Mary Macleod Disappointed with Hounslow Council

Ruth Cadbury says Buying Magistrates Court not Practical Option

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Further to last week's statement from Mary Macleod, Member of Parliament for Brentford and Isleworth about Brentford's Magistrates Court and Hounslow Council's response to it as previously reported Mary has expressed disappointment with the Council.

Mary Macleod, Member of Parliament for Brentford and Isleworth, has previously asked Hounslow Council to explore ways of purchasing Brentford Magistrates Court on behalf of the community. Mary suggested that money could be used from the second phase of the Mayor’s Outer London Fund to purchase the building.

Mary recently had a meeting with the Design for London team who assess the bids and they were positive that the purchase of Brentford Magistrates Court could be added as an additional bid for Brentford. They confirmed that this would need the support of the London Borough of Hounslow, but that the ownership could be put into a trust in partnership with the Borough or a local community group. However, Hounslow council have decided that they prefer to use the bid for other projects within Brentford.

Mary said “I am really disappointed that Hounslow Council have not decided to use the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund to secure Brentford Magistrates Court as a community resource.

"The building could be used as a central community hub and resource to raise revenue and support local volunteers, charities and small businesses and bring people to the high street. Brentford High Street Steering Group are organising several events in the market square over the coming months with money secured from the first round of the Outer London Fund. I have written to the Chief Executive of Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service to ask if we can use the magistrate’s car park before a sale is completed, but once the transaction has been finalised, this decision will ultimately be in the hands of the owner. We hope that the new owners of the court will be sympathetic to our aims in trying to develop the area into a market place and will help to support the local community and businesses.

"It is a shame that Hounslow Council did not see it is as necessary to support this initiative. It may be too late now to bid, and therefore we have missed an exciting opportunity in regenerating the High Street and creating a long term lasting legacy for Brentford residents."

Cllr Ruth Cadbury has replied "I am surprised Mary Macleod is still sending out press releases on this, when I have explained quite carefully to her that it would be wholly wrong to commit tax-payers' money to taking over an old and expensive building with no credible business plan.  Ideas for an indoor market may be nice, but will nowhere near cover the significant refurbishment and maintenance costs of the Court House.  I would have thought that given her management consultancy background, Mary would have agreed.

"Interestingly I am not being lobbied by the High Street Steering Group on this expensive proposal, but have agreed with them that we should aim to bring the car park in front of the Magistrates Curt back into public use, and have included an element for that in our bid for Round 2 to the Outer London Fund.   I expect that we will be working with whoever buys the Court House to bring the area into active and public use.  For instance if there is a restaurant or bar in the building it would be great to have tables and chairs in part of the space."


November 11, 2011

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