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Barnet Times: Campaign Continues

"PROTESTERS have vowed to fight on against the controversial decision to allow a £4.5bn redevelopment of Brent Cross and Cricklewood."



ALISON HOPKINS, HUMBER ROAD, NW10 (delivered on her behalf by Viv Stein)

I’ve lived in Dollis Hill all my life and represent thousands of residents affected. The anger at these damaging, ill thought out proposals is greater than anything I've ever seen. We’re not against change or regeneration, but wanton destruction putting commercial gain ahead of community benefit.

Full detailed consultation has not taken place with residents. The continually changing lengthy documentation is misleading. It remains unclear and incomplete with studies and critical decisions not yet taken. Brent planning committee rejected plans, summating “we are being consulted on an idea, not a detailed plan.”

Petitions have been lost or ignored, objections downplayed. The Officers’ report mentions “postcards received from Bestway customers.” We – the residents - sent those. Public exhibition models left out the 140 metre high incinerator chimney.

The Mayor’s promise to protect the skyline of London – ignored. This picture shows the scale of the missing chimney. WHY, Mr Joseph was it left off the model?

Proposed road re routing estimates ONE FIFTH of south bound traffic on the A5 will turn right into Humber Road. A physical barrier currently preventing this will be removed. This is the narrowest of all local roads west of the A5, with already significant traffic pressure. It flows into other entirely residential roads, not main arteries. Traffic modelling and forecasts are inaccurate here.

This junction will also be the main access for the waste Dump.

The Developer has now admitted that the CHP will have a gasifying incinerator, producing char ash and dioxins.

I spoke on-site and at length with leading world expert on incinerators, Professor Paul Connett, Emeritus Professor of Environmental Chemistry at St Lawrence University, New York State. His summation…

“You would have to be STUPID to put one of these things near a community – schools and homes are being put at risk from non-regulated and potentially lethal nano-emissions.”

“This technology is NOT currently operating anywhere in the world.

“The US hasn't allowed any new incinerators since 1995.”

“This is NOT proven technology for domestic waste.”

“Both gasification plants in Germany have been shut down, one due to an accident, weeks after opening.”

Does Barnet know better, or have they been misled by the developers’ extensive PR?

Can Councillors ask the Officers precisely how much airborne and noise pollution will be caused by these vague outline plans. Full details need to be available now to fully assess the environmental impact; you can’t just fill in the details later.

Ours is a strong and vibrant community: We will not be dumped on or duped. We’re a quiet, green suburb, and bitterly resist this.

I urge you to reject the plans.

JOHN COX, NW10, based on this recent 'Ham and High' letter
BRIAN COLEMAN shows great wisdom in complaining about Brent Cross, and saying that Barnet should have copied Camden's Kings Cross Lands, in how to deal with redevelopment. (Ham & High, 24 Sept.) Councillor (and London Assembly Member) Coleman could have added Stratford City, Croydon, White City, Wembley, and so on to the "worthy" list. Unfortunately, Brent Cross and its PR agency deserve an award for a unique level of arrogance and meaningless consultation with the public over the last five years.

After the Brent Cross shopping centre failed to get permission to double in size in 2002, a big mistake was made. To see that, one only needs to read Barnet's "Brent Cross Development Framework" document on the council web site. Both Mayor Ken Livingstone and Councillor Salinger (then Barnet Council Leader) were gushing in their praise for the "innovative partnership" of public and private sectors in the massive scheme. So gushing, in fact, that they are bound to be interested in the European Court of Justice ruling of 2007, that "innovative partnerships" fall foul of European competition law, and that local authorities' sweetheart deals are unlawful.

The developers have treated the Development Framework of 2004 as an "approved planning application", and have kept saying that all-but-minor changes in the plan cannot be made. This has always been nonsense. What was devised all those years ago was only guidance on what could be done at Brent Cross, and the drawings were purely illustrative. Yet the end result in 2009 of five years of "extensive public consultation" is virtually identical to Barnet‟s original guidance.

