'It will be a living hell' - anger as Brent Cross Regeneration Project approved by Barnet Borough Council's planning committee

This Is Local London: 'It will be a living hell' - anger as Brent Cross Regeneration Project approved 'It will be a living hell' - anger as Brent Cross Regeneration Project approved

“Heartbroken” neighbours lost their fight to block the Brent Cross Regeneration Project this evening as councillors voted to pass the proposals.

Plans for the £4billion scheme, across Brent Cross and Cricklewood, were backed by Barnet Borough Council’s planning committee by a six to four majority, despite strong concerns from residents.

The proposals to rebuild Brent Cross Shopping Centre were given planning permission three years ago - but amendments to the existing application by developers Hammerson and Standard Life sparked a second meeting.

Speaking after tonight's decision, opponents vowed to rally together and decide whether judicial review would be a viable option.

Campaigner Lia Colacicco said: “We are absolutely heartbroken.”

During the meeting, many raised concerns about the size of the scheme, which they feel will have poor transport links.

Others voiced their anger about the well-loved Cricklewood Green Space, opposite B&Q, which is due to be demolished to make way for a new development.

Under the plans, the Living Bridge - a huge new cycle and pedestrian bridge over the A406 - will connect the north and south parts of Barnet with the west.

Supporters of the new route said it would vastly improve the flow of traffic, making it easily accessible for people in other parts of the borough.

But Lesley Turner, member of the Cricklewood Residents Association, told the committee: “This Living Bridge will be more like a living hell.”

Brent councillor Alison Hopkins called them “car-centric” plans for an “out of town” shopping centre.

But the Brent Cross Bus Station will be doubled in size to ensure adequate transport links, and plans to regenerate it have been brought forward to the first stage of developments.

More than 75,000 new homes will also be built under the plans, and 15 per cent of these will be affordable housing.

But the Whitefields Estate and the Rosa Friedman Care Home, in Cricklewood, will both be bulldozed and residents relocated.

Pauline McKinnell, of the Cricklewood Community Forum, said: “It will be a major disruption to their lives.

“It is a very stressful situation to be in, having to start again and make a new home for themselves.”

Speaking about the loss of Cricklewood Green Space, she added: “It will take away the only green space in Cricklewood Town Centre, which is a lung to the pollution and traffic.”

Developers said the current shopping centre is outdated and plan to revive it with an outdoor retail area, which will create 5,000 new retail positions and 1,800 construction jobs.

Speaking in support of the proposals, Jonathan Josephs of the Brent Cross Development Partnership, said: “People are proud of Brent Cross. It was once the jewel in Barnet’s crown and the finest centre in Britain.

“There are real and tangible benefits that will come forward quickly if you approve this. People need and will welcome the new jobs.”

Mr Josephs called the Cricklewood Green Space a “sloping void” - and after the meeting residents said they were “gobsmacked” by his comment.

Also speaking in favour of the plans was Barnet Council Leader Richard Cornelius, who called them “marvellous”.

Retail chain John Lewis has also written in support of a new and improved Brent Cross, with other firms also voicing an interest.

Rejecting the proposals, Councillor Jack Cohen said: “I get the impression the developers are playing fast and loose with the Cricklewood Open Space.

“Nobody knows [what it will become] - and if they do they aren’t prepared to say.

“Developers are so vague, and risks are so high.”

But Conservative Councillor John Marshall spoke in favour of the proposals, saying: “There are jobs to be created, homes to be provided, and green spaces to be improved and increased.”

Comments (5)

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3:04pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Petey1982 says...

I honestly cannot believe this - other than to pose for the picture at the top of the page, have any of these people actually been to "Cricklewood Open Space" or "Cricklewood Drunk and Homeless Toilet" as I prefer to call it?! I have lived opposite this sloping void (yes, I fully agree with Mr Josephs' statement) for seven years and have only ever twice seen it used as anything other than a meeting point for vagrants to pour alcohol down their necks, shout obscenities and generally make Cricklewood an unpleasant place. On the two occasions it has been used for other purposes it was to host some kind of festival where a bunch of terrible "music" acts wailed at several hundred decibels for 12 hours - which, incidentally I was not given any kind of forewarning about, but that's another issue.

If it were actually being used as a green space, perhaps with a children's play area etc. (I certainly wouldn't let children anywhere near it currently), then I could understand people being upset about this, but as things currently stand, I would far rather open my curtains in the morning and see a piece of land being put to use in ANY other way than my current general morning viewing of a drunk relieving himself.
I honestly cannot believe this - other than to pose for the picture at the top of the page, have any of these people actually been to "Cricklewood Open Space" or "Cricklewood Drunk and Homeless Toilet" as I prefer to call it?! I have lived opposite this sloping void (yes, I fully agree with Mr Josephs' statement) for seven years and have only ever twice seen it used as anything other than a meeting point for vagrants to pour alcohol down their necks, shout obscenities and generally make Cricklewood an unpleasant place. On the two occasions it has been used for other purposes it was to host some kind of festival where a bunch of terrible "music" acts wailed at several hundred decibels for 12 hours - which, incidentally I was not given any kind of forewarning about, but that's another issue. If it were actually being used as a green space, perhaps with a children's play area etc. (I certainly wouldn't let children anywhere near it currently), then I could understand people being upset about this, but as things currently stand, I would far rather open my curtains in the morning and see a piece of land being put to use in ANY other way than my current general morning viewing of a drunk relieving himself. Petey1982
  • Score: 5

6:04pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Jon10 says...

