Sunday, 20 October 2019

The Tweets of the Week in the London Borough of Barnet

So while the world goes mad around us, a sense of calm and sanity still reigns over the The London Borough of Barnet, where everything is always fine and dandy. Here are some very fine and dandy tweets from the tweeters of Barnet!.

1. The chuffing sounds of a steam train disturbed the peace in Mill Hill yesterday. A fine sight to behold, sadly I was fast asleep!

2. It has to be said that the Cricklewood Town team have done a marvellous job of sorting out the Cricklewood Village Green

3. This looks worth checking out if you are in Cricklewood and fancy a Céilítastic time!

4. We love a bit of Rock and Roll history!

5. And the railway that might have been.....

6. The Guardian featured Hendon Cinema this week

7. Our friends at Mill Hill Rugby club would like your help!


8. Want to hear some quality Jazz this week?

9. This is a lovely tweet! Very missed

10. And finally, a date for your diary!

That's all folks!!!!!

Saturday, 19 October 2019

The Saturday List #237 - My top ten record labels

This is perhaps the hardest list to put together that I've had to do. I thought it would be rather easy, but when I thought about it, there were all manner of variables that need to be considered. The inspiration for it was the 60th birthday of Tamla Motown records. How can you possibly compare an organisation like Motown with one such as CBS? I mean, the Clash were on CBS, and there albums were absolutely pivotal, but what did CBS add to the mix? Likewise, how do you compare EMI with Trojan? I mean without EMI there would be no Beatles, but without Trojan, the whole SKA scene and the Reggae scene may not have come about. As a music industry insider, I guess this may be more interesting to me than many, but I hope you enjoy it.

So here is my list. It is based on the influence and the change that the labels made. Of course it is very much biased towards my personal tastes. It is not in any particular order.

1. Stiff Records. To me, Stiff was everything that an independent label should be. They released the first UK Punk single - New Rose for the Damned and the first punk album, Damned Damned Damned. Their artists included a whole bunch of artists who probably would not have seen the light of day (or the light of the Charts), such as Ian Dury, Elvis Costello, The Pogues etc. They changed the rules. The Stiff tour was one of the pivotal moments in UK music history.

2. Trojan Records. I think that Trojan may be the most important label of all. They brought Ska and Reggae to a world audience.Successful Trojan artists from this period including Tony Tribe, Lee "Scratch" Perry's Upsetters, Bob and Marcia, Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff, Harry J All Stars, The Maytals, The Melodians, Nicky Thomas and Dave and Ansel Collins. Without Trojan, I doubt Bob Marley would have ever become the icon that we know, even though he wasn't a Trojan artist.

3. Tamla Motown. Motown is worthy of a book, let alone a brief blog mention. I did a top ten Motown Tunes blog a couple of weeks ago. Check it out. Motown was the sound of soul. Imagine a world without Marvin Gaye, The Supremes and Stevie Wonder. It just doesn't bear thinking about.

4. Stax Records.  Stax was the other major US Soul label. Otis Redding, Booker T, Albert King, Eddie Floyd were all in the stable. Wheras Motown was in your face soul, Stax was sublime. One of the biggest dilemms for me is whether I rate Otis or Marvin higher. The honest answer is I rate whichever I am listening to at the time higher.

5. Sire Records. Although there is more to Sire than the Talking Heads and The Ramones, such as The Climax Blues  band and Focus, for me it was their championing of the US CBGB's punk scene that made the label iconic. If you'd asked me in 1977 I'd have said that the Ramones were the most influential band ever. I wouldn't make the claim today and I'd probably say that Talking heads actually were far more influential. Just check out the list of Sire Artists. I am often puzzled by how little it is talked of as an iconic label.

6. Two Tone records. The label that launched the UK Ska revival. The Specials, Madness, The Beat, The Selecter etc. All were launched on 2 Tone. Their iconic logo was another feature. Few labels are held in such reverence and have such a defined sound.

7. Greensleeves Records. Greensleeves is the sound of reggae for many. Artists such as Clint Eastwood and General Saint,  Eek-A-Mouse and Dennis Brown are some of the artists associated with the label. If you like reggae music, then Greensleeves is the hub of your collection.

