Callous thieves steal plants from community garden

Spot the difference. These photos show a flower bed at HCRA’s community garden before and after thieves struck this week.

Volunteers who planted the flowers were shocked to find the blooms had been uprooted and stolen just days after they had been put in.

The plants had been paid for by two residents and donated to the garden project.

“This was a despicable thing to do and is a kick in the teeth for our volunteers who work so hard to try and make our neighbourhood a nicer place to live,” said HCRA chair Brett Lake-Benson.

The community garden outside the convenience store at the top of Rosslyn Crescent was built by HCRA with support from many local organisations and businesses.

It is maintained by a team of local people who expressed their sadness at the theft.

“We don’t really have a budget for maintaining the garden so these flowers were donated by two residents to fill an empty bed,” said Jo Stephenson, who lives in Rosslyn Crescent and regularly tends the garden.

“It is heart-breaking and dispiriting when things like this happen because it makes people think twice about getting involved in community projects. It makes you wonder why you bother.

“However, we won’t let this setback stop us from trying to brighten up the local area.”

Share your views on local issues at our annual meeting

Residents can find out more about the work of HCRA and share local issues and concerns at our annual general meeting on Wednesday, June 5.

The meeting will take place from 7.30pm to 8.30pm at 19 Woodlands Road. Everyone is welcome to attend.

The meeting will include reports on HCRA activity in the past year and a short neighbours’ forum to discuss issues affecting our three streets – Rosslyn Crescent, Frognal Avenue and Woodlands Road.

We will also decide on our key goals for the forthcoming year and collection subscriptions.

If you can’t attend the meeting in person you can pay your annual subscription of £3 per household via Paypal using the link at the top of this website.

The annual general meeting will be followed by our normal monthly residents’ meeting where issues are discussed in more detail.

For more information please email chair@hcra.org.uk

 

Harrow & Wealdstone Station gets a revamp

Work has begun to spruce up Harrow and Wealdstone Station, which was badly in need of repairs.

The £3.7 million revamp will include replacing and repainting windows and work to refurbish the bridge and lifts.

Work has already started with one half of the bridge currently boarded up and out of use.

The works are expected to continue until December this year. Managers have said the lifts will remain in use throughout.

Greenhill ward councillor Keith Ferry has been pushing for the upgrade for many years.

“I look forward to seeing a station we can be proud of once again – shiny, pristine and sparkling,” he told the council’s Harrow People magazine.

Volunteers take junk to the dump

A team of local volunteers cleared away tonnes of junk as part of HCRA’s annual clean-up.

The popular “Dump Run” event on May 12 saw neighbours collect unwanted furniture and other rubbish and ferry it to the dump.

The event is supported by Harrow Council and those who came to lend a hand included Greenhill ward councillor Sue Anderson (pictured above).

As always there was plenty of junk to cart away including many items left by callous fly-tippers.

During the event the team cleared huge amounts of dumped rubbish from the passageway that runs between Rosslyn Crescent and Frognal Avenue including mattresses, a rusty barbecue and other household waste.

The event is free but HCRA does collect donations to help pay for the hire of the van and other expenses.

Once again volunteers were treated to a delicious lunch made by a resident from Rosslyn Crescent.

HCRA chair Brett Lake-Benson thanked everyone who took part and supported the event.

“One of HCRA’s main goals is to make our neighbourhood a nicer place to live. It is depressing when fly-tippers dump rubbish in our streets and alleyways but we are determined not to lot them win,” he said.

“Events like our annual Dump Run show what communities can achieve when they work together.”

At other times of the year Harrow Council will collect bulky items for a fee.

Meanwhile HCRA encourages all residents in Rosslyn Crescent, Frognal Avenue and Woodlands Road to download and use Harrow Council’s “Your Place, Your Space” app, which can be used to report fly-tipping quickly and easily.

 

Chance to take a tour around your local mosque

Local people are being invited to take a tour round Harrow Central Mosque this Sunday as part of the Visit My Mosque scheme.

The mosque on the corner of Station Road and Rosslyn Crescent is one of more than 250 mosques across the UK taking part in the nation-wide scheme aimed at building bridges between communities.

