Brent Cross Coalition is calling for true regeneration rather than thinly-disguised retail expansion, as it rallies support ahead of Barnet’s forthcoming planning committee next week which will discuss plans for the £4.5 billion “new town centre.
The “Coalition for a Sustainable Brent Cross Cricklewood Plan” wants properly designed and well thought out regeneration, which will deliver real benefits to the residents of Barnet, Brent and Camden . Yet buried deep in the documents (1) Hammersons are intending to double the size of Brent Cross shopping centre and replace Tesco. However, there is no commitment to any of the regeneration south of the North Circular Road trumpeted by Cricklewood Regeneration Limited ever taking place. This is totally at odds with Barnet’s own Unitary Development Plan which emphasises affordable homes and jobs not shops, as mandated by Government guidelines.
Coalition members are preparing to speak out en masse at the special two-evening planning committee meeting on 18th and 19th November (2). Supporters are being mobilized from across Barnet, Brent and Camden to attend the meeting and rally outside Hendon Town Hall . This show of strength will demonstrate the widespread opposition and real anger against the destructive and damaging plans.
Gina Emmanuel, resident of Brent Terraces says:
Huge retail expansion has caused a traffic and parking nightmare for residents around Westfield in Hammersmith. We do not want that in Barnet! Why should we suffer so that Hammersons can make money with no benefit to us?
Barnet should care about their residents rather than the developers - we are still waiting for our elected representatives to deign to speak to us. Our friends in Brent tell us how their councillors attend every residents’ meeting and follow up their concerns with urgency. I even organised a tour of the area for local councillors, but none of them bothered to turn up.
Alison Hopkins, Dollis Hill resident says,
There are still many people who remember the chaos when Brent Cross first opened, due to totally unrealistic forecasts for the number of people visiting by car. We also remember how once vibrant local shopping centres were driven into the ground, destroying high streets that were the heart of many local communities in North West London.
Cllr Alexis Rowell, Chair of Camden Sustainability Task Force has now joined the Coalition, adding weight to political and community voices calling for real and sustainable regeneration.
(1) The report is available here
(2) Barnet’s Planning Committee has now released papers available here