Monday, 1 November 2010

Brent Cross - Flawed Plans and Wasted Opportunity will Destroy Local Communities

The Coalition for a Sustainable Brent Cross Cricklewood (BXC) Plan has condemned last Thursday’s decision by a single unelected official at Barnet Council (leader Lynne Hillan -pictured below) to approve the fundamentally flawed planning application.

Lynne Hillan

The BXC Coalition fears the demolition of hundreds of local homes and road works on a massive scale will cause devastation to local communities.

Pauline McKinnell, Chairperson of  Cricklewood Community Forum and Hendon Way resident, says, “This scheme will cause huge disruption to the community for years to come. Hundreds of homes will be destroyed, with residents not knowing where they will be moved to. Home owners, many of whom have lived in the area for years, will be offered shared equity deals if they wish to stay locally, but details have not been worked out.

“The area is bounded by major roads - the North Circular, A5, A41 and Cricklewood Lane - that already experience frequent traffic congestion.  Adding 7,500 new housing units and 27,000 jobs will lead to complete gridlock.

 Boris Johnson who ridiculed protesters
“The concentration of new housing in such a small area is ludicrous. The only way you can get 7,500 homes into the area is to build enormous blocks of flats all over the place. Who on earth would choose to live in a tower block overlooking the North Circular?”

Navin Shah, Labour party Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow says, “The scheme fails to conform to a significant number of key planning policies. It is unambitious, and wastes the opportunity for a successful, green, long-lasting alternative to the car-orientated Brent Cross plans of the 1960s, by exacerbating that outdated vision.

“The planning process has been a complete shambles from start to finish, and required a much closer scrutiny by Barnet Council, the Mayor of London and the Secretary of State. This has not happened, and as a result the residents and stakeholders of Barnet, Brent and
Camden have been left exposed to a bleak future.

“The green light for the project means a huge letdown for my constituents in Brent and
Harrow, and thousands of residents in other parts of London. Every single authority responsible for the assessment of the planning application has abjectly failed. Barnet Council’s entire process was a complete mess.

“Super-hub projects such as this are condemned in the recent London Plan amendments, but Mayor Boris Johnson rubber-stamped approval of the application, and the Coalition Government too has shown no vision, and let people down by not calling a public inquiry.

My constituents are now left facing the prospect of hugely increased traffic and congestion, and an incinerator with a 140m high chimney, equivalent to a 50-storey tower block on their doorsteps.” 

Eric Pickles
Dr Shahrar Ali, Brent Green party spokesperson for Environment and Planning says, "Secretary of State Pickles, Mayor Boris and now Barnet Council seem determined to put the building of giant shopping malls ahead of the future sustainability of the planet. This decision betrays the short-termist political ideology of local, regional and coalition government. Local residents will renew their campaign to kick this over consumptive fantasy into the long grass!" 

Demolition of the Whitefields Estate, Clarefield Park, Claremont Way and the Rosa Freedman Residential centre, one of the biggest day care centres in Barnet, is part of phase one of the development, due to commence in 2014.  Many residents face a highly stressful future because of the developers’ failure to offer adequate compensation for the demolition of their homes and the cost of relocation.

The Coalition will continue to fight the plans building by building to ensure a sustainable scheme – one that the local community wants – is put in its place.  The developers have now suddenly stated that they want “meaningful engagement” with the local community and the wider area. This is laughable, because it should have happened years ago, before the plans were set in stone.   Instead, we face the existing housing and modern sports centre, and the modern parts of local schools, all being demolished.   We face future light railway and cycling routes being destroyed, with major increases in road congestion instead.  And we face toxic chemicals being emitted every day by the Brent Cross domestic waste incinerator.

To date, there has been no press release about this £4.5-billion redevelopment from Barnet Council.  Given the enormous impact on the Borough, and the rather minor nature of SOME of their releases, this is amazing.  After all the justified criticism perhaps Barnet is now too ashamed to publicise its folly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good post.