11:52am Monday 23rd November 2009
By Alex Hayes
PROTESTERS have vowed to fight on against the controversial decision to allow a £4.5bn redevelopment of Brent Cross and Cricklewood.
More than 100 residents, campaigners and politicians packed out Hendon Town Hall last Thursday see all but two members of Barnet Council's planning committee give the go-ahead to the plans.
Outline permission was given to build 7,500 new homes, dozens of new offices, a new train station and if the developer can satisfy the planning committee the technology is safe, a power station.
Now a coalition of campaign groups has vowed to have the proposals scrutinised by the secretary of state for communities Lia Colacicco, the coordinator of the Coalition for a sustainable Brent Cross Cricklewood, said: “We're not surprised Barnet has passed this disastrous plan.
“We will be pushing for a public inquiry where it can be independently and expertly assessed.”
On Thursday Mrs Colacicco was one of 22 speakers, including one MP, two London Assembly members and council leader Mike Freer, to address the committee.
Leading Labour London Assembly member and former architect Navin Shah, who represents Harrow and Brent, says he will lobby the Mayor of London Boris Johnson to turn down the plans.
He said: “It's quite disgraceful, the planning committee has sold the public down the river. We've heard nothing in the debate which really took on any of the points raised by the objectors.
“In all they have inflicted huge damage by agreeing to a completely outdated concept.”
For more reports from the meeting click the Brent Cross Cricklewood link at the bottom of this story. Mr Shah branded the guaranteed 13 per cent affordable homes as “absolutely criminal”, saying the council should have agreed at least 30 per cent of the 7,500 planned new builds.
He also raised concerns about the chimney for the proposed waste and power station, which could reach 140m, the height of a 50 storey building.
He added: “How can such a massive feature not be bought into the public domain, especially without some form of design solution.”
Councillor Agnes Slocombe, Labour, the only member of the planning committee to vote against the plans said she could not back them because of inconsistencies in the traffic reports.
She told the meeting: “At present West Hendon is a nightmare at 4.30pm. 9,000 extra cars is not good for us.
“It needs to be looked at again, it's unfair. It will upset the whole of the borough going from north to south.”
However, another committee member Cllr Wendy Prentice said although she did not like some of the details of the scheme she feared rejecting it could lead to more problems later on.
She said: “The way I see it if we do go for it we have an overall hand in what happens, we can watch it stage by stage.
“It will come back to the planning committee and we can agree conditions and watch it all the way.
“If we decide not to do it will collapse and lead to what over many years will be a mish-mash of different planning applications over which we have no overall control.”
What do you think about the outline planning permission being granted? Leave your comments below.
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