The first many people heard of the £5-billion Brent Cross plan, including myself, was by accident when the London Communications PR agency organised a touring caravan of the development plans, the second series of which was in Spring 2007. This was a travesty. The PR people were under-briefed, and obviously knew little about planning. They described each of the proposed seven phases of the development, alongside large display boards. When one asked them questions, they said, "Errr, Well, I think that, Errr, I can't answer that, I'm afraid. Here's a FREEPOST card — please fill in your question, and we will get back to you." Discussion and debate was impossible. What a way to run a consultation!

At the time, in the "consultation caravan" I could not believe what was happening. The staff refused to say who they really were ("We are the developers!") so I sent a ‟probe email‟ to the address on the card. I said what an interesting plan it was, and received a charming reply from "London Communications". Gotcha! This PR agency, according to its web site, specialises in projects that involve local authorities.

The whole thrust of planning policy in recent years has been to involve the public more and more. (That is about to be reversed in matters like power stations and oil terminals, but a shopping centre on the North Circular Road is hardly part of Britain's strategic infrastructure.) There may be aspects of the other massive London development schemes to criticise, but at least no-one can complain about lack of opportunity to question, discuss, and be heard. I remember being consulted by Camden about Kings Cross in the 1980s, so the project that Councillor Coleman refers to has been consulted to death!

Where does all this leave us? It is not surprising that the Brent Cross new-town plan reflects the higher-carbon and car-based mind set of only a few years ago, before Climate Change moved from uncertainty to essentially proven. (As a motorist, I am unhappy about that — it is a shame to have to admit that we all have to change our ways, whether by voluntary personal action or by government legislation.)

With the Brent Cross application, the behaviour of Barnet planning officials has been exemplary, but they have had to try to square a circle — to be objective over what is effectively Barnet's OWN scheme. However, Mayor Boris's ambitious carbon reduction targets for London can only be met if huge new developments like Brent Cross are carbon-neutral. That may mean delaying until technology improves and commercial viability can be established.

All is not lost. Either Mayor Boris Johnson or the Secretary of State could call in the application, ideally before Barnet approves it on 20 October (come and listen at Hendon Town Hall, if it is not postponed for a FIFTH time). [LATE NEWS: It was!] To assist call-in, see http://tinyurl.com/BXpetition. Legal action can be taken. There is a press archive at http://www.brentfoe.com. And finally, decide for yourself! Read some of the evidence on the ‟Brent Cross‟ and ‟NWLLR‟ [ www.tiny.cc/NWLLRwiki ] pages of Wikipedia.

Chair and Members of the Committee, thank you for providing me with the opportunity to address you this evening. I am Dawood Pervez a Director of Bestway (Holdings) Limited, parent Company of the Bestway cash and carry that trades from Geron Way on land which the applicants wish to site their waste facility. We currently employ nearly 100 people at Geron Way and this store is the 3rd most profitable in our business. We own our land and it is in perfect location for us. We have no desire to relocate.

Bestway are not against regeneration and support the need to bring derelict and underused land back into active economic use. What we object to is attempts by greedy developers to maximise their profit by displacing the dirty elements of their own scheme away from their prime new real estate, just to create more investment value and developer's profit and, in doing, so place them on land already in active economic use.

The relocation of the existing waste facility reinforces the view that the regeneration scheme is totally insular and has no regard to the existing communities and businesses sited next to it.

I’m sure you will be aware of the strength of the objections that we have made to the proposal to take away our business. It is outrageous that, faced with such a large area of land which is in need of regeneration, there has been a complete failure to justify why our site is needed to accommodate the Waste Facility. We have seen the early correspondence from the applicant to the NLWA indicating that the only site for the Waste facility is our land and that this is "non-negotiable".

Notwithstanding that, we had been given written assurances from your officers that it would be down to the applicants to assess alternative sites for the waste facility. So - Where is this then - they have not done this at all?

