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"Dollis Hill LibDem councillors demand details of Brent Labour Leader’s private talks with Brent Cross developers"

"Barnet Council papers obtained by Dollis Hill Liberal Democrat councillor Alison Hopkins reveal that top Brent Labour councillors have held ‘friendly’ discussions with the developers behind the highly controversial Brent Cross Cricklewood plans, which could bring thousands more cars onto the streets of Brent.

"Internal Barnet Council emails, released as a result of a Freedom of Information request, show:
  • Labour Leader Councillor Muhammed Butt and Lead Member for Regeneration and Projects Councillor George Crane, accompanied by Director of Regeneration and Major Projects Andy Donald, met the promoters of the massive scheme on Thursday 27 June 
  • According to the notes of the meeting:
    • The developers received a 'very friendly general reception'
    • Labour councillors’ attitude was that there were 'no fundamental problems'
    • Cllr Butt and Cllr Crane were 'pretty impressed' but might respond to major pressure from residents on the waste issue 'for political reasons'
    • There is no resolution yet to the waste issue.

"The 'Coalition for a Sustainable Brent Cross Cricklewood' has consistently campaigned against the current scheme – which includes a waste plant on the A5 close to residents and would hugely increase traffic in the area – and in favour of a sustainable approach to regeneration that puts residents first and improves public transport links.

"The previous Brent Cross Cricklewood planning application was unanimously rejected by Brent Council’s planning committee when the Liberal Democrats led the council, after Brent's council officers recommended refusal.

"Councillor Alison Hopkins, who is a founder member of the Coalition, says:

“The proposals have not materially changed since Brent Council opposed the previous planning application.

It’s not acceptable for the leader of Brent Council to conduct hole-and-corner discussions with the developers, while they try to pull the wool over local people’s eyes about what their plans actually mean. It’s clear from these private papers that residents are still at risk from the massive uncertainty over the waste plant plans.

Muhammed Butt and the developers should come clean about the impact of these proposals on Brent residents.”

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