8. New Hormones Records. There is probably no label in history that has achieved so much with so little catalogue. Although there are in total 30 New Hormones releases, the one that matters was Spiral Scratch by The Buzzcocks. For many it gave permission to start their own labels, self release and it defined a new pathway for UK artists. I don't think any label achieved so much with a single record.

9. Virgin records. Virgin was a maverick label. They signed the Sex Pistols and released Never Mind the Bollocks when no one else would touch it. Previously best known for Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield, I think we all owe Branson a debt of gratitude for taking on the establishment and the stuffy old labels. After the Pistols, the label released the Public Image album, and then got heavily into dub. I can't say I'm a fan of Branson, but I admire what he did as a label owner.

10. EMI records. Given the role of the Beatles, it would be insane to have a list without EMI. There catalogue is immense, there studios in Abbey Road have produced some of the most amazing albums of all time. Like many of these labels, it warrants a book (of which there are many), not just a mention in a list. The first rule of blogging and lists is that the bigger a topic, the harder to summarise in a paragraph. EMI is fascinationg and well worthy of further study. Maybe a blog for the future.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

The Thursday Local News Roundup 17/10/2019

It's Thursday, so it's the local news roundup. Sadly some of it is rather upsetting

Cat mutilator on the loose

On Saturday 12th October the decapitated body of a much loved cat was found. The cat had been missing since Monday 7th October but looked freshly placed.
On Monday 14th October a head belonging to the cat was found placed at another location nearby.
A veterinary examination has confirmed that the injuries were inflicted by a person using a bladed instrument. (Source Inside Mill Hill)

The Barnet Eye asks everyone to keep an eye out. We need to catch this maniac

Huge Mill Hill Flytip on the news again

Last week it was ITV news, this week we had the BBC filming the UK's largest flytip, with a member of the Mill Hill Litterpickers telling the story. Apparently TFL are clearing their part of the mess. We hope that the site is properly secured to ensure that it stays clear.

Support your local grassroots Rugby club

If you like Rugby, then why not make sure you enjoy it with Mill Hill's local club

Library Consultation

Barnet Council are holding a consultation about the library service (not that this really exists in many parts of the Borough, in the truest sense of a public library). I urge everyone to participate

Lib Dems take the Lead in Finchley and Golders Green seat

A recent opinion poll in the Finchley and Golders Green seat reports that the Lib Dems have taken a convincing lead in the polls, following the adoption of Luciana Berger as candidate. Labour's vote has clearly suffered following the decision of candidate Sara Conway to step down. I suspect that this will be a fascinating seat to watch in the forthcoming general election.

Local Comedy

If you are a Ricky Gervais fan, here's your chance to see him locally. I think he is referring to the Arts Depot in Finchley

Local Rabbi arrested

Local Rabbi Jeffrey Newman was arrested earlier in the week during Extinction Rebellion protests. One has to say that whatever your view of the protest, the sight of a 77 year old Rabbi being carried off by the police is not good.

Mill Hill Music Complex celebrates 40 years of music in Mill Hill

A date for your diary. Mill Hill Music Complex studios are celebrating 40 years of music in Mill Hill with a celebratory gig, all for free, at the Adam and Eve pub. Please come along.

And we always love to finish with something inspiring and positive locally. Check out this amazing video of the Mill Hill Rugby Club mixed ability Rugby Team


Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Who would you rather work for Barnet or Camden?

Do you care what sort of a local Authority you elect? I live in Barnet, but also have dealings with Hertsmere, Harrow and Camden through my business. I have friends who live in each area and friends who work for all of the organisations. I've not really given a lot of thought to what the relative experience is really like. Not until last night that is.

I saw a very good friend of mine last night. I haven't seen him since June. We had arranged to meet a couple of times, but he cancelled. I was extremely worried about him. He is a skilled tradesman. He was working for a company that did subcontracting for various organisations that ultimately are part of the Barnet group (the arms length organisation that runs most things housing for Barnet). His stress levels were going through the roof and he was on medication for mental health related issues, but being a proud man, he was still working and still turning up every day. I have to be honest, I was expecting the worst when I saw him, not that we ever have anything other than a good laugh, but it is awful to see a friend on the absolute edge of a precipice.

