Brent to get new nursery, community library and £13m road to link homes as extra funds approved

By Staff

A North London council has approved an additional £4.1m to fund three community projects in the borough. The money will be used for a library refurbishment, creating a childcare nursery, and completing a new spine road to link housing developments.

Brent Council’s Cabinet approved the use of Strategic Community Infrastructure Levy (SCIL) – a charge levied against new developments in the borough – at a recent meeting (March 11). The council says the projects will “benefit both current and future residents” as house building leads to a growing local population.

The council has approved the use of £600,000 for the fit-out of Preston Community Library, £500,000 for the nursery at Grove Park Pavilion, and £3m for the completion of the spine road at Northwick Park.

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With around 46,000 new homes expected to be built in Brent between 2019 and 2041, the council has outlined a need for new and upgraded community facilities in and around the growth areas in order to meet this increase in population.

Cabinet Member for Finance, Resources and Reform, and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Growth and Planning, Cllr Shama Tatler, said: “All three projects are designed to create long-lasting, positive change to local areas for the benefit of the communities that live there.”

She added: “The funds from the Strategic Community Infrastructure Levy to deliver these projects will benefit both current and future Brent residents as the borough grows and prospers.”

Preston Community Library

The Preston Community Library redevelopment has provided 12 affordable homes and a new community space, as part of the council’s plan to deliver 1,000 council homes across the borough. The community space is currently a shell and needs SCIL money for it to be fully equipped.

Preston Community Library, which was based at the site before the development project started, has been temporarily located at Ashley Gardens until the community space is complete. The community group will once again operate the facility once the refurbishment has been carried out.

Acting as a local hub, the group is looking to provide a range of services for residents, alongside the voluntary sector. Alongside the new library, these include English classes to non-native speakers, a film club, art classes, and a memory lounge for people suffering with dementia.

The total expected cost of the project is £867,000, with £600,000 coming from SCIL and a further £267,000 from the Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (NCIL) having already been agreed.

Grove Park Pavilion

The Grove Park Pavilion is a two-storey community brick-building located on the north side of Grove Park, in a residential area of the Kingsbury ward. The project aims to refurbish the existing building to provide a new nursery for local residents.

The ground and part of the first floor has been in community use for over 30 years and was most recently used by a nursery. Since 2019, the premises have been occupied by ‘live-in guardians’ to prevent squatting or antisocial behaviour and it now requires investment to bring it back into use.

Due to the new housing developments coming in Burnt Oak and Colindale, the council says there will be a need for new community facilities. There is currently no additional budget for the project so the SCIL money would fund the full costs of the refurbishment to create the nursery.

The council estimates that the refurbishment will cost around £500,000 to “bring the property up to a lettable standard”. The works will include new flooring, windows and enhanced safety equipment, as well as toilets and welfare facilities.

Northwick Park Spine Road

Brent Council received a £10m Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) grant from the Greater London Authority (GLA) to help deliver a new access road to unlock Northwick Park as a strategic growth site. The new spine road and associated junction improvements on Watford Road are designed to manage the impact the new housing development will have on local highways.

The council states: “The new Spine Road promotes active and sustainable travel through the provision of a new bus interchange, a combination of new wide footways either side of the carriageway, including a shared use pedestrian/cycle path on the north side of the new Spine Road and a new wide shared use footway on Watford Road.”

There will also be new signalised pedestrian and cycle crossings and zebra crossings, linking Northwick Park underground, the University of Westminster, and Northwick Park Hospital, as well as providing a new link and junction in anticipation of the planned housing development and development works at the university.

There have been a number of changes to the cost to deliver the project including fluctuations of the contract prices, relocating utility equipment, and ‘unforeseen ground conditions’, according to the council, meaning the initial budget is no longer enough to complete the works.. The total budget for the project is £13m. The council claims the additional £3m SCIL money “is crucial to achieving project completion” of the new road, which will be adopted by Brent as the highway authority.

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