The Evening Standard is reporting that Boris has torpedoed the Brent Cross regeneration scheme, declaring it "dead in the water".
Is this a cynical ploy to boost Brian Coleman's popularity ahead of the GLA elections? It is telling that the shopping centre expansion is still set to go ahead. As I think it was a rotten scheme which would have destroyed the character of a large part of the Borough of Barnet, I am quite pleased. I predicted all along that the scheme would never actually see the light of day and that the shopping centre element would be the only element retained. When Brian Coleman came out against the scheme a couple of years ago it was clear this was the only likely outcome.
So should we thank Coleman for all his "behind the scenes" lobbying of Boris? Not on your nelly, what he's done is tried to drive another nail into the coffin of local small traders. Where will all the customers for the new improved Brent Cross come from? From the local High Streets, currently being ravaged by the Councils car parking policies. The traders I met yesterday, along with all their families and friends will see straight through this.
I hadn't realised just how hated Brian Coleman was by the local small business community until yesterday. Hearing natural Conservatives describing Coleman in the terms I heard, just reinforces the fact that he has lost the dressing room (in football terms). I wonder how many people will ask Boris why he supports the small traders in Westminster against the Tory Council, but in Barnet he indulges Coleman. I suspect both Boris and Brian will find there is a price to pay in May.