He bowled in fashionably late, as is his want. I immediately noticed a massive change. It was 100% obvious that his stress levels were completely back to normal. I made a comment on this. He laughed "Yeah, I've got a new job. I've been working for Camden Council for the last four months. I got sick of the other lot and jacked it in". I asked what it was like. He told me that he was enjoying work for the first time in years. You have to take an hour lunch break, unheard of previously, the work is ordered and the working day is seven or seven and a half hours a day, depending on day of the week. He said that when it's time to knock off you go home and don't worry about work until you clock back in at 7am the next day.

I then asked the obvious question. With this easier lifestyle does the work get done? The response may surprise a few of you "Yes, it gets done a bit slower in the first place, but it is always done properly, so there is virtually no going back to put things right, because you didn't have time to finish the job. It's made clear that you are there to do a good job for the tenants, it is completely different".

He then told me he'd been having lunch at the council canteen and Sir Keir Starmer came in for a bite and sat opposite him. He was quite surprised at the informality and friendliness of the whole place. He said "I'd forgotten what it is like to work for a firm you enjoy working for". My friend is my age and has had a life working in the construction industry. He's not some naive fool freshly out of school. We didn't meet to discuss his work, the subject only came up because he seemed so much less stressed than he's been for ages.  After discussing this for five minutes, we moved on.

Why do I mention this? Well simply because our taxes pay for the contractors and for the staff. Just take five minutes to think about it. Would you rather your money was spent on treating staff like they do in Camden, where they deliver quality work, tenants come first and ultimately it's cheaper because it is done properly first time and the staff are not constantly stressed out and looking over their shoulders and clock watching. Or would you prefer the Barnet Council model, where the cash goes to contractors, who get their lawyers to agree contracts, who ensure staff get the minimum and get in and out as quickly as possible, doing the minimum to meet the Service Level Agreement (SLA), and the craftsmen doing the job being constantly under pressure, clockwatching and getting called back to fix problems?

I believe that if I am employing people, be it at my studio business, or indirectly as a taxpayer to Barnet Council, who pay subcontractors, I want those staff to have decent, happy lives. I don't want to be a sweatshop style employer, using my economic power to push people to the brink, just so I have a few extra pennies in my pocket. Do you?

Monday, 14 October 2019

Environment Monday - Why change is necessary and how we effect it

We are in the middle of the Extinction Rebellion London protests. Whatever you may think of the protests, it is pretty clear that they are serious, committed and will not go away any time soon. Most people recognise that they have a point, what is perhaps not quite received with such consensus is whether they've got their facts right. Do we really only have less than ten years to fix our behaviour, before we reach an irreversible tipping point that will see mass destruction and mass extinction?

I was asked by one of the many people who, perhaps wrongly, trust my judgement on such matters whether this was right. I guess the reason people trust me, is they know I am honest about such matters. My response was that, in common with just about everyone else on the planet, I genuinely don't know. What I can say with 100% certainty, is that there is enough of a risk to make it worth taking serious and radical action as soon as possible. Lets, for argument sake, say that there is a one in four probability that XR have their timescales spot on. As a gambling man those odds are high enough to convince me that action is worthwhile.

Some of the comment I've seen over the weekend is typical of what people say when they want to deflect an argument that they know they are losing. One stated that global warming was not the reason for the decline of many species that we are seeing. Whilst if you take an extremely narrow view, this is true. Lets take the Orang Utang. This is facing a threat due to the destruction of its rain forest habitat. Now strictly speaking, this is not global warming, but only an idiot would argue that this isn't part of the bigger picture of environmental damage. The destruction of the rainforests contributes to global warming, as the trees no longer soak up the CO2.

Likewise, the proliferation of plastics is not directly responsible for raising the amount of CO2 in the environment, but is a massive part of the picture of how our activities as a species is damaging the planet.

