RESIDENTS, councillors and even an MP had the chance to air their views in the first part of a meeting to decide the £4.5bn Brent Cross Cricklewood planning application.

Twelve representatives of residents' and pressure groups spoke against the first night of the unprecedented two-day debate on the controversial application.

Council officers spoke for 90 minutes on the details of the outline application, which will see 7,500 new homes, 400,000 square metres of office space and 27,000 jobs created.

As well as this the developers are offering new health facilities, a new railway station, a combined heat and power waste handling facility, new facilities for three schools and improvements to open spaces.

Buildings will rise up to 25 storeys in the centre of the new town centre area, while the chimney for the power plant could rise to 140 metres, higher than the Wembley arch.

Opponents questioned issues including traffic, pollution, the safety of the power station, the size and scale of the buildings and the future of wildlife in the area.

The plans will be delivered over 25 years in nine phases on the 151 hectare site. The first phase would see the increase in the size of the current shopping centre and junction changes on the A406.

The scheme is recommended for approval by Barnet Council's planning committee.