Campaigners rally against development near Welsh Harp reservoir

Times Series: Derrick Chung, chairman of West Hendon Residents’ Association Derrick Chung, chairman of West Hendon Residents’ Association

Conservationists say developers’ plans to build 2,000 homes in West Hendon are causing a “severe threat” to natural wildlife at a nearby reservoir.

Barratt Metropolitan has submitted the planning application as part of the West Hendon Estate regeneration – but people living in the area fear the effects of the proposed changes.

This is the second time developers have attempted to build next to the Welsh Harp, a nature reserve made up of approximately 170 hectares of open land and water.

In the 1960s the area became a Site of Special Scientific Interest as one of the most important places for bird breeding in southern England. Many species nest in the Welsh Harp, which is home to waterfowl and a large breeding colony of great crested grebes.

Neighbours, who regularly use the Welsh Harp, say plans to demolish their current homes to make way for 2,000 new properties as well as a nursery and primary school will be detrimental to the area.

Among those fighting the plans is Derrick Chung, chairman of West Hendon Residents’ Association and a member of Welsh Harp Conservation Group.

He said: “We’re worried for the wildlife that will be endangered if these plans go ahead - this is a very important area for wildlife.

"But the residents are also worried because there’s no guarantee they’ll be given a new home once it is knocked down. This development must not happen.”

Councillor Julie Johnson, who lives in Woolmead Avenue, says people living on the estate must be put before the developers and their plans.

She said: “I want people to have decent homes but this is definitely being profit-led and I don’t think the existing tenants are getting the best deal.

“I was born in West Hendon so I’ve always known the Welsh Harp and I don’t want it to be jeopardised in any way – building 2,000 homes will jeopardise it.”

The plans also include a community centre and two pedestrian bridges over the Welsh Harp which is jointly managed by Barnet Borough Council, Brent Borough Council and British Waterways.

Zerine Tata, who lives in Hillcroft Crescent, Wembley, said: “I’d be absolutely horrified if this was allowed to go ahead. Welsh Harp is my local haven and when friends come to visit it’s the first place I take them. We’re very lucky to have it and so we must not destroy it.

“What is proposed will destroy the nature reserve and natural wildlife for good as well as cause pollution and noise. This is a severe threat to the Welsh Harp and it’s totally unacceptable.”

Ms Tata, 68, is encouraging people to submit their comments to Barnet’s case officer Thomas Wyld. To add your comment via the council’s website click here

Councillor Richard Cornelius, leader of Barnet Council, said: “People always have reservations about any regeneration scheme. Only a few weeks ago people were criticising us for not getting going fast enough.

“We think we can bring real improvements in residents’ lives with funding coming almost entirely from the private sector.

“The Welsh Harp is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and this will obviously be a key issue through the planning process.”

A spokesman for Barratt Metropolitan LLP said: "Our proposals will deliver the long-promised regeneration of the West Hendon Estate, breathing fresh life into a neglected area beside the Welsh Harp and achieving the council’s aspiration to create 2,000 new homes, including 25 per cent affordable.

“Estate residents and Barnet will benefit from a £500m injection that will see an increase in open space on the estate, more than 130 jobs provided for local people and the unique Welsh Harp being made visible from The Broadway for the first time.

"We are confident these plans will transform the local area by delivering a new generation of high quality buildings for current and future residents."

Comments (8)

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3:33pm Thu 18 Apr 13

BobGreen says...

Not in my back yard moaning residents dont care about young people who want to get a foot on the ladder. Let them live in slums as far as they are concerned. Relatively affordable housing helps fairness in a hard world (for people with nowhere to live).

Good on Barratt, they must build here.
Not in my back yard moaning residents dont care about young people who want to get a foot on the ladder. Let them live in slums as far as they are concerned. Relatively affordable housing helps fairness in a hard world (for people with nowhere to live). Good on Barratt, they must build here. BobGreen
  • Score: 0

5:19pm Thu 18 Apr 13

Neville Longbottom says...

The whole of West Hendon looks like a dump and needs regeneration.

As usual NIMBYs don't want the much needed change and don't want to be moved away from the area because it might become a decent place to live.

But I don't believe a word about 25% affordable.
The whole of West Hendon looks like a dump and needs regeneration. As usual NIMBYs don't want the much needed change and don't want to be moved away from the area because it might become a decent place to live. But I don't believe a word about 25% affordable. Neville Longbottom
  • Score: 0

2:27pm Wed 24 Apr 13

ChrisDUK says...

This estate is in need of major change and needs to be done, a better home life is what is needed and the enviroment around has been taken into consideration and an enviromental impact report was done on this.

There is a RRG Resident regeneration Group who has worked hard to make sure all residents dont loose out, has anyone asked them what going on NO, newspapers need get full story what going on not part of it.
This estate is in need of major change and needs to be done, a better home life is what is needed and the enviroment around has been taken into consideration and an enviromental impact report was done on this. There is a RRG Resident regeneration Group who has worked hard to make sure all residents dont loose out, has anyone asked them what going on NO, newspapers need get full story what going on not part of it. ChrisDUK
  • Score: 0

10:20pm Wed 24 Apr 13

Grumblepop says...

There is currently about 25% of that 2000 expected homes on that West Hendon site, many are young people whom are living in affordable housing with a fair number assisted by housing benefit because they cannot afford the full rent on the low wages about £6.80 per hour on average

That 25% can't afford to get on one step of the many schemes on today's building site Barnet shoeboxes from Barnet Council's Housing Association Partners or, they would have long bought their homes with Right To Buy. Those whom have bought and with the regeneration underway, they would be compulsory purchased at less than the market value. You want them to pay twice and/or dispersed to a home near you or, a decent place like Totteridge Woodside Park Edgware/Stanmore.

