Over the past six months I have been working with the police, TFL and the planning and enforcement officers from Brent Council to resolve a number of concerns that I know are shared by many residents and local businesses.
Anti-social behaviour, street drinking and illegal parking are all having a damaging effect on the quality of life in the area.
So I hope you may find it helpful to receive this update on the work I am undertaking, along with the Queensbury ward councillors – Sandra, Kana and Ramesh – to resolve these matters and ensure that the proper enforcement action takes place.
I conducted a walkabout in Queensbury and Kingsbury on 15th February. Along with local residents we identified problem hotspots and met with a number of retailers and businesses to discuss their concerns.
It is simply not acceptable that any resident should feel uneasy walking around Queensbury circle because of the large groups of men drinking outside the shops and often blocking the footpath.
The first thing I did was to meet with the Acting Borough Commander of Brent Police to point out the areas that require specific additional patrol and enforcement.
I then conducted a further walkabout at the beginning of March with six enforcement officers from the relevant Brent Council departments in addition to the Neighbourhood Manager for the area.
During this walkabout I challenged them over the various issues that I had already written to bring to the council’s attention, but that still had not received the necessary action. These included cleansing, anti-social behaviour issues, planning issues, TFL land management and health and safety issues relating to a business in the area.
I again visited the area on Saturday 23rd March with three officers from Brent Council. Within 25 minutes we stopped 4 people from street drinking and issued them with warning notices explaining that they would face a £100 penalty if caught again.
In Westmoreland Road I challenged the drivers of three illegally parked HGVs and got them to move on.
The police joined us for this enforcement action and immediately afterwards issued 9 further warnings to street drinkers in Essoldo Way.
Following my intervention I have asked the council for regular progress reports. I am advised that the following specific action that has now been taken:
On Westmoreland Road, the Council undertook a consultation on extending the Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) controls to 8.30am to 6.30pm which currently operate between 10am to 3pm. Following the end of the consultation, I am told the majority of those who responded were not satisfied with the current operational times of 10am to 3pm and would like the permit holder bays to allow parking between 8.30am to 6.30pm, Monday to Saturday. Furthermore, the feedback indicated that residents do not think enough parking spaces have been provided for them and their visitors. They also said that they were not satisfied with the current parking enforcement.
In consideration of the review, the Council tell me that the Head of Highways and Infrastructure has given approval to change the current operational times of 10am-3pm to 8.30am -6.30pm, Monday-Saturday in Cumberland Road, Honeypot Lane and Westmoreland Road. Approval has also been given to create an additional approximately twenty-one (21) car spaces permit holder and pay & display bays in Cumberland Road, Honeypot Lane and Westmoreland Road.
Brent Council advise me that the changes to the operational times and the creation of the additional parking bays will be implemented subject to the making of the necessary traffic management orders (TMO) which takes up to three months to complete, assuming there are no significant objections during the statutory notification period.
The Council informs states that contact was made with the developer at this location and bollards have been installed on the railway side of Westmoreland Road from the development near the roundabout all the way down to the junction near A1 Auto’s.
Following the health and safety issues identified at a local business, the premises were visited by the Health and Safety Executive on the 24th April with a follow up visit conducted on 5th July. They served Prohibition Notices and Improvement Notices to address the risks that were identified. I am advised that the inspector will be following up with the company to ensure that these issues have been properly addressed and that they comply with the notices they have been served.
Both TFL and the Electricity Supplier were contacted in regard to clearing and making good the areas identified around the bridge and the substation. On my first inspection TFL had litter picked their land however a section beneath the bridge that is leased to an advertising company remained heavily littered. I am pleased to learn this has now been cleared. The Electricity Sub Station land was also cleared and has been fenced off by the developer who owns the land.
Doric bollards have now been installed along Capitol Way to reduce the opportunity for foreign HGVs to park along Capitol Way. However this is only an interim measure whilst the Council design a sustainable long term solution.
Queensbury Parade is now swept morning and evening to deal with the build-up of waste that is occurring and the double yellow lines on the roundabout have been repainted.
Brent’s Licensing team recently submitted two applications to review the premises licensed to serve alcohol in Queensbury Circle. I made representations to the Council on 31st May in respect of this issue. I am aware that Food4less had their alcohol license revoked by the licensing committee and they had the right to appeal this decision within 21 days, which they did not exercise. All alcohol has now been removed from the premises.
Hamilton news received a 3 month suspension of their alcohol licence. Restrictions on their licence will dictate they are prohibited from selling single cans, with only multi-pack sales allowed which must be under 5%, and they are no longer permitted to sell miniature spirits.
Following my intervention about anti-social behaviour – I am advised that a number of warnings and Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) have been issued to offenders and Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) prosecutions for loitering have been successful. I am told that around Queensbury green – Brent Council have now installed nine posts to accommodate 18 visual prohibition signs stating: ‘no drinking, no urinating and no littering. £100 FINE’.
Whilst I am pleased that enforcement action is taking place, I will ensure that the Council continue to use the powers available to them to tackle these issues and discourage this behaviour that is causing so much distress to residents.
I will be seeking further clarification on progress being made to implement the appropriate enforcement action and to ensure that the necessary steps are taken to address the pertinent issues affecting the community.