Walking through Stonebridge in North West London, it’s hard to see at first glance how it gained such a fearsome reputation. This is an area that regularly tops Brent’s crime statistics charts and for many years had a serious problem with gun violence.
In 2015, Stonebridge was named the best “guns hotspot” in London, with 16 incidents reported that year. Things have since improved, and there has only been one recorded gun crime in 2022.
It is therefore logical that residents told the Local Democracy Information Service that there was no reason to feel unsafe in their neighborhood “as long as you keep to yourselves”. Locals, however, have complained that the area has been neglected for decades, with few community facilities and little for young people to do.
READ MORE: Plan to bulldoze ‘beautiful’ North London villa for council houses faces new battle
There are also concerns that vulnerable people – including drug addicts and people with long-term mental health issues – are being housed together at Stonebridge, with little support in place. Phillip Chung, who has spent time in several areas in Brent, said Stonebridge is far from looking like a prosperous area. He urged the council to invest in the area, but he didn’t hold out much hope.
Philip said: “They don’t care about Stonebridge at all. We’ve all heard it millions of times before and nothing happens. Why should I waste my time voting for these people when they won’t do anything for the region?
He said it’s the younger generations he feels most sorry for because, in his view, they don’t have much to aspire to in Stonebridge. He added: “There is absolutely nothing for young people here. Where are the parks? Where are the gyms? Even to go to the shops properly, you have to go to Harlesden. They have nothing to do but hang out. And then you wonder why they might get into trouble.
Phillip also believes people struggling with drug addiction are “thrown” onto the estate, which he says doesn’t benefit anyone. He said: “People are staying here and within hours they have turned their home into a crack den. Some properties are 24 hour party places. Anyone can see this is a problem, but it keeps happening.
Roy Campbell, 76, who has lived in Stonebridge for more than 30 years, agreed the area was a little unloved. A landlord, he said there was no point trying to move because he couldn’t afford to live anywhere else in London.
He said, “Why should I move? I have lived in London since I arrived from Jamaica in 1962. My whole family is here. All my friends are here. I just want to live in a nice place. There is rubbish that stays for weeks, there are holes in the ground that could be dangerous for children running around. It’s not too much to ask the city council to look after the area a bit.
Another Stonebridge resident, Patrick, who would not reveal his surname, said there were problems with alcoholics roaming the streets and authorities were making little attempt to address the issue. He added: “I’ve only been here about six months but I’ve known the area for years and it’s been left to rot. You see very few police here, it’s like they let people do their thing. anything. It’s the kind of place you save money to move to.”
Brent Council have insisted that Stonebridge has been supported for a number of years, and this remains a key objective when it comes to improving the borough. A council spokesman said: ‘Over the past two years there has been considerable investment in Stonebridge, ranging from new homes and major improvements to Stonebridge Estate to nearly 100 new trees planted in public areas of the piece.
“The next few years will see new investments. This includes new social housing and affordable workspaces in Morland Gardens and new social housing and estate-wide improvements in St Raphael’s. In addition, Stonebridge will receive a brand new secondary school and a sixth form college, currently under construction. The council is also working with the local community on a new project to improve local parks and green spaces in the area. »