Brent School Without Walls submission

23 Saltcroft Close.

Objection to Planning Application H/01054/13 West Hendon Estate – demolition and redevelopment of the West Hendon Estate.

My status: Brent resident, school governor and provider of environmental education to primary pupils through the voluntary organisation Brent School Without Walls:

Reasons for Objection

1.      Protection of Site of Special Scientific Interest, wildfowl reserve and Metropolitan Open Land. Brent and Barnet LAs have been successful in cooperating on the protection of this SSSI in line with government policy but in my view the development would have a detrimental impact. The density of the new development, the height of the buildings and their closeness to the shoreline would impact on the bird life in terms of roosting, feeding, nesting and breeding. The height of the buildings would interfere with the flight patterns of birds and present a danger to them. In addition the proposed footbridges, especially the one at the northern end of the reservoir which crosses wet woodlands would disturb wildlife, including bats, as would the additional light pollution from the estate. The proposed removal of some mature trees would have a further detrimental impact and the siting of the tower blocks closer to the bank will reduce the green belt buffer between the buildings and the reservoir. The picture below shows in the background the density of trees on the reservoir bank at present. The mitigating measures proposed by the developers are at best cosmetic compared with what currently exists.

2.      Protection of Landscape
The photograph below shows the view from the west bank of the Welsh Harp across to the proposed development site. The block on the left is 8 storeys high plus penthouse.  The proposed blocks close to the shoreline will be three times as high obliterating the landscape in contravention of the London Plan 7.7de which states that tall buildings should not  ‘impact on local or strategic views adversely’.

As 7.7e of the London Plan states ‘the impact of tall buildings proposed in sensitive locations should be given particular consideration’. The new development which sites the private tower blocks close to the shore to take advantage of the view and the higher sale prices this will achieve, will loom over the reservoir and be completely out of keeping with the semi-rural landscape. I submit that if Barnet Council gives this aspect ‘particular consideration’ it will deny this application.

3.      Air quality
As someone who is a school governor as well as provider of environmental education I am very much aware of the impact of deteriorating air quality on children and the increased incidence of asthma.  The density of the proposed development, the building of social housing close to the A5 and the anticipated increase in traffic all point to an increase in Nitrogen Oxides in the atmosphere in an area already designated as an Air Quality Management Area.

4.      Quality of life of children on the West Hendon Estate
Whilst recognising the poor and deteriorating quality of some of the blocks of social housing on the West Hendon Estate and the need for refurbishment or rebuild, the development proposals would affect other aspects of children’s lives on the estate. Apart from the increased air pollution noted above children will be deprived of the existing open space through the increased density of housing. The views that the children and their parents currently enjoy across the reservoir will be obscured by the new luxury tower blocks and lower rise private flats as well as the placement of the social housing closer to the A5 and away from the reservoir. In my view this amounts to the privatisation of landscape.

The photograph below shows the open space currently enjoyed by residents on the estate.

5.      Conclusion
As presently presented this Planning Application is unacceptable.

       Please send an acknowledgement that this submission has been received.

        Martin Francis, B.Ed (Hons) M.A.

        May 14th 2013

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