In May, Barnet council planning committee met to decide the first reserved matters (detailed) application for the Brent Cross Cricklewood ‘Regeneration’ Scheme. What was the opening gambit of Barnet council and its development partners, Hammerson? To build on yet another of Cricklewood’s green spaces, in this case, two small green spaces where local children play; one is even a designated playground.

This planning application proposed a 50 per cent increase in the number of housing units in a quiet residential street – Brent Terrace – which would result in additional traffic and pressure on parking, which is already at breaking point.

After describing the street as unique in character, Barnet council and the developers broke all their promises by submitting plans to decimate this uniqueness. The hedgerow that runs the full length of the street will be ripped out. The blocks of flats and houses resemble town housing rather than the promised terraced housing, which would be more in-keeping with the existing two-storey Victorian terraced cottages. This town housing will overlook all the nearby existing homes, which are on a lower slope. They even increased the number of units by 30 per cent, when the original number was already far too high for such a congested site and road.

At a later stage in the Brent Cross Cricklewood development of 7,500 homes, blocks of flats up to 20 storeys high will be built at the back of Brent Terrace and the back gardens of Brent Terrace residents will be taken by the developers to provide a park.

One Labour councillor on the committee commented on the disproportionate emphasis of this £4.5billion development, on one small street, and said Brent Terrace was being asked to unfairly shoulder too much of the burden of this development. Another commented that the proposed buildings looked like a prison block that would tower over the two-storey Victorian terraced cottages and would completely destroy the unique character of the street. It didn’t matter that only days prior to this planning committee decision, a Hammerson representative admitted in a public meeting, that they hadn’t listened enough to residents, despite all the public consultations they had run. Well, they certainly never listened to Brent Terrace residents, who, since 2008, repeatedly asked them not to build on the Cricklewood green spaces when there are so many brownfield sites in the area.

G Emmanuel

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