Westminster Council has started the formal consultation on the planning proposal that will confirm the closure of the Jubilee Sports Centre and the re-development of the Moberly site in Kilburn Lane (in Brent) as a new Sports facility. The development of both these sites will be financed by building homes for sale. This is the start of the formal planning process and we are encouraging residents to make their views known.
We, together with Karen Buck MP, will ensure that Westminster and Brent Councils undertake the widest possible consultation during the course of the planning procedure – as the two sites are reliant upon one another for a successful completion. Based on the current feedback we thought it would be helpful to outline some of residents’ reservations.
The re-built Moberly Centre will be a state-of-the-art sports facility, including two swimming pools and indoor facilities. That is not the issue of concern to most people. During the earlier consultation, many local residents expressed their concerns that:
•Around 5,000 people signed a petition to retain the Jubilee Centre (especially the swimming pool) because it is sited at the heart of the local community and is conveniently located.
•The Moberly Centre is in a less good location for the majority of people in Queen’s Park and Harrow Road Wards and is on the fringe of Westminster (and is technically Brent)
•The loss of the Jubilee Leisure Centre will have a negative effect on the majority of residents of Queen’s Park and north Paddington.
•There will be congestion and parking problems around the Moberly Centre, particularly along Kilburn Lane.
•The private housing that Wilmot Dixon is building at the Jubilee and Moberly sites will not be ‘affordable’ to the vast majority of local residents and will do nothing to meet local housing needs.
We have argued against the closure proposal on these grounds but, regardless, Westminster Council has decided that it will be going ahead with the scheme. We will be pressing hard on a number of specific points where safeguards need to be in place and where improvements can still be made for the community.
· Jubilee community sports hall – We successfully argued for a sports hall to be included on the Jubilee site after the Leisure Centre closes. Whilst it is not our preferred option, it is better than nothing. However, much depends upon how this is managed, as it needs to be used regularly and kept secure. This means some investment has to be made by the Council in the running costs.
· Informal sports facilities – Too many of our local Sports facilities need to be booked and paid for – which freezes out many younger and poorer residents. Under the present plans the Basketball Court behind the Jubilee will disappear. Not everyone will be sorry – but equally, local parents tell us that their children and youngsters need somewhere where they do not need to book or pay to play ball games. We want to see the Basketball Court space either kept or re-located just over the road when the Ark Atwood primary school leaves Third Avenue for its new home in Amberley Road.
· Need for real affordable homes – 72 new homes will be built on the Jubilee site for sale at open market prices. As the new homes now being built on Amberley Road have been advertised for sale at £800,000 for a 1-bed, the new properties on the Jubilee site will be out-of-reach of most local people, and will do nothing to relieve housing need. As Westminster has £100 million in its Housing Revenue Account, the Council can afford to make sure some of these homes are made available for rent & low-cost ownership.
If you would like to comment on the Jubilee planning application, it can be viewed here:
The application reference is: 13/12250/FULL