled residents and others with impaired mobility. Instead of wasting money on consultants who tell us nothing new we should repair our roads and pavements”.

Labour will also be seeking to reduce the grossly excessive spending of £16 million a year on temporary and agency staff.

Labour’s Deputy Leader and Finance Spokesperson, Cllr Muhammed Butt, said:

“How can the Lib Dems and Tories justify employing nearly 600 temporary and agency staff at a cost in excess of £16 million a year when we are sacking 250 permanent staff?”