I would remind all the Council and applicants that your failure to demonstrate a case for a waste facility on our land at the application stage does not bode well for you when faced with a CPO Inquiry. At such an Inquiry the onus of proof is on you to demonstrate that the case to take our land is so compelling and in the public interest. The fruitless pursuit of our site, without even the hint that the applicants and Council would be prepared to consider alternative options, is certainly not in the public interest.

We have spent considerable time and money to understand how we have ended up facing down the barrel of a major CPO Inquiry. Our team of technical experts and lawyers have unearthed significant errors in the nature of the proposals, their impacts on the wider area, the policy flaws and many serious errors that have riddled the Council’s attempts to designate our land for a waste facility. Thankfully we have a complete paper trail of all the errors, misjudgements, mistakes and inconsistencies that have occurred during the course of your Council's attempts to designate our site and during the consideration of this application.

We have made the Government Office for London aware of the significant mistakes that have been taken and our belief that the Council is too closely associated with the applicants and the land being developed to be able to determine the application. We are therefore continuing to lobby for a call-in.

Your officers have gone to extreme measures so they can stand before you tonight and give their support for this application. This includes the embarrassing concessions they have had to make that the Council’s UDP contains “unsatisfactory and inconsistent aspects” and there was “confusion and errors that arose at the final adoption stage” - to use their own words and further - In their most recent consideration of our questioning, your officers have had to make the extraordinary decision to reduce the weight that they are able to attach to one UDP policy, in favour of another policy, given the significant policy conflict that they are faced with.

Your officers have also had to concede that there was no assessment of alternative sites undertaken when your Council prepared and adopted the Development Framework for the regeneration area. Our QC is firmly of the view that this makes the Development Framework weightless on waste issues and represents no more than the “developers aspiration” of where the waste could go.

Such is the lack of evidence to support a Waste Facility on our site, that your officers are now having to rely on the draft of the North London Waste Plan, which was issued for public consultation last month, that is over 5 years since your Council allegedly made the policy decision to designate our land. This emerging Waste Plan carries no weight. Indeed, the authors of the document have already admitted that errors have been made in scoring of the sites, which completely changes the outcome, as the "top sites" change in order when these errors are corrected.

In summary, we are not prepared to roll over and give up our site. We have sufficient information to demonstrate to an Inspector or the High Court that there have been significant procedural errors, mistakes and misjudgements to the extent that the proposed location of the waste facility on our land is totally flawed.

Brent Terrace is a row of 105 railway cottages sandwiched in the middle of the development. I am here to state that the developers have not proved that the scheme is of sufficient quality to be approved. To do so I will outline one specific local issue to illustrate our wider concerns.

As they say: “The devil is in the detail”

· Brent Terrace is not a damaged community.

· In fact we are lucky enough to enjoy a real sense of community.

· Children play in our street and also on two green spaces that adjoin it.

· To read from the council’s report on the application (p178):

“The application proposes the removal of the existing two triangles of open space on Brent Terrace. These are not formally designated as open space although they are used by local people.”

It goes on to say:

“The development of these spaces is supported as they represent one of the few areas where it is proposed to build family houses”

Not units… or homes: houses. So it is intended to remove trees and green play space to make houses – despite Barnet’s UDP H20 policy aiming to ensure all new housing provides children’s play spaces.

This is our concern:
“They want to have their cake and eat it.” The scheme is an impossible fantasy.

In 2001 Jonathan Joseph wrote to us and agreed to restoring and improving the green spaces for play on Brent Terrace… Now they are to be dug up. Mr Joseph will say that we will have a new park provided – and with a slight of hand it is to be called ‘Brent Terrace Park’…

However this space does not and cannot, provide families with the essential overlooking needed for the ‘doorstep play’ that is rightly promoted as an integral element of the social infrastructure that the scheme claims to promote elsewhere.

So on the one hand the council recognises that people want to live in houses – yet to the west of Brent Terrace, overlooking us, they intend to build high rise blocks up to 13 storeys high!

Why does this matter?

· This matters because what you should all be planning for are genuinely sustainable communities.