Affordable To Whom?
There is currently about 25% of that 2000 expected homes on that West Hendon site, many are young people whom are living in affordable housing with a fair number assisted by housing benefit because they cannot afford the full rent on the low wages about £6.80 per hour on average That 25% can't afford to get on one step of the many schemes on today's building site Barnet shoeboxes from Barnet Council's Housing Association Partners or, they would have long bought their homes with Right To Buy. Those whom have bought and with the regeneration underway, they would be compulsory purchased at less than the market value. You want them to pay twice and/or dispersed to a home near you or, a decent place like Totteridge Woodside Park Edgware/Stanmore. Affordable To Whom? Grumblepop
  • Score: 0

1:10am Thu 25 Apr 13

Mill-Hill-Boy says...

More places for young people to reduce rent costs and improve living standards is what north west London needs. What about investment in infrastructure like roads and a light railway to connect the suburbs of Hendon, Mill Hill, Finchley and Edgware. Building more homes warrants local government investment in getting quickly from A to C via B without getting stuck in traffic. Look what they are doing in Duseldorff. Build a brand new team system.
More places for young people to reduce rent costs and improve living standards is what north west London needs. What about investment in infrastructure like roads and a light railway to connect the suburbs of Hendon, Mill Hill, Finchley and Edgware. Building more homes warrants local government investment in getting quickly from A to C via B without getting stuck in traffic. Look what they are doing in Duseldorff. Build a brand new team system. Mill-Hill-Boy
  • Score: 0

10:56am Thu 25 Apr 13

Grumblepop says...

@Mill Hill Boy

As you know it all ended in the 30s early 40s at Mill Hill East. It is truly remarkable at the lack of any foresight by the Town Hall over the past 40 years concluding with the intended over density of the area. We have cycle rickshaws in London these days.to remind us of Empire so why go forward?
@Mill Hill Boy As you know it all ended in the 30s early 40s at Mill Hill East. It is truly remarkable at the lack of any foresight by the Town Hall over the past 40 years concluding with the intended over density of the area. We have cycle rickshaws in London these days.to remind us of Empire so why go forward? Grumblepop
  • Score: 0

5:09pm Tue 30 Apr 13

derrickchung says...

This regeneration has nothing to do with improving the area or providing Affordable homes an elusive definition that favours Barratts a company that has to keep its shareholders happy (Boris Johnson's favourit Hobbit habit builder) MHT a registered RSL that has no qualms when it come to making you homeless in order to make a profit, charities does the reverse. This partnership with the support of LBB is intent on the overdevelopment, overpopulating of the smallest of the 4 areas,with tower blocks up to 29 levels high with penthouses at an affordable price of £1 to £1.5 ml. Tenants secure, non secure, leaseholders, freeholders, have no guarantee of a home here, and will be part of the exodus to a reservation elsewhere. Both wildlife on the SSSI area and residents Habitats are at risk, so is the small areas of green space and trees. The present homes needs to be repaired to meet the Decent Homes Standard, the Health And Safety Regulations. Solved. NOT Stock transfer, Privatisation, Gentrification, What a dismal alternative to put Profit before People. Policy makers should have the pleasure of the first experience. Lets see how many of them caught in this situation would welcome a change of diet to Carrots knowing there is a hook inside.
This regeneration has nothing to do with improving the area or providing Affordable homes an elusive definition that favours Barratts a company that has to keep its shareholders happy (Boris Johnson's favourit Hobbit habit builder) MHT a registered RSL that has no qualms when it come to making you homeless in order to make a profit, charities does the reverse. This partnership with the support of LBB is intent on the overdevelopment, overpopulating of the smallest of the 4 areas,with tower blocks up to 29 levels high with penthouses at an affordable price of £1 to £1.5 ml. Tenants secure, non secure, leaseholders, freeholders, have no guarantee of a home here, and will be part of the exodus to a reservation elsewhere. Both wildlife on the SSSI area and residents Habitats are at risk, so is the small areas of green space and trees. The present homes needs to be repaired to meet the Decent Homes Standard, the Health And Safety Regulations. Solved. NOT Stock transfer, Privatisation, Gentrification, What a dismal alternative to put Profit before People. Policy makers should have the pleasure of the first experience. Lets see how many of them caught in this situation would welcome a change of diet to Carrots knowing there is a hook inside. derrickchung
  • Score: 0

6:48pm Tue 30 Apr 13

derrickchung says...

The Planning department would have approved the planning application, although Quote " We have the power to refuse any planning application that would over-develop, over-populate, high rise tower blocks, buildings not in character with the immediate surroundings, any likely to cause damage to the present environment, not of benefit to or what the residents want, non sustainable infrastructure, etc, etc. The Planning Committee would also have to approve, with the final decision up to the cabinet. How Disgracefully Comforting to know that those publicly elected to office, or appointed on the premise to Stand Up for the disadvantaged a we are, are actually Standing on us instead.
The Planning department would have approved the planning application, although Quote " We have the power to refuse any planning application that would over-develop, over-populate, high rise tower blocks, buildings not in character with the immediate surroundings, any likely to cause damage to the present environment, not of benefit to or what the residents want, non sustainable infrastructure, etc, etc. The Planning Committee would also have to approve, with the final decision up to the cabinet. How Disgracefully Comforting to know that those publicly elected to office, or appointed on the premise to Stand Up for the disadvantaged a we are, are actually Standing on us instead. derrickchung
  • Score: 0

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