We need to change our ways. It is not just to reduce our carbon footprint. It is to start caring about the environment. It is to make a few small sacrifices that will make huge differences. Consumer behaviour massively influences corporate behaviour. Whilst if we all went vegan, went everywhere on bicycles or on our feet and only ate locally produced food which had no packaging, it would almost instantly start reverse the effects of global warming and the damage we are doing, for most, that is far too big a challenge. But what if we made a few rules? What if we said, I can't do everything, but I'll do what I can. If we all did the following ten things, then it would start to move us towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

1. Walk or cycle for all journeys under one mile
2. Cut meat and fish intake to only use organic/sustainable and have a couple of days off a week.
3. When you are going out with friends, use public transport, share cars or walk.
4. If you are going on a holiday involving flying, choose an airline that uses modern planes which produce less pollution.
5. Turn off lights and appliances in your house when you are not using them. Get timer switches
6. Improve the insulation in your home.
7. Buy locally produced food if possible.
8. Drive your car economically, moderate acceleration, speed and braking (can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 20% from your car and cut your car fuel bills by the same amount)
9. Recycle products, get a water bottle, don't buy bottled water.
10. Plant trees if you have a garden, these are the best consumers of CO2.

Now I know many of my friends at XR will say that much of this is tokenism and by no means enough. To some extent, I'd agree, but the first step is we need to make sensible changes and explain the effects. Once we get people thinking about their lifestyle and once people realise that you can make changes and it won't make your life materially worse.

Of course, the biggest problem is that the UK is just one small part of the picture. We are responsible for 2% of the worlds CO2 production, so you may say "why bother?". That is rather missing the point. The UK has huge soft power. If we can show that a difference can be made and it can work for business as well. If our supermarkets realise that cutting packaging increases profits, then this will soon be adopted elsewhere. If oil companies start to see that their sales are falling, they will seek other technologies to make money that are less damaging. If we produce better household insulators, then there will be a huge global market for these.

Over the last 20 years, we've actually seen massive improvements in how we use energy. We've moved towards energy saving LED bulbs, our appliances have an energy rating and the homes are being built are far more efficient. All of this has come about due to consumer pressure. Politicians only take action if they think there are votes in it. The fact that two of the last three elections in the UK have resulted in hung Parliaments show that parties can be influenced. We really should consider what a candidate has to say about the environment when we cast our vote. Sadly in Barnet, our three Conservative MP's do not have great records. In all cases, they are susceptible to losing if a small percentage of local people decide that they do not care about the planet.

Here is some information that may help inform your decision

How Mike Freer voted on Environmental Issues #

How Matthew Offord voted on Environmental Issues #

How Theresa Villiers voted on Environmental Issues #

If you want to change things, the next General election is a good place to start. I personally think the record of our local MP's are totally disgraceful. Of course I am biased, but the facts back up my proposition.


Sunday, 13 October 2019

The Tweets of the Week in the London Borough of Barnet - 13/10/2019

So what has been happening in the London Borough of Barnet, through the eyes of our local tweeters?

1. Tha saga of the long, slow death of the Railway Hotel in Edgware takes another sad turn. This is a story we've been following for rather too long. In what sort of world is this fine building left to rot.

2. One of the less visited parts of the Borough, Graham Park Parade looks set for new found fame!

3. Hats off to the hard work of Mark Warren of the Mill Hill litter pickers for getting this story into the news and getting some action. An absolute storm of argument has since followed following an attempt by Hendon Conservative MP Matthew Offord to take all of the credit. Many local residents were very disappointed that Mr Offord neglected to mention the efforts of Mark Warren and let their feelings be known on both Twitter and Facebook.

4. Colindale also has a rather good litter picking group, so if you are not busy on Saturday.

5. And while we are in Colindale, this looks amazing. An evening with PAul Canonville, the first black Chelsea player. I think I'll be making my way along to this one.

6. The 8th Hendon Scout group smashed it this week. Well done to all. We are big supporters of our amazing local scout groups, who provide such amazing activities and days out

7. Like a bit of fruit and veg? Here's a date for your diary!

8. This is our historical tweet of the week

9. Want some quality Jazz in Mill Hill

10. And a date for your diary, if you love live music!

That's all folks!

Saturday, 12 October 2019

The Saturday List #236 - Ten things that used to be essential that are now obsolete

Times change. What seemed an essential part of our lives now are completely redundant and obsolete. Sure some of you might still have some of these, but I suspect you are in the minority.

1. The answerphone. We all had one. If we were out, then we could at least know whether someone wanted to get in touch. Now we have mobile phones, so the answerphone has made its way to the junk shop.