· Places where people actually want to live.

· You should be building for a changed future:

· The context of this scheme has changed.

· The standards are set too low.

· We have seen the mistakes of the past being demolished all over the country. What makes you think that this massive scheme will really be any different?

· The developers have not proved that the scheme has sufficient Quality or Vision

· Or that they have the necessary humility or integrity for these plans to be accepted.

Do not pass these plans.

Committee members, I'm sure you're used to seeing applications that try and get away with something far more to the applicant's benefit than planning policy would determine. This is just such an application, writ very large.

The planning policy I refer to is the Government's Planning Policy Statement on Climate Change, December 2007, pages of which appear in my handout.

Second page [p1]: "Tackling climate change is a key Government priority for the planning system";

next page [p10]: "Spatial strategies" should "[make a full contribution to delivering the Government's Climate Change Programme and energy policies, and in doing so] contribute to global sustainability", "secure the highest viable resource and energy efficiency and reduction in emissions...", "help secure the fullest possible use of sustainable transport [for moving freight, public transport, cycling and walking;] and... overall, reduce the need to travel, especially by car";

next page [p11], and this is key: "in considering planning applications before Regional Spatial Strategies... and Development Plan Documents... can be updated to reflect this PPS, planning authorities should have regard to this PPS as a material consideration which may supersede the policies in the development plan."

Where do we need to get to? Professor Kevin Anderson, chair of the Tyndall Centre, writing in The Independent a few weeks ago, advised that we need complete decarbonisation of our energy supply in OECD countries by 2030.

On housing, BXC9 p20 notes: "for residential buildings, a minimum of 2-star under the Code for Sustainable Homes." The Code for Sustainable Homes goes up to 7, and Barratt are building a development of 200 Code 6 homes at Hannan Hall outside Bristol. Code 6 homes currently cost only £30,000 more per home than Code 3, and this cost is coming down. The applicant is likely to make far more than £30,000 profit per home in this development.

On transport, the Canary Wharf development has been served by new railway in all four directions, north, south, east and west. Dr Deutch highlighted the North Circular Road. We all know it's gridlock on weekday mornings going west, and gridlock every evening going east, plus rat-running. As John Cox mentioned, the application not only fails to include the proposed Brent light railway, but will rule out it ever being built. So this is backward-looking from Canary Wharf that was begun over 20 years ago.

I conclude with the comments made by Baroness Warsi, Vice Chair of the Conservative Party, on Portland, Oregon after viewing the integrated transport system developed there:

"Here they've got an eye on global issues and are responding with local answers. It is exactly the type of responsible governance that Britain needs".

Which goes to show that this is not a matter of left and right.

I urge you to reject this application


Thanks to all who contributed to last night's amazingly defiant show of strength in numbers. Your banners, speeches, cheering and applause all helped show our mounting opposition to this monstrous scheme.

Evening Standard: Protesters Fail To Stop Brent Cross Mall
Hampstead and Highgate Express: Barnet Council Approves Controversial £4.5bln Scheme
Times Series: Brent Cross Plans Outlined at Meeting
Times Series 2: Objectors Speak Out Against Brent CrossPlans
Times Series 3: Leader Backs Brent Cross Development at Meeting
Times Series 4: First Night of Brent Cross Cricklewood Meeting Heard
Times Series 5: Planning policy: We've Been ignored



Another milestone in our fight against the monstrous and unsustainable Brent Cross development approaches on Wednesday.

We need you, your friends, neighbours and colleagues to be outside the Hendon Town Hall at 5.30pm tomorrow,Wednesday November 18th with your banners, voices, but most of all your determination.

We demand nothing less than a full Public Inquiry so that these ill-thought out and shoddy plans can be thoroughly scrutinised and the concerns of residents, environmental groups and Camden and Brent councils can be properly addressed - not fobbed off by public relations flannel.

Together we can win.We are not going to let Barnet Council blight our lives and those of future generations!


