Stonebridge, London

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Stonebridge
Lawrence Avenue, Stonebridge NW10 - geograph.org.uk - 297487.jpg
Lawrence Avenue in the Stonebridge estate
Stonebridge is located in Greater London
Stonebridge
Stonebridge
Location within Greater London
Population16,903 (2011 Census. Ward)[1]
OS grid referenceTQ203839
London borough
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Region
CountryEngland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townLONDON
Postcode districtNW10
Dialling code020
PoliceMetropolitan
FireLondon
AmbulanceLondon
EU ParliamentLondon
London Assembly
List of places
UK
England
London
51°32′28″N 0°15′50″W / 51.541184°N 0.263800°W / 51.541184; -0.263800Coordinates: 51°32′28″N 0°15′50″W / 51.541184°N 0.263800°W / 51.541184; -0.263800

Stonebridge is a locality in the London Borough of Brent that forms the western part of Harlesden in north west London, England. It is also the name of the largest electoral ward in the borough, which includes Stonebridge itself as well as Park Royal, Brent Park and the St Raphael's Estate. It is the most populated ward in Brent with a population over 17,000 with the majority of Afro-Caribbean heritage.

History[edit]

Old and new developments of Stonebridge Estate, 2007
The former Unisys office building at the Stonebridge Park North Circular Road junction, abandoned since c. 1996

The area was named after a stone bridge built in the later 17th century (when most bridges were of wood) over the River Brent to the north.

The exclusive Craven Park Estate of large houses was built in the 1860s and later, roughly at the same time as the Midland Railway constructed the Dudding Hill Line (now a freight line), which gave its new residents access to central London. However, the passenger service on the line closed for a second and final time in 1902, but only after a sustained protest campaign by local people.

Although other high-quality housing had grown up around the now-closed nearby Harlesden (Midland) railway station, the area failed to consolidate as an up-market suburb, because of the general expansion of London, increasing industry, and the building of low-quality, cheap housing, in the late nineteenth century. Sub-division of many of the large houses was carried out and Stonebridge became a low-income area, which continued after high-rise comprehensive redevelopment, mostly built in a single architectural style and called the 'Stonebridge Estate', in the 1960s and 1970s.[2][3]

Some parts of Stonebridge have always been in private ownership, and not been part of the Stonebridge Estate.

Demolition of an old 8-storey building in 2007 (replacement housing is visible behind)

Although Stonebridge is geographically adjacent to the Park Royal industrial estate, it is almost entirely cut off from it because of the Bakerloo/Watford DC/West Coast Main Line railway tracks and a large Royal Mail distribution centre.

Built environment[edit]

Some improvements in the street scene happened in the early 1990s, as a result of the 'Harlesden City Challenge' award of government money to the area, which was by now regarded as one of the most troubled parts of London. In April 1994, The Independent newspaper highlighted an unemployment rate of around 25% (compared to a national average of around 10% at the time), as well as widespread drug abuse, burglaries and violence.[4]

Most improvements, however, came after 2000, when comprehensive redevelopment of the 1960s and 1970s housing started. This is mainly complete by 2010, although some empty high-rise buildings were still being demolished.

A traditional street layout has been introduced, largely of two- and three-storey houses, often with four-story flats around street junctions.

The Stonebridge Estate has been redeveloped by Stonebridge Housing Action Trust, set up in 1994 under the Housing Act 1988, and with the aim

It responded with various training and leisure initiatives, and modern, low-rise houses with some four-storey blocks of flats, mainly on street corners to give variety to the street scene.

In 2008, the redevelopment was awarded the European Urban and Regional Planning Award, under the category Public Participation in Planning,[5] for its

The Housing Action Trust was dissolved in 2007, and housing is now a mixture of housing association ownership (Hillside Housing Trust, part of the Hyde Group) and reversion to the London Borough of Brent. Tenants were given a choice about which ownership they preferred.

Winchlesea Road, Stonebridge. The trees on the left have been protected by a Tree Preservation Order

New development on Hillside, part of the A404 Harrow Road through the area, includes private ownership of flats above offices, and a health centre. Redevelopment has gone hand-in-hand with training and sports initiatives for local people.

