Barnet Planning Committee’s approval of the Brent Cross Cricklewood development is bad for the borough of Barnet, awful for surrounding areas and sets a terrible example for the whole of Britain, say Hendon Greens.
Even supposing the developers fulfill their pledges of high standards for all aspects of their monstrous proposals, there are two overwhelming reasons why the project should have gone to a public inquiry.
The size of the scheme is so enormous that it will have an impact on the national target of an 80 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. The BXC plans include only token sustainability measures, so the expanded shopping centre, the new homes and the other buildings are likely to churn out hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO2 in their many decades of existence.
It is vital that all nations reduce their CO2 emissions rapidly in order to prevent global temperatures rising to levels likely to trigger environmental disaster. But there is no chance of Britain achieving its crucial CO2 reduction target if other planning authorities adopt the Barnet committee’s approach of ignoring the broad environmental impact of major projects.
World leaders attending the climate change summit in Copenhagen next month will be wasting their time if their pledges of action are undermined by people such as the members of Barnet planning committee who fail to appreciate the urgency of the crisis.
Nearer to home, the expansion of Brent Cross is certain to damage the viability of nearby shopping districts including Golders Green, Hendon, Temple Fortune and Finchley Central. Many businesses in those areas are already struggling under the impact of the recession and Barnet Council should not have approved the BXC plans without studying their likely impact on local communities and implementing whatever measures are needed to support those communities.
It is time the council’s Conservative administration stopped ignoring the Sustainable Communities Act act and started accepting their responsibility to ensure that neighbourhoods have the shops, libraries, post offices, playing fields and other community facilities which are essential for all council tax payers to have a decent quality of life.