Press Release, 16 November

Brent Cross - Public Inquiry for 2010 - Coalition

The increasingly vocal Coalition opposing current plans for Brent Cross is renewing calls for a Public Inquiry in advance of Barnet’s Planning committee meeting (1) this week. Barnet will decide on the plans this Thursday 19th November, after an extended session for speakers on Wednesday 18th , where many Coalition members, including Brent MP Sarah Teather and Assembly member Navin Shah, are planning to speak out.

The Coalition is highly critical of the scheme itself, and Barnet’s handling of the application during the consultation process. On behalf of Barnet Council, the developers paid for planning consultants EDAW to draw up a Brent Cross plan in 2003. The developers have since behaved as though this was an "approved planning application" that only needed the detail adding. As a result, public comments ever since have been ignored, even though the developers’ PR agency has gone through a “sham” consultation exercise. In reality, only very minor changes have been allowed.

Lia Colacicco, Coalition Co-ordinator and Mapesbury resident says:
Barnet’s “easyCouncil” has offered only a basic Planning service, which developers have used to call the shots. By paying for a faster, better service, they have taken charge of the application themselves. Brent Cross has showed that money controls the Planning department rather than the public interest. Barnet has been under the thumb of the developers for the last five years. They have let the developers ride roughshod over the public consultation process. The developer has either misled the public, or even worse colluded with Barnet.

This scheme goes way beyond Barnet’s own self interest. It will have far reaching implications for the whole of North London and should be called in immediately.

Sarah Teather, local MP for Brent East, says:
If the Brent Cross development is approved it would be a disaster for Brent, a disaster for the environment, and a disaster for my constituents.

Regeneration should be about making an area better, not making it worse. As it currently stands, Barnet gets all the benefits of the scheme while Brent is lumbered with the pollution and the traffic problems.

I hope that Barnet give serious consideration to the thousands of people who have protested against this development, by sending developers back to the drawing board. If not, the Secretary of State should use his powers to call this scheme in.

Navin Shah, London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow, says:
The Brent Cross waste facility - the ‘dump’ - will mean more lorries hurtling along the North Circular and local roads. There are serious flaws, like the very location of the depot, confusion and misinformation over the type of technology the plant will use, environmental impacts, dangerous road access from Edgware Road, and its proximity to residential properties and several schools.

The impact on North London’s traffic and transport has not been adequately or accurately addressed, and there’s no mitigation strategy. The transport proposals are heavily reliant on private car use, and there’s undue attention given to increasing capacity of road junctions. The developers’ forecasts are based on figures that are blatantly wrong. There is great potential to improve public transport, walking and cycling, but the applicant has failed to deliver.

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. If, as we fear Barnet approve this scheme, the Coalition will escalate their campaign for the Secretary of State John Denham to call in the plans.


Barnet’s Planning Committee papers at http://committeepapers.barnet.gov.uk/democracy/meetings/meetingdetail.asp?meetingID=5791


1. The “Coalition for a Sustainable Brent Cross Cricklewood Plan” comprises twelve residents’ associations plus the Federation of Residents’ Associations in Barnet (representing the 12 largest residents’ associations in Barnet), Brent Cyclists, the North West London Light Railway (NWLLR) group, Brent Friends of the Earth (FoE), Barnet & Enfield FoE, Camden FoE, Sarah Teather (MP for Brent East), Dawn Butler (MP for Brent South), Labour and LibDem Councillors from Brent and Camden, Navin Shah (London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow), Darren Johnson (London Assembly Member), Jean Lambert (London MEP), Brent Green Party, Barnet Green Party, Cllr Alexis Rowell (Chair of Camden Sustainability Taskforce), Barnet Trades Council ( TUC ) and Bestway Group.

2. The petition to call the development in for a public inquiry is available at: http://www.petition.co.uk/campaign_for_a_sustainable_brent_cross_cricklewood_development

3. The Coalition has a blog, which is rapidly putting news online at www.brentcrosscoalition.blogspot.com

4. Facts about Brent Cross and the Coalition are at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brent_Cross and




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