THE Communities Secretary John Denham has put a hold on the controversial Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration scheme.

A letter sent yesterday to Barnet Council's planning department from his office forbids the granting of planning permission without Mr Denham's consent.

The council passed the £4.5bn scheme in November to a chorus of protests by the Coalition for a Sustainable Brent Cross Cricklewood, which represents more than 20 community and political groups.

The letter states: “The Secretary of State hereby directs Barnet Council not to grant planning permission on this application without specific authorisation.”

It means no work can start on the project, which includes 7,500 homes and an extension to the shopping centre, until Mr Denham's office is happy with the plans.

It allows them more time to look over the 900 page planning document and the other supporting documents.

Members of the Coalition handed in a 5,000 name document to Mr Denham last week calling for him to set up a public inquiry into the scheme.

On Friday Mayor of London Boris Johnson gave his backing to the plans, which are the largest ever in the history of north west London.

Jonathan Joseph from the Brent Cross Cricklewood Development Partners said: “We fully understand the need for the Government to take sufficient time to consider the planning application which is one of the largest and most complex in the UK.

“A huge amount of careful work has been undertaken to create a truly exemplary scheme that will achieve the lasting regeneration of the Brent Cross Cricklewood area.

“The BXC regeneration has received detailed scrutiny from all relevant statutory agencies including a special two day Planning and Environment Committee hearing and has gained strong backing now from the Mayor of London and cross-party support from Barnet's Planning Committee.”

He added: “We await the government’s decision in due course.”

For more background to the application click on the related links below.

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