2. The car cassette player. There was time when every car had a cassette player, if you were off on a long journey, a bag of cassettes was part of the routine, I bought a Ford Mondeo in 1996 that had one, I think that was the last year that they came as standard.

3. Tin openers. In the 1970's, we all had a tin opener in the kitchen draw. I can't remember the last time I opened a tin of anything with a tin opener, now everything has easy open tins. Mind you I will have to dust it off tomorrow, as I have for tea, as a special indulgence, a Fray Bentos pie, which is one of the few things that still needs a tin opener.

4. Fountain pens. When I was at FCHS, we had to write all essays in fountain pen. A Parker pen was the pen of choice for most of us. I don't know if any schools still require such implements, certainly none of my children were forced to use them.

5. Portable Transistor Radios. We all used to have a little transistor radio that we'd listen to under our pillow. These days, we do all that on our mobile phones.

6. VHS players. The video machine transformed our lives. It used to be that if you missed a film, that was that, until it came on telly. Blockbusters appeared on every High Street. It all disappeared nearly as fast as it turned up.

7. Electric Blankets. Back in the days before central heating, going to bed in winter could be a bit of a nightmare. The bed would be freezing. The solution was an electric blanket. You'd put it on five minutes before bed time and it would toasting when you got in. For my Dad, it was his favourite invention.

8. Modems. When we first got computers in our house, we'd buy modems to connect them to the internet. When you wanted to go on line, you would use the modem to dial up. The modem made a very strange noise and if you were lucky, you might even get on line.

9. Film. 30 years ago, if you went on holiday, you'd buy some film, take your pictures, get them developed and stick them in your album. When was the last time you bought film?

10. Encyclopedias. Do you remember the encyclopedia Brittanica? If you wanted to find out an obscure fact, you dug out the relevant volume, looked up the tasty fact and off you went. Now we 'Google it'

Friday, 11 October 2019

The Friday Joke - The enemies of the people of Barnet at the Planning Committee?

Firstly an apology, I know you probably expected something funny. This isn't but it is a complete joke.

Last night I had the misfortune to attend the Barnet Council planning committee. Since I started writing this blog, I've probably attended well over a hundred Barnet Council meetings. I've seen many a fiasco, the Iceland investments, the Mapledown special school cuts, the Metpro scandal all spring to mind. But I don't think I've ever left a meeting feeling as depressed as I did after last nights meeting.
Unlike bad decisions about investments, cuts to services, etc, bad decisions in planning are almost unrecoverable. Once an eyesore goes up, it stays up, once a community is ruined and dispersed, it stays ruined and dispersed. Once over development has occurred and suburban roads become clogged they stay clogged.  Under the previous encumbant leader of Barnet Council, Richard Cornelius, despite whatever you may have thought of his policies, he loved the Borough of Barnet. He was born and raised in the Borough and publicly stated on numerous occasions that his goal as leader was to ensure Barnet remained a pleasant place to live. The new leader, Daniel Thomas, a Welshman who stood as a candidate in a seat in the Welsh Valleys not so long ago, has no such association. He despises the ordinary people of Barnet to such an extent that he's gagged them, removing their ability to ask searching questions of the council at meetings.

As Leader of the Council, Richard Cornelius and his councillors cooked up a cunning plan to pass a motion labelling the Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan an enemy of the people of Barnet. The reason? Sadiq Khan had ridden roughshod over the Barnet Councils decision to reject the Barratts redevelopment of the National Institute for medical research. The motion stated