The mosque will be open to the general public from 2.30pm to 5.30pm on Sunday, March 3.

Activities will include a guided tour, a chance to meet the Imam, and see live prayers at 4.15pm. There will also be a Q&A session and free refreshments on offer.

Free parking is available at the Civic Centre car park in Station Road.

 

Loss of parking at the Civic Centre could spell “mayhem”

The loss of parking facilities at the Civic Centre site in Station Road could result in “mayhem”, leaders at Harrow Central Mosque have warned.

Currently people who attend the mosque are able to park in the Civic Centre car park.

However, the number of public parking spaces is set to be dramatically reduced in order to make way for new homes.

Harrow Council is due to submit plans to demolish the Civic Centre and build 850 new flats and houses.

This major development is also expected to include a new primary school, GP surgery and shops.

However, there is widespread concern about the impact on parking especially during busy periods at the mosque such as the month of Ramadan.

One mosque elder pointed out there are already problems with people parking across driveways and in residents-only parking spaces near the building.

He warned that this would only get worse if parking provision at the Civic Centre site was reduced, predicting there would be “mayhem”.

HCRA committee members met with the mosque committee earlier this week to discuss potential problems relating to the “Poets Corner” development, including the issue of parking.

The two organisations have now teamed up to organise a public meeting this Friday to give local people the opportunity to express their views.

A “street stress survey” to assess how people get to and from the mosque found current parking provision was full to capacity during Ramadan.

While many people shared cars as part of efforts to reduce the number of vehicles the survey found this still meant a substantial number of cars coming and going.

Harrow Central Mosque said it was still waiting for the council’s response to the research and a petition signed by hundreds of mosque-goers.

The council has previously suggested there could be a park and ride scheme to ferry people to and from the mosque.

However, no suitable site has been found and the mosque has raised questions about the practicality of bus-ing large numbers of people to the building in time for daily prayers at set times.

The mosque has encouraged worshippers to make use of public transport but this may not be possible for those attending prayers very late at night or in the early hours.

Cycling is another option but many mosque users are too old and frail to jump on a bike.

Other concerns about the Poets Corner development include the lack of green space. pedestrian access to Harrow and Wealdstone station, and the impact on traffic and local services.

A formal planning application is expected to be submitted before council elections in May.

The public meeting organised by HCRA and Harrow Central Mosque will take place at the Jaspar Centre – the former magistrates’ court – in Rosslyn Crescent from 6.30pm to 7.30pm on Friday, March 1.

The meeting is open to everyone with an interest in the Poets Corner plans.

 

 

 

Concerns for future of probation office site

Residents fear the probation office building in Rosslyn Crescent could swiftly become a derelict eyesore after it was confirmed the facility had closed for good.

Harrow Council, which is the freeholder of the building, has said it is looking for a new tenant.

However, the erection of an imposing chain-link fence around the site suggests it could remain empty for some time.

If a new occupant cannot be found then the land may well be sold off to make way for more news homes as Harrow strives to hit housing targets.

“The probation office is an incredibly ugly breeze block building and now a big metal fence has been erected making it look even worse,” said Rosslyn resident Jo Stephenson.

“I’m worried it could be left like that for months which won’t be good for the area. I don’t think anyone will be sad if the building is knocked down but residents will obviously want to know more about any plans to replace it with flats or business premises.”

Greenhill councillor Keith Ferry confirmed the freehold of the former probation centre was held by Harrow Council and that the probation service’s lease had expired.

“The council has secured the property whilst we search for a new tenant,” he told HCRA.

If a new tenant is not found then the most likely course of action will be to redevelop the site amid pressure to build thousands of new homes in the borough, which has led to a flurry of applications.

Plans to demolish outdated office buildings on the opposite arm of Rosslyn Crescent and build more than 50 new homes have been submitted to Harrow Council.

A large-scale HMO (house of multiple occupation) was recently built at the top of Woodlands Road and there are plans to redevelop Watkins House care home at other end of the street.

Meanwhile local people are steeling themselves for the major redevelopment of the Civic Centre site with plans for 850 new homes.

 

New tree vandalised

A new tree in Frognal Avenue has been vandalised within days of being planted.

