Saturday, 4 May 2013

Cllrs Hopkins' and Ashraf's submission on West Hendon redevelopment

West Hendon Estate today

Cllr Alison Hopkins writes:

I grew up very close to the Welsh Harp, and it was a playground for me – I was the classic small girl fishing for minnows with a bamboo pole for a rod! It’s a wonderful space and vitally important not just for Brent and Barnet but for the whole of North London. We allow it to be damaged at our peril.
I fought the last development proposals close to the Welsh Harp, and also the Brent Cross “Regeneration”, which will have major impacts on that area, too. When I was elected as a councillor last year, the one committee I was desperate to be on was the Welsh Harp Joint Consultative Committee, of which I’m vice chair and hope to be chair this coming year. Javaid, my predecessor, feels as passionately as I do about the importance of the Welsh Harp and its value to the community.

I think it’s safe to say that almost every member of the JCC is totally opposed to these plans as they stand: both I and Cllr Ashraf, who was chair previously, have written to Barnet Council stating our opposition in the strongest possible terms.
Cllr Ashraf has written as follows:
As the former chair and member of the welsh harp joint consultative committee, I am very concerned by the Barratt developments being proposed as below.
The size and scale of this development will change the landscape and surrounding areas in numerous ways including additional congestion, pollution, noise and nuisance.   
There will be additional vehicles and traffic as well as works traffic to contend with. 
There will be more people who will rely on local services and will increase demand.   Noise levels will increase and pollution will become a particular concern. 
From the previous Barratts development, I was concerned that the consultation was poor and despite numerous attempts to arrange a site visit, there were numerous delays and none forthcoming whilst I was chair.
The SSSI will be impacted by the size and development and this will affect the natural beauty and conservation of the area, resulting in loss of wildlife, birds and other animals.   This is a unique part in this part of London and we do not wish it ends up that the welsh harp reservoir and surrounding SSSI loses its interest and becomes an empty part of land and waters with scarce natural beauty.
Whilst I expect some developments to the previous estate on site, any new ones proposed should not be bigger in size and any overspill should be well away from this location and done on other land which does not impact so much on a historic and natural site.
I’ve endorsed his comments and added:
I totally concur and agree with what Cllr Ashraf has said.

I am also very concerned about the lack of proper amenities: for example, there is no provision for a medical centre.  As was stated at the last Welsh Harp JCC, the current local facilities are inadequate at the moment, let alone once massive extra development takes place.

The amount and nature of the social housing is unsatisfactory, as is the level of affordable housing. Social tenants are being pushed away from the welsh Harp to the A5 edge, with all the implications for living in poor air quality.

Tower blocks are discredited as a means of housing in what is essentially a rural suburban setting.

This is a totally inappropriate and ill thought out plan.
In conclusion, the West Hendon Estate has been neglected for decades and must be properly improved for the benefit and well being of those who live there. That means good open space, proper community amenities and proper housing, not high density tower blocks.

These plans benefit no one: indeed, they are positively destructive.  Barnet have a history of not listening to Brent and this can’t be allowed to continue. They also seem determined to build scores of inappropriate and unwelcome tower blocks all over the borough, but especially where it borders Brent.  We can and must fight these damaging plans.

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