Monday, 9 September 2013

Eric Pickles won't intervene in Welsh Harp development

Liberal Democrat and Conservative councillors tonight joined the Brent Council ruling Labour group to condemn Eric Pickles' decision not to intervene in the West Hendon redevelopment on the banks of the Welsh Harp reservoir and nature reserve.

The Barratt Homes  development in Barnet was narrowly approved by  Barnet Planning Committee but opposed by planners in neighbouring Brent. The reservoir straddles both boroughs.

The news was received only shortly before the Council was due to discuss a Labour motion calling for Pickles to intervene because of the scale of the development (flats of up to 29 storeys) and the damage it would do to a cherished and rare open space.

An amendment was quickly tabled condemning his failure to intervene and was passed unanimously in a very rare show of cross party unity.

Pickles to be urged to call in West Hendon-Welsh Harp development

The motion below is being put to tonight's full Council meeting by Cllr Roxanne Mashari. I understand it will have Liberal Democrat support but I don't know the position of Conservative councillors:

West Hendon development
This Council opposes the West Hendon Development plans which have recently been approved by Barnet Council and the Mayor of London.
Members note that the Welsh Harp Reservoir and Nature Reserve is the only site of special scientific interest (SSSI) in Brent or Barnet and has London wide and national ecological significance.
Members note that Barratt Homes has failed to address concerns raised by Brent Officers, community groups and wildlife organisations who have opposed these plans, which will lead to 6000 new residents moving into tower blocks up to 29 storeys high and the construction of foot bridges leading directly from the site into the SSSI. Members agree that the scale and design of this development amount to an act of environmental vandalism.
This Council notes that the scale and design of the proposed development contravenes official guidance in both the Barnet and London plans.
This Council wishes to reaffirm the value of our Welsh Harp Nature Reserve and reservoir and its belief that this site must be preserved for future generations.
This Council therefore urges the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to call in this decision with the utmost urgency. This is in light of the numerous and grave concerns raised by a number of professional and community bodies which remain unaddressed.