The tree, which cost £250, was planted by Harrow Council and funded by a local councillor from cash set aside for community groups.

It was planted as part of HCRA’s ongoing campaign to green-up our area, which has seen more than 30 new trees planted in recent years.

Residents expressed sadness and anger after the tree was snapped in two just days after it went in.

This is not the first time that trees funded by local people have been damaged or destroyed by vandals.

“Trees improve the look and feel of an area by bringing much-needed greenery to our streets,” said HCRA’s tree officer Helen Grimes.

“Volunteers from HCRA work really hard to raise money for new trees and get them planted so it is devastating when they are damaged.

“Each tree costs £250 – and many have been paid for from HCRA funds – so this is robbing local residents who have generously donated their time and money to try and improve the neighbourhood.”

HCRA has informed Harrow Council and hopes another new tree will be planted in the same spot.

 

Harrow remembers end of World War I

Harrow’s Remembrance Day parade is now the second largest in London, according to Harrow Council.

The annual parade, which culminates in a remembrance service outside the Civic Centre in Station Road, is believed to be second only in size to the remembrance event at the Cenotaph in central London.

Harrow residents can get involved in a range of remembrance activities as the nation marks the centenary of the end of World War on Sunday, November 11.

The annual parade, led by the Glen Trew Pipe Band, will start at St Ann’s shopping precinct in the town centre with servicemen and women past and present invited to join the march wearing their medals.

Relatives of those who have served in the armed forces can also take part and display the medals of family members.

The march will start at 10am and will arrive at the Harrow War Memorial outside the Civic Centre where there will be a wreath-laying ceremony.

The remembrance service will start at 10.45am, with two minutes’ silence at 11am.

Throughout the day there will be activities at Harrow Arts Centre, including the creation of a spectacular poppy war memorial honouring the soldiers from Harrow who lost their lives in the Great War.

There will be a recreation of a Western Front trench and the chance to find out more about the impact of the war on Harrow with staff from Headstone Manor and Museum on hand to answer questions.

The packed programme will also include an aeroplane-making craft workshop and a World War I sing-along session as well as music and dance.

There will be a closing ceremony of remembrance at the arts centre at 6.30pm, which will include The Last Post and the lighting of a beacon.

At 7.05pm church bells in Harrow will ring out as a fitting end to a day of contemplation and commemoration.

More than 50 new homes planned for Rosslyn Crescent

Developers have unveiled plans to build more than 50 new homes and new business premises on the sites of Lexus House and Miller House in Rosslyn Crescent.

Residents, who were made aware of the plans last week, have already expressed concern at the lack of parking for the proposed development.

The plans include the creation of 52 “high quality” one, two and three-bedroom flats as well as more than 1,000 square metres of commercial space.

Developers say the scheme will improve on the run-down business premises and offices currently on site as well as enabling other uses “more sympathetic to the residential character of Rosslyn Crescent”.

It includes a three-storey building fronting onto Rosslyn Crescent as well as a series of “modern” industrial units with commercial premises mainly accessed from Crystal Way.

New buildings would range from three to five storeys in height and the site would include 28 parking spaces plus 81 spaces for bicycles.

However, residents are worried the parking provision is insufficient for the scale of the development and the number of new households.

“Parking in Rosslyn Crescent is already becoming more difficult and the road is often very busy with cars – especially when large numbers of people attend the mosque at the top of the street,” said Rosslyn resident Jo Stephenson.

“Mosque users currently park in the Civic Centre car park but this is due to be turned into a major housing development so we are not sure where people will go.

“We’re seeing an increasing number of large-scale housing developments getting planning permission in Harrow without enough thought given to parking and unrealistic expectations that new residents will all travel by public transport.”

According to the developers, Miller House has already been approved for conversion into homes as has the Pavilion office building next door.

The site is located in a zone earmarked for regeneration and the creation of new homes by Harrow Council and the Mayor of London.

“The proposed scheme consists of a mix of residential and commercial buildings and proposes a residential element on the side facing Rosslyn Crescent,” said developers.

“This is consistent with the current uses along the street and will greatly improve the appearance and character of the streetscape.”

The developers have yet to submit a formal planning application but are inviting comments from residents via a dedicated website at www.lexushouse.co.uk