Full Council: 31st October 2017
Administration Motion: Councillor David Longstaff
Is Mayor Khan an enemy of the people of Barnet?
Council is growing increasingly concerned that Mayor Khan is making life harder for the people of Barnet for the sake of political point-scoring.
In the last six weeks alone Mayor Khan has made several rulings attacking the borough’s already strained transport infrastructure. Most recently the Aslef union revealed he had scrapped plans laid by his predecessor, Boris Johnson, to add 17 much-needed trains to the Northern line and increase services to 30 an hour. The explosion in demand projected for this vital but overcrowded service will now have to be met by current stock — and borne by residents.
At the beginning of this month he also overruled Barnet’s democratically elected Planning Committee in order to force a deeply unpopular development of 460 flats on
the people of Mill Hill. Adding insult to injury, he removed 78 parking spaces from the original plans, meaning residents will have to fight for spaces on neighbouring residential streets. T
his is despite visiting the site himself by car rather than brave the Northern line.
Before clogging up the borough’s roads and scuppering improvements to its Underground service, however, Mayor Khan decided to make private hire vehicles more expensive and less available for residents of outer London boroughs like Barnet. His decision against renewing Uber’s private hire licence not only risks putting 1,789 Barnet based Uber drivers out of work; it will increase the costs for residents using black cabs.
Council agrees that any concerns about Uber’s safeguarding procedures must be addressed. However, Council is baffled as to why data revealed under the freedom of Information Act showed TfL inspectors had given Uber a clean bill of health on no less than 10 occasions in the last four years (the last after an annual compliance audit in April this year) and why Mayor Khan failed to meet with Uber representatives to discuss concerns. In revoking Uber's licence, Khan's message is that London is closed to innovation and business. 
Council is also deeply concerned by Mayor Khan’s intervention on the Grahame Park development. In making public an error-riddled letter from GLA planners he ensured the retraction, which Barnet was on the cusp of negotiating, would not happen. The planning application now risks being refused or amended by the Mayor. Council calls on the Leader of the Council and the Leader of the Opposition to write to the Mayor to address these concerns and request he rectify them for the benefit of the people of Barnet over party political gain.
Last night, the planning committee debated a change to the  planning permission for the deeply unpopular development of 460 flats .  The developer Barratts had asked for a 'minor' variation of the plan, to add an extra 50 flats. Now you might think that an increase in dwellings of over 10% is not a minor change. You might think that if 460 flats was a bad thing an increase of over 10% is even worse. Given the location of the flats, it is clear that every single flat will have a minimum of one extra car on the road, most couples will have a car each. The 50 extra car parking spaces is clearly inadequate for this development. The council rightly pointed out in the original rejection that there were insufficient spaces. The nearest tube station is a Mile away at the bottom of an extremely steep hill. The Ridgeway, the road on which the development is situation is already gridlocked in rush hour, but none of this counts.

The developer, Barratts have had numerous breaches of the the conditions of their planning permission. They have even let people start living in the flats without having the appropriate contamination mitigation's (the site was deemed highly toxic) being signed off. The council know all about this, I was at a meeting with them to discuss it, but they are simply not interested. What sort of a council lets a developer let people move in without the site being safe to occupy? The question has to be, if, by the Barnet Tories own standards, Sadiq Khan was an enemy of the people for passing the original plan, what are they for allowing it to become even worse? Barratts application last night was  passed unanimously. Whilst I fully expected Labour to support a scheme championed by Sadiq Khan, I was amazed that the Barnet Tories also fell into line. I really shouldn't have been. I was recently told by a Barnet Tory Councillor that the new Leader believes that the only way to fix the budget problems of Barnet was to build its way out of it. It seems that under Thomas, developers are being given carte blanche to build more or less whatever they want.

A local Mill Hill resident Laurence Bard, addressed the committee. He used his three minutes to detail many of the breaches Barratts have made developing the NIMR site and why this application should be rejected. My wife, who has not attended many council meetings was shocked to see the Leader of the Council, Dan Thomas roll his eyes as he approached the speakers chair. Mr Bard and his family have a long association with the Borough of Barnet and the Conservative Party.  When I first met Mr Bard 20 years ago, we nearly came to blows discussing local politics. Sadly (for him), he has come around to agreeing with me about the local Conservatives. His business has been devastated by the Barratts development and he has had absolutely no support from the local Conservative councillors or MP.

He was treated with total contempt by the committee. It seems that long standing local businessmen and Mill Hill families are viewed with disdain by the current administration. Alienating your natural supporters is bad politics, but the our local politicians seem far more interested in keeping rich and powerful developers happy than the people who have paid tax for generations in the Borough. My daughter, who was attending her first Barnet Council meeting was left in disbelief. She admitted she now knew why I spent so long writing blogs about Barnet Council. Sadly, to me this was a totally normal experience when attending council meetings. Under this Conservative administration, residents come last.  Another fine example of this was the application to build a nine storey block of flats on Cricklewood Lane.

