THE leader of Barnet Council was among several people to speak out in favour of the Brent Cross Cricklewood plans at last night's meeting.

Cllr Mike Freer admitted he had “many reservations” when he first looked at the scheme, but said detailed applications will help allay concerns residents have.

He said: “There is no public money underpinning this regeneration scheme, all of the investment is being funded by the housing development. That's what many of the objectors fail to realise is the reality of the scheme.

“I'm doing what I'm doing because I believe it's important for the long term future of our borough.”

Speaking about the power station plans he added: “I've been reassured the air coming out of the chimney is cleaner than the air going in.”

On complaints from Camden and Barnet he added “I do take exception at being lectured by neighbouring boroughs”, before listing a sting of developments put through by them he said impacted on Barnet residents in a similar way.

He closed the meeting with a stark warning: ““This is the only plan on the table. If it's refused there's not an alternative plan.

“We cannot wait another ten years for something else to come up, with yet another generation there with no development.”

Gary Ince, the chairman of North London Business Agency told councillors the plans were “good for Barnet, good for north west London and good for London”.

He urged them to pass the plans to create thousands of new jobs and help Barnet contribute more to London's economy. He likened the development to Canary Wharf.

Cricklewood resident Jonathan Caplan also backed the plans, saying the regeneration was badly needed.

He added: “This area is desperately in need of regeneration. The one thing that is regrettable is it has taken ten years to get here.”

In particular the new High Street and an increase in affordable housing and opening up sections of the area residents “do not go to”.

Golders Green Councillor Dean Cohen also spoke in favour of the plans, which affect his ward.

He said it would help link up the area which has been “neglected and cut off from other areas”. He added: “This is a once in a lifetime chance to change this with £1bn worth of investment.”

The final part of the meeting will be held this evening and the outcome will be posted on the Times Series website as it happens.