Superhub: email to planning, Barnet CEO and London Assembly members

After seeing the email from John Hooton (CEO of Barnet Council) to Andrew Dismore, we’ve sent this to planning at Barnet and copied him in, along with London Assembly members Navin Shah and Andrew Dismore. And yes, it really was only on Monday that Barnet released the Road Safety Audit, the resulting redesigns and the continued concerns of the Highways and Transportation team about several collision risks.

For the avoidance of doubt, we confirm that NortWestTWO Residents Association remains opposed to the application to place an aggregated and construction waste facility at 400 Edgware Road.

Over the years, we have attended or hosted, individually and jointly, a variety of presentations and meetings concerning Brent Cross Cricklewood. We have never had any sense that the developers, Barnet Council, Capita or DB Cargo would listen to Cricklewood residents and decide not to go ahead with plans for specific aspects such as an incinerator (or gasification plant) or an aggregates/spoil road/rail facility. We were spared the incinerator only because the North London Waste Authority decided they didn’t need it. Residents have come to understand that the council does not pay attention to their views and does not hold itself accountable to residents or responsible for the harm it may cause to them, especially when so many of the affected residents of Cricklewood are in Brent or Camden.

This has had a corrosive effect. Residents start to attend earlier meetings and presentations only so that they can discover what fresh hell has been prepared for them and prepare to give up time and effort to seeking to avert it. They arrive at later meetings even more angry and frustrated; Barnet officers who may not even be decision-makers bear the brunt of that anger. Executives and councillors stay away; they may be told that due consultation processes have been followed. They won’t observe the failures to communicate with residents, the partial and haphazard mailings, the late and misleading announcements, the last-minute releases of information, the layers of corrections and qualifications and the redesigns and safety audits released three days before the planning committee meeting, too late to be assessed or discussed.

In the case of 400 Edgware Road, there have also been formal meetings between Barnet Council, DB Cargo and one residents association, attended once by one representative from another. Residents have engaged partly in the hope of making serious inadequacies in the application clear to Barnet planning officers and partly in a despairing attempt to gain some mitigation. Such attempts do not imply acceptance; residents merely see it as necessary given that it is unlikely (or in the eyes of many, inconceivable) that a Barnet planning committee will reject an application from Barnet Council.

We have seen John Hooton’s account of the consultation process. That has driven us to offer the residents’ perspective.

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