Bridge Park community demands halt of land sale in Stonebridge

The community at the Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre demand the halt of Stonebridge’s land sale to GMH holdings

A community battling to save a leisure centre from developers in
Stonebridge are demanding that the council halts the controversial sale of
the land it sits on.

Crowds accused Brent Council of delivering a “fait accompli” at a heated consultation event at the Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre, in Harrow Road, on Thursday night and refused to engage with a process which they said was “not relevant yet”.

Jay Martin, of the Bridge Park Community Council, defending the site, said: “This is not a consultation, it’s a fait accompli. It looks like this deal has already been done and decided. There are moral questions and legal questions to answer. There’s the possibility that this whole thing might end up in a judicial hearing.”

He said they had “an alternative plan” with affordable homes, commercial and
community space, adding: “Halt the sale and start again.”

In January Brent Council approved a conditional land sale with Stonebridge Real Estate Development Ltd a new subsidiary of the Luxembourg-based General Mediterranean Holdings (GMH).

The plans include a hotel, retail space and new homes in the empty Unisys office next door to the site, already owned by GMH, and a new £12.25million replacement sports centre, with a gym, sauna and swimming pool.

Brent Council’s chief executive Carolyn Downs, council leader Cllr Muhammed Butt and Cllr Krupesh Hirani, the community wellbeing leader attended the consultation with GMH representatives to talk about the deal.

The council had set up three separate displays highlighting ‘community
leisure/community vision’, the ‘overall development’ of the site, and the ‘land sale’ at the back of the room where people could simultaneously choose the questions they wanted answered by a representative.

Instead the community accused them of avoiding their concerns and angrily
demanded that they be listened to.

Cllr Butt said: “We held a consultation in 2013, we are here today to re-engage and listen to what you want in this new leisure centre. If people are talking about a community space we can talk about that, that’s what we are here for. We need to understand what the community wants and needs.”

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