Cricklewood B&Q site – major development
Update – April 2022
In September 2021, Barnet’s planning committee met. The planning officers recommended approval; their report crudely and inadequately summarised 2,200 objections in half a page. The councillors were split 6 against 6, but the chair (one of the six who’d voted for it) then used her casting vote for the application.
After that, the council had to draft a legal agreement and refer the application to the Mayor of London; he’d have to respond in 14 days. We don’t know when Barnet referred it but we do know the Mayor responded on 28 March 2022, saying he wouldn’t get involved and the council was free to go ahead and issue its decision – unless the Secretary of State got involved.
Then we discovered the Secretary of State had. He’d ordered Barnet Council to hold back from issuing its decision while he decided whether or not to call in the application. As of 3 April 2022, we don’t know if he will or not. We do know very few applications do get called in.
Updates – more details, more changes, more objections
Update – New consultation – May 2021
The developers have given Barnet new pictures of the development in an “Urban Design Study” that praises it as generous, elegant and a landmark. Barnet have quietly opened a new consultation.
What we knew in 2020
When the 14 October 2020 deadline had passed and Barnet closed the online portal, 1,049 objections had been made!
Developers Montreaux have made their planning application for the B&Q site and Barnet have published it as planning application ref 20/3564/OUT.
There are 131 documents (including drawings) available to view on Barnet’s planning portal.
Our quick guide to documents
The files on Barnet’s planning portal have a mixture of names and it can be hard to find the ones you’re interested in.
NorthWestTwo have created a quick guide to help you navigate through them.
These plans show nothing much has changed from what they presented in January 2020.
They want planning approval for up to 1,100 residential units in blocks 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 25 storeys tall, with the 25-storey block closest to Cricklewood Lane.
These heights breach Barnet’s planning frameworks and policies, from the Cricklewood Brent Cross and West Hendon Development Framework to last year’s Tall Buildings Update and the policies referenced there.
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.
No social housing
There are no plans for any social housing as part of this development.
Out of keeping
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.
Most of the images in the application are fluffy green artist’s impressions that don’t show their plans alongside the shops and homes of Cricklewood. There are some “wire-frame” drawings showing thin outlines in the sky. We’ve tried quickly colouring them in to get a clearer idea.
We need to get up a little higher to really see the blocks in their surroundings. The application doesn’t do that and it gives us very few dimensions – only the footprints of the building plots and their maximum heights. So we plugged those into Google Earth.
The deadline was 14 October 2020 (yes, it was further extended).
There were already over 840 objections by the original deadline, and by the final deadline there were 1,049. They criticise the plans in so many ways, we can only try to give a quick flavour.
Some point out the plans are contrary to Barnet’s published policies on tall buildings and regeneration. Some highlight health facilities already closed or under stress and warn of local transport being saturated. Some highlight cramming so many people into small homes in a small space. Many point out that Montreaux intend massive development with no social housing and only an “aspiration” to provide “affordable” housing. Throughout, residents keep coming back to how disproportionate and overbearing these immense blocks would be in an area of two-storey and three-storey shops and houses.
After the deadline, Barnet’s planning officers will read the objections, examine the application, write a report for the planning committee and make recommendations.
The report will look at how the application fits in with council policy. It will also summarise and respond to the objections submitted.
Some types of objections can be considered by the committee, some can’t. We’ve produced a quick guide on making objections – maybe you’ll find it useful.
Please note, the report will hardly mention petitions and won’t consider them. There were five petitions against the Waste Transfer Station at Geron Way up the Edgware Road, but the report didn’t even mention what they said.
So, even if you’d already signed a petition, we hope you made sure to make your own objection on the planning portal too!