CAMPAIGNERS against a huge redevelopment scheme which has been halted by a government minister say it is their biggest victory to date.

Communities Minister John Denham barred any work going ahead on the Brent Cross Cricklewood development until he has more time to look at the 900 page planning brief.

On Friday Mayor of London Boris Johnson gave his backing to the plans which were passed by Barnet Council in November.

Now the Coalition for a Sustainable Brent Cross Cricklewood Plan are celebrating after handing a 5,000 name petition to Mr Denham last week calling for a public inquiry.

Coalition Co-ordinator Lia Colacicco said: “Hopefully the Secretary of State’s next move is to call a public inquiry immediately so that these disastrous plans can undergo full public scrutiny.

“We were hoping that John Denham would stop this dinosaur of a development.  He has much broader powers than the Mayor:  it could be called in on several criteria, but in particular because its effects go far beyond the immediate area, local people don’t want it in this form, and because it is completely unsustainable in terms of traffic, housing, and the environment.”

She added the plans do not meet the needs of the local community, describing the 7,500 homes planned for it as “sub-standard” as they do not commit to being carbon neutral.

“We are not surprised that John Denham has issued a stop notice,” she said.

“We want an exciting and innovative place, built around people and public transport – including a local railway like the docklands light railway. We need to use the latest green technology.”

Barnet Mayor and London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden Brian Coleman, who spoke against the plans in November, has also endorsed the decision.

He said: “This is fantastic news and the right decision from the Secretary of State, but I hope it’s for the right reasons.

“The current proposals for Brent Cross Cricklewood would destroy the character of the area and swamp the local roads with thousands of extra cars. It is totally unsuitable.

“I will continue to campaign against this development, and I hope the Secretary of State now calls it in for public inquiry.”

David Howard,the chairman of the Federation of Residents Associations in Barnet (FORAB), which is a member of the Coalition, said the scheme could now struggle to be built.

He said: “The timing is interesting. Its greatest advocate in Barnet, Mike Freer is hoping to move away from the Council into Parliament.   “Westfield sopping centre is under-performing. Brent Cross developer Hammerson is getting cold feet about doubling the size of the shopping area, and moving its attention to France .  “The housing market has collapsed and the Brent Cross model is out of date.  No wonder the developers have only committed to phase one.  We await with interest what will happen next.”

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