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[Reposted] Press statement, 2 November 2009

Brent Cross Scheme Slashes Promises for New Housing - Coalition

THE Coalition for A Sustainable Brent Cross Cricklewood Plan has learnt that developer’s promises on housing are failing to deliver. A cabinet report (1) reveals the number of new homes planned has been cut from 7,500 to only 795. This comes in advance of Barnet’s full council meeting tomorrow November 3rd, as calls for a Public Inquiry increase.

In effect the developers are promising fewer benefits than they did when the scheme was previously rejected in 1998. [Sept. 2014: Still true!] In the light of this, the Coalition feels that this strengthens the case for a call-in, if Barnet passes the scheme on November 19th.

Lia Colacicco, Coalition Co-ordinator and Mapesbury Resident says,
“Cricklewood Regeneration Limited promises are just pie in the sky. They have been repeating the mantra of 7,500 new homes, but in reality have scaled down even phase one, with the excuse of needing ‘an appropriate developer’s return’ (4). They are now committing to less housing than in the huge out-of-town shopping centre scheme that was called in by the Secretary of State in 1998, on the grounds that regeneration promises were ‘nebulous’(3).

"Furthermore, there is now no commitment to any of the future phases which would deliver the train station, hotels, offices, parks and so on. Only 795 residential units (1) are now promised.... so much for a new “town centre”! This is totally out of line with Barnet’s own Unitary Development Plan, which seeks to tackle inequalities in housing, so that ‘sufficient new housing development takes place to meet the needs of the borough’(2).”

Pauline McKinnell, Chair of Cricklewood Community Forum, and Cricklewood resident says,
"Developers have not listened to the needs of the local community, where 200 homes are destined to be destroyed in the wake of this 'regeneration'. 7,500 homes is far too much for this area in any case. What we need is a development that is worked out with the residents that know the area - we know where new homes could be built and have an idea what would work and what won't. We have met with developers, but they still haven't listened to us. We want proper regeneration, not degeneration of the area."

The scheme will be discussed at a special Planning Committee on 18th and 19th November. If passed, a Public Inquiry would need to be called within 21 days.

(1) Appendix 2 The report is available on http://committeepapers.barnet.gov.uk/democracy/reports/reportdetail.asp?ReportID=8579
(2) UDP chapter 12 reprinted in Barnet Cabinet Meeting 21.10.09 document para 3.4
(3) http://www.propertyweek.com/story.asp?storycode=2001895
(4) Heads of terms document para 6.3.1

Note to Editors: 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, and Bestway Group.

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