A tree preservation order has been adopted by Brent Council on Winchelsea Road nearby, to protect the street scene, forcing new buildings to be set back from the road. The "exemplary approach to public participation" award quoted above may well have been justified regarding estate residents, but there were local media claims in 2007 that it was not true regarding neighbours, as evidenced by Brent Council's willingness to protect the Winchelsea Road trees.

Crime[edit]

Hillside

Stonebridge suffers from high rates of violent crime. In 2015 it had the highest recorded gun crime of any ward in London.

Police figures for 2016-2017 included 768 incidents of violence and sexual offences and 868 incidents of antisocial behaviour[6]; in this period police abandoned more than 41 percent of cases because no culprit was identified.

Neighbouring Harlesden witnessed a huge increase in shootings from around 1999, becoming the highest rated district nationwide by 2001. This contributed to Stonebridge's reputation as one of the most dangerous places in the UK.

In 2003, 21-year-old college student Kavian Francis-Hopwood was shot dead on the Stonebridge Park estate. In the same year 7-year-old Toni-Ann Byfield was shot dead alongside her father.[7] In August 2005 two sisters and their mother's partner were murdered in a contract killing in Clark Court, Stonebridge,[citation needed]. In 2009 a young father was murdered outside a party at a Stonebridge primary school.[8] And in 2010 former Millwall footballer Gavin Grant was one of three men found guilty of shooting dead Leon Labastide on a street in Stonebridge: Stephen Batten QC, prosecuting, said the case reflected a "law of the jungle" culture of shootings and drug dealing on the estate.[9]

As regeneration continues, negative press coverage[10] is inching toward the positive[11]. Local schools are drilling teenagers in citizenship[12]. However, crime figures remain high. Police officers say gun crime in particular remains a serious problem[13].

Demography[edit]

Stonebridge has a large black population. The 1991 census showed that 41.9% of the population was black, the highest in Brent. This increased to 49.1% in 2001. The black groups are diverse, with Caribbeans forming 22.1%, Africans 19.9%, and 7.1% from other black groups as of 2001. Whites formed 33%.[14] Exact figures for Stonebridge are harder to absorb since the ward is geographically large and also includes both Park Royal and Neasden.

Transport[edit]

London Buses serving Stonebridge are:

Buses[edit]

Route Start End Operator
18 Euston Station Sudbury London United
112 Ealing Broadway Brent Cross Metroline
206 Wembley Park Kilburn Park Metroline
224 St Raphael's Estate Wembley Stadium London United
440 Stonebridge Park Station Gunnersbury London United
611 Stonebridge Park Station East Finchley Metroline
N18 Trafalgar Square Harrow Weald London United

Future[edit]

The North and West London Light Railway has been proposed for the area.[15]

Nearest places[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Brent Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 21 October 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  2. ^ "BBC News Race Special, Turning away from crime". BBC News. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  3. ^ "Stonebridge". Hidden London. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ [2][dead link]
  6. ^ "Detailed statistics for Harlesden, Metropolitan Police Service - Police.uk". www.police.uk. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Making sense of "senseless" youth violence". The Police Foundation. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  8. ^ "Murder squad detectives are calling for people who attended a party at a Harlesden school to come forward after a man was shot dead outside in the early hours of Sunday morning". Harrowobserver.co.uk. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  9. ^ Meikle, James (26 July 2010). "Footballer Gavin Grant jailed for life for gun murder". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  10. ^ "Is this how to deal with gun crime?|26Jul03". Socialist Worker. 26 July 2003. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  11. ^ "Gun crime: Notorious North London housing estate is reborn - Exclusive - Mirror Online". Mirror.co.uk. 24 July 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  12. ^ "Our values | Ark Academy". arkacademy.org. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  13. ^ Raffray, Nathalie. "Weapons sweep in Harlesden as police say; 'We're better than this'". Kilburn Times. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  14. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 December 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Reducing Car Use: Proposals for a Brent Cross Railway" (PDF). London Campaign for Better Transport. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 August 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2009.

External links[edit]