Petey1982 wrote:
I honestly cannot believe this - other than to pose for the picture at the top of the page, have any of these people actually been to "Cricklewood Open Space" or "Cricklewood Drunk and Homeless Toilet" as I prefer to call it?! I have lived opposite this sloping void (yes, I fully agree with Mr Josephs' statement) for seven years and have only ever twice seen it used as anything other than a meeting point for vagrants to pour alcohol down their necks, shout obscenities and generally make Cricklewood an unpleasant place. On the two occasions it has been used for other purposes it was to host some kind of festival where a bunch of terrible "music" acts wailed at several hundred decibels for 12 hours - which, incidentally I was not given any kind of forewarning about, but that's another issue.

If it were actually being used as a green space, perhaps with a children's play area etc. (I certainly wouldn't let children anywhere near it currently), then I could understand people being upset about this, but as things currently stand, I would far rather open my curtains in the morning and see a piece of land being put to use in ANY other way than my current general morning viewing of a drunk relieving himself.
That is no reason to get rid of it though.

Barnet was given it in 1986, as planning gain when Food Giant, now B&Q, was built.

For years it denied owning it, and would therefore not maintain it.

There is now a small Outer London Fund income for the local community to arrange events on the land. If you didn't like it last time, maybe the organisers are in learning mode, or maybe you should organise something else on the site, and get a small subsidy to pay for it.

The site could be lowered to pavement level, and be landscaped as a good-quality park. You seem to be a snob.
[quote][p][bold]Petey1982[/bold] wrote: I honestly cannot believe this - other than to pose for the picture at the top of the page, have any of these people actually been to "Cricklewood Open Space" or "Cricklewood Drunk and Homeless Toilet" as I prefer to call it?! I have lived opposite this sloping void (yes, I fully agree with Mr Josephs' statement) for seven years and have only ever twice seen it used as anything other than a meeting point for vagrants to pour alcohol down their necks, shout obscenities and generally make Cricklewood an unpleasant place. On the two occasions it has been used for other purposes it was to host some kind of festival where a bunch of terrible "music" acts wailed at several hundred decibels for 12 hours - which, incidentally I was not given any kind of forewarning about, but that's another issue. If it were actually being used as a green space, perhaps with a children's play area etc. (I certainly wouldn't let children anywhere near it currently), then I could understand people being upset about this, but as things currently stand, I would far rather open my curtains in the morning and see a piece of land being put to use in ANY other way than my current general morning viewing of a drunk relieving himself.[/p][/quote]That is no reason to get rid of it though. Barnet was given it in 1986, as planning gain when Food Giant, now B&Q, was built. For years it denied owning it, and would therefore not maintain it. There is now a small Outer London Fund income for the local community to arrange events on the land. If you didn't like it last time, maybe the organisers are in learning mode, or maybe you should organise something else on the site, and get a small subsidy to pay for it. The site could be lowered to pavement level, and be landscaped as a good-quality park. You seem to be a snob. Jon10
  • Score: -4

11:10pm Sat 1 Feb 14

Petey1982 says...

It's not about whether I liked it or not, it's about the fact that a large noise producing event was staged without even having the common decency to inform the local residents. Whether in learning mode or not that is really just common sense and absolutely should have been the first thing the organisers did.

Anyway, that is not the issue at hand here - the issue is that the space is just not being maintained and currently its only function is as a meting place for vagrants and drunks. I would far rather it were performing a useful function like housing or commercial premises or frankly anything other than what it is now. So in my view, that is an entirely good enough reason to get rid.

And you can resort to childish name-calling all you like, but I really don't think wanting my local area to become a more pleasant place to live really classes me as a snob.
It's not about whether I liked it or not, it's about the fact that a large noise producing event was staged without even having the common decency to inform the local residents. Whether in learning mode or not that is really just common sense and absolutely should have been the first thing the organisers did. Anyway, that is not the issue at hand here - the issue is that the space is just not being maintained and currently its only function is as a meting place for vagrants and drunks. I would far rather it were performing a useful function like housing or commercial premises or frankly anything other than what it is now. So in my view, that is an entirely good enough reason to get rid. And you can resort to childish name-calling all you like, but I really don't think wanting my local area to become a more pleasant place to live really classes me as a snob. Petey1982
  • Score: 4

8:02am Sun 2 Feb 14

mallowe says...

Huh, one fiddle after another and in the middle, Barnet Sodding Council!
Huh, one fiddle after another and in the middle, Barnet Sodding Council! mallowe
  • Score: 0

5:02pm Sun 2 Feb 14

Edgar de Jarnac says...

Sorry, Jon10, but I’m with Petey1982 on this. (And you can call me a snob, too, if it makes you feel any better.)

Giving a fancy name like Cricklewood Green Space to this pitiful (although allegedly “well-loved”) scrap of land does not disguise the fact that it is indeed just a sloping void used mainly by social outcasts, as described by Petey1982.

What a pity the Cricklewood campaigners do not have a broader vision. Instead of trying to protect a cheerless little roadside site, they should have been agitating for the creation of a larger public green space in Cricklewood, separated from the constant traffic noise and petrol fumes of Cricklewood Lane.
Sorry, Jon10, but I’m with Petey1982 on this. (And you can call me a snob, too, if it makes you feel any better.) Giving a fancy name like Cricklewood Green Space to this pitiful (although allegedly “well-loved”) scrap of land does not disguise the fact that it is indeed just a sloping void used mainly by social outcasts, as described by Petey1982. What a pity the Cricklewood campaigners do not have a broader vision. Instead of trying to protect a cheerless little roadside site, they should have been agitating for the creation of a larger public green space in Cricklewood, separated from the constant traffic noise and petrol fumes of Cricklewood Lane. Edgar de Jarnac
  • Score: 2

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