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Mrs Angry: "Less than best, or: in a private space - the secret story of West Hendon" (Sharing Barnet's Supplementary Planning Framework with Brent Cross)

Link to Broken Barnet
(scroll down then)

"... [The missing] information was the viability report, the original basis for agreement between Barnet Council and Barratts in regard to the latest, bastardised version of what had originally been intended to be, many years previously under a Labour council, a genuine programme of regeneration, but has now become a massively profitable private development, using public land. Land which we know now to have been given away, not sold.

I say not sold: in fact that is unfair. Three parcels of land were bought for £1 each, for a site valued at the time as being worth more than £12 million.

This 'Poundland' deal secured for Barratts a unique opportunity for a private development on the edge of the beautiful Welsh Harp reservoir, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, fringed by open space, a sanctuary in the otherwise relentlessly urban landscape of this area of north west London.

A unique opportunity, of course, that has been achieved by default, or rather by stealth, smuggled through the gates of scrutiny like the Trojan horse, in the guise of a scheme meant to improve the local community, but which in fact will destroy that community, raze it to the ground, to be replaced by luxury housing, luring overseas investment or those fortunate few able to afford the non 'affordable' price of properties, and neatly facilitating the Tory agenda of gerrymandering the poorer, Labour voting areas of the borough out of existence.

How did we get to this point? We went into the process of the Inquiry knowing only that we did not know, well, what we did not know: the details of the agreement between Barnet and Barratts, and in particular the nature of the viability study. Requests for this information had always been rebutted, and now at the Inquiry, when the Inspector was asked to demand the release of the study, the consistent argument against doing so from Barnet and Barratts, a line stoutly maintained by their counsel, was that this information was not relevant.

At the same time, however, the developers and the local authority insisted the compulsory purchase order for the properties in West Hendon were absolutely essential to - ah, yes: the viability of the scheme."

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