A local resident known as Ben T and local councillor Anne Clarke spoke against the application. Many local residents had objected that the development was flawed. Councillor Clarke listed numerous errors in the Council report,a list that was quite shocking. Cricklewood is an area of high social deprivation. It is an area crying out for social housing, and the London plan states that for such developments, a minimum of 40% should be set aside for affordable housing. The report notes

8.1 London Plan 2016 Policy 3.12 seeks the maximum reasonable amount of affordable housing to be negotiated. The Barnet Core Strategy (Policy CS4) seeks a borough wide target of 40% affordable homes on sites capable of accommodating ten or more dwellings.
So what proportion of the flats will be affordable?

8.7 Following the initial review of the FVA, the Council entered into further discussions with the applicant and the applicant has agreed to provide 10% affordable housing on site, with all of the units being shared ownership. DVS carried out a further review of the amended FVA comprising the 10% offer and concluded that the offer of 15 shared ownership units is over and above what the scheme can viably support and offered clear advice to the Council that this offer should be accepted. This 10% 210 offer is in accordance with Paragraph 64 of the NPPF which states that “where major development involving the provision of housing is proposed, planning policies and decisions should expect at least 10% of the homes to be available for affordable home ownership”.
That is correct, this huge block will only be 10% affordable. So a huge eyesore, which the local population do not want, will not conform to the London Plan. Why has this been allowed? Well the developers stated that as they had to reduce the height of the building, the social housing element had to be scaled back to ensure their profit margin did not suffer.

You may question why anyone would think building 'unaffordable flats' is a good idea? Well the reason is quite clear. Sadly, no one called the Council out for it, but let me explain. The council ward is Childs Hill. This is the most marginal ward in Barnet. Until 2014, it was a Lib Dem ward. In 2014, the Tories took two of the three seats. In 2018, Labour took the remaining Lib Dem seat. Lib Dem polling shows that the seat is now back in play, with both Labour and the Tories polling numbers declining. If the Tories want to keep the seat, then the more residents of unaffordable flats they can squeeze in, the better. As to the report. This states that there will be 145 flats in the development.

Given what has happened at Grenfell Tower, I could not believe the following statement in the plan.
The first floor demonstrates more than 8 units around a double loaded corridor. This should ideally be brought in line with Standards 12 and 14 of the Housing SPG (GLA, 2016).
How can an application be recommended without basic safety issues being resolved? It simply beggars belief that this has not been resolved before the report was presented.

One other highly alarming point is the matter of the NHS drop in centre that is being replaced. The report states

NHS Walk-In Centre Reprovision The applicant shall provide an equivalent extent of commercial floorspace for the use of the NHS for the reprovision of the walk-in centre. The applicant shall submit for the approval of the LPA an engagement strategy for engaging with the NHS in this respect. A cascade clause would be included to allow for the relevant floorspace to revert to flexible use commercial floorspace after an agreed period of time (and following the necessary engagement with the NHS).

As you can see, there will be 'space for an NHS walk in centre' but this will revert to a commercial space if the NHS and the developer can't agree a deal. The council could insist that the space was made available at the same rent as the existing space. The developer will make a packet out of the development, so a bit of pay back to the community should be a no brainer.

So when it comes down to it, when the Council passed a motion declaring Sadiq Khan an enemy of the people, for allowing an unpopular development in Mill Hill, what does that make the administration in Barnet now? They've allowed a bad scheme in Mill Hill to become even worse and they've allowed a development in Cricklewood that any sane person would reject. Labour Councillor Anne Hutton described the scheme as an insult. The vote was split on party lines. The consideration was clearly "Do you want to adjust the balance in one of Barnets most marginal seats by a hundred and fifty odd voters". Enemies of the people? The Barnet Tories started this pathetic name calling, now they are clearly exposed as even worse.

The bottom line is that Capita now run the council, councillors are too useless or two lazy even to read reports and send them back when there are clearly things that are detrimental to the local community (with a few notable exceptions such as Anne Clarke). It makes me sick and we will have to live with these mistakes for the rest of our lives.

Here's a little music video we made about the whole thing. Barnet Council no longer works for you.