Cricklewood B&Q site – May 2021 consultation

Cricklewood B&Q site – new consultation

Barnet’s planning portal is now closed with 750 more objections. You can still email objections to planning.consultation@barnet.gov.uk.

View of proposed tower blocks seen from corner of Lichfield Road near Cricklewood Station.
Developer Montreaux’s new view of their proposed towers above the station. The consultants working for the developers call it “demonstrably beneficial” and praise “the architectural celebration at the top of the landmark element”.

Montreaux have provided a revised transported assessment and a new “Urban Design Study”. This has views from street level of what the buildings might look like, and lots of text praising them. We’ve quoted some in the captions but there’s a lot more like this.

The developers aren’t committing themselves to building exactly like this, only to overall heights and footprints.

Our helicopter view of the overall outline - the maximum heights and the footprints
It’s an outline planning application to allow buildings that fit into these overall heights and footprints, shown in our Google Earth view. All their images are “illustrative”.

New consultation now open – tell them again!

Barnet council have launched a new round of consultation. It was running for only two weeks but has now been extended by a few days to 3 June 2021.

Barnet did not advertise this. There are no notices around the site. They didn’t tell us. We only found it when we looked on the website. They did eventually write to the thousand objectors.

Will our thousand objections still count?

They had a thousand objections already in 2020. Maybe someone’s hoping that those can be ignored now that there are pretty new pictures and fine words to “prove” our objections aren’t justified.

Developers' view of the tower blocks seen from Kara Way, beside the children's playground
Their picture of the blocks above the Kara Way playground at the end of the Railway Terraces of tower blocks 15 to 25 storeys high.

Our view

Our view is that these are just as we thoughtoverbearing, overwhelming, out of keeping with Cricklewood and not even providing any social housing.

Developers' picture of tower blocks seen looking along Ashford Road
Looking along Ashford Road. They say “to the right are their animated tops, where there is a generosity of detail and a separation of the planes. The group embody an interesting progression of architectural status, the highest clearly representing a genuine landmark. … moderate impact … beneficial effect.”

Their wide “photorealistic” pictures don’t show how ordinary humans see things. We don’t have wide-angle vision. We’ll look down the road and see the view full of tower blocks.

Overwhelming

It’s extraordinarily high-density and it would overwhelm the centre of Cricklewood, looming not only above its nearest neighbours in Barnet but all the Brent and Camden residents of Cricklewood too, and stress facilities to breaking point.

Developers' view of tower blocks seen looking along Elm Grove
View from the end of Elm Grove. They say “the generously formed top of the landmark building signals a meaningful place and provides a visually rich incident. This gives rise to a moderate impact on the view, but one which adds a beneficial and meaningful layer of townscape in the view.”

Overbearing

The Urban Design Study insists on the elegance of the tallest building. It insists that it will be a landmark with an “open and generous crown”, as if they’re doing us all a favour. But there’s no justifying height like that in Cricklewood.

View along Oak Grove from the Ash Grove junction. They say “This terminating feature is a meaningful landmark and its architecture supports that function with its elegant form, textural simplicity, compatible choice of material, and celebratory top.”
Developers' view of tower block seen from Cricklewood Broadway
View from the Broadway. They say “the all-important signal of the landmark through the visibility of its distinctive top will remain, if only in part. The rendered image illustrates the quality of the architecture, its planar form, each elevation breaking at the corners to allow the strong vertical stacks of balconies to contribute to its elegance.”

Out of keeping

Stand far enough away and maybe a tree will hide part of one building. The rest will fill the view.

View along Chichele Road. They say “They recede as accents against the sky, much as the Mosque campanile does. While the apparent scale is compatible with the context, the verticality of the various elements has the campanile as a companion. While the maximum parameters defy the elegance, in their slimmer form and sympathetic materiality, qualities of compatibility with their context and marking of the centre, public landscaped spaces and the station give rise to a moderate impact which is beneficial to the townscape.”

The scale and height proposed are not in keeping with the local 2- and 3-storey buildings. Nothing in the Cricklewood area is as tall as this or as dense as this.

Developers' helicopter view of tower blocks, with lower houses and other bui;dings around them.
Helicopter view. They say “Its joyful and generously designed top adds meaning and richness to the vistas and glimpses above existing buildings in a celebratory and thoughtful way.” They say “it is has the right to be visible”.

Transport Assessment

There’s so much to say about the transport assessment but it’s long and it’s technical and we’re still getting to grips with it. Here’s some highlights.

Parking

It says there’ll be 110 parking places for the 1100 flats. About 33 will be for people with disabilities. It doesn’t say how the others will be allocated. They might go with the most expensive flats, or maybe there’ll be bidding wars. New residents will be told they can’t park on the streets.

Walking

For pedestrians, the assessment says the pavements under the railway bridge may need barriers. It doesn’t say how we’ll squeeze through if there are barriers.

Cycling

It says it’s a good area for cycling, but then shows bad scores for Healthy Streets. It says that “Crossing Cricklewood Broadway presents safety concerns for cyclists and it is likely that most will dismount and use the pedestrian crossing“. Cyclists will also be allowed to use the narrow pedestrian paths through the development (that’s promoted as a benefit for Cricklewood). It’s a recipe for conflict between pedestrians and cyclists. There’s to be a welcome pack when you move in but there’s no realistic developing longterm commitment to helping and encouraging people in the development to cycle.

Rail

It admits they got their rail assessment wildly wrong, thinking there were 12 trains into London every hour and they were much larger. Now they say that from those 1100 flats, there’ll be 88 passengers going south in peak hour, and suggest this might affect how much money the developers pay Barnet.

New consultation

The new public consultation’s is now open until 3 June 2021. Maybe you already objected last year. More than a thousand people did. But now they’ve opened a new consultation so this is your chance to object again and tell them that these fine words and photorealistic pictures don’t make it any better or any more acceptable.

The new deadline’s Thursday 3 June 2021.

Update 2 June 2021: Barnet’s planning portal shows they’ve received another 600 objections in two weeks. You can read them there and you can also read ours here on our website. Tepbrook, the owners of 194-196 Cricklewood Broadway (the Galtymore site) and Depot Approach have also sent very strong objections dated 28 May 2021 and 10 November 2020, but they’re not visible on the Barnet website. Instead, you can read them here, as forwarded by Cllr Anne Clarke with Tepbrook’s permission.

Comments are closed.