Monday 17 August 2015

Monster emerges through the trees at Welsh Harp Reservoir

Readers will remember that there was a broad-based campaign opposing the Barratt Home development on the banks of the Welsh Harp Reservoir at West Hendon. Mainly low-rise social housing was to be replaced by luxury private tower blocks close to a nature reserve and SSSI. LINK

Unfortunately the campaign did not succeed and Barnet Council went ahead with the scheme. West Hendon Estate residents through their Our West Hendon campaign are fighting what they see as social cleansing of a community and working with Sweets Way residents to challenge Barnet Council Their passion can be seen in this video taken at a Barnet Council Meeting on July 28th when they presented their petitions:

Walking the Kingsbury side of the Welsh Harp on Sunday it became clear what an intrusive eyesore these blocks will be.  Sold on the basis of the wonderful green view of the Kingsbury bank that the new residents will see, on our side we will see tower blocks the tallest of which is 24 storeys.

The Minutes of the last Joint Welsh Harp Consultative Committee highlight some of the issues that are emerging during the building works for  resdients and for the Nature Reserve.

Looking across from the Kingsbury side to West Hendon, the nature reserve is on the stretch of water in between
Extract from Minutes:

It It was noted that the outcome of the public enquiry regarding the Compulsory Purchase of the West Hendon Estate was due shortly and further information would be circulated to all members with the minutes of the current meeting.

·         A short written update was provided by Terry Garner (Principle Planner, LB Barnet) regarding the position of SSSI Warden. It was commented that this information had been shared at the last meeting of the committee. The London Wildlife Trust (LWT) would be hosting the position and the queries regarding whether any charge would be made by Barratt London for the provision of office space remained outstanding. Dianne Murphy (Chair, LWT Barnet) advised that the job description for the position was due to be signed off imminently; the post would be advertised in the coming weeks with interviews being held in September 2015. It was anticipated that the Warden would be in position in time for the next committee meeting in November.

·         Concerns were raised regarding the level of noise from the development and the impact on the birdlife of the Welsh Harp. The committee agreed with the view that the planned measures to inhibit noise were ineffective. It was further noted that the contractors were not complying with the restrictions on working hours as stipulated in the conditions of the planning permission. Roy Beddard (Welsh Harp Conservation Group (WHCG)) noted that there had been no discernible impact on bird populations as recorded by the monthly monitoring surveys conducted by the WHCG. It was agreed that the results of these surveys could be circulated to the committee and the Chair agreed to explore this issue and provide an update to the committee prior to the next meeting.

·         Clive Cohen (LWT) raised concerns regarding the impact of the development on water quality and suggested that officers explore funding opportunities to enable regular monitoring to be conducted. A member highlighted that the Environment Agency (EA) did undertake monitoring of water quality. The Chair agreed to seek comment on this matter from the relevant officers.

·         The committee reviewed the written update from Nathan Smith (Barratt London) regarding the use of prohibited roads by contractors. Members of the committee reported that the issue was ongoing. The Chair encouraged members of the committee to report any incidents. It was noted that it was not always practical to take down the necessary details to enable accurate reports to be made. Possible solutions were discussed by the committee including the installation of cameras by Barratt London and the continued use of banksmen as it was possible that this acted as a deterrent. It was agreed that the continuation of this problem would be raised by the Chair with the planning officers in Barnet and Barratt Homes. Representatives from Barratt Homes would be asked to attend committee meetings in the future.

·         Councillor Langleben raised the issue of the impact of the Brent Cross Regeneration works on the Brent River Stream. The Chair undertook to write to Barnet Planning for an update to be provided at the next meeting.


Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group said...

Perhaps the only view that global investers/investors are really interested in is the view of their profits as 'austerity' is used as licence for selling off public assets?

Anonymous said...

The value of this kind of visual vandalism to investors would surely be much reduced if they learned that wrecking other people's enjoyment of their surroundings while also pricing them out of their own area was not without a cost. If the resentment of local people began to express itself in ways that made the attractiveness of the area rather less than it otherwise might be it might begin to have some effect.
'Despotism tempered by riot' used to be the British way I believe. Time for a return to traditional British values?

Alison Hopkins said...

That warden was supposed to have been employed during MY time chairing the WHJCC!

Anyone hear the Jeremy Vine Show last week? Someone phoned in about the new block that's been completed at West Hendon. Flooding, cracks, and doors not fitting already. :(