Over the last couple of days, we've been having a little bit of fun with Barnet Tory Councillor Gabriel Rozenberg. Gabriel got into a spat on Twitter with myself and fellow blogger Mrs Angry as to whether Barnet is terrific or Broken. Mrs A believes it is broken and this is all the fault of Mr Rozenberg and his Tory colleagues. She sites as evidence such terrible things as the treatment of residents of West Hendon Estate and Sweets Way. In both cases long term residents are being shafted to allow luxury dwellings to be built. Sadly the less well off in Barnet are being left out. In West Hendon, Barnet Council collaborate with Barratts Homes to issue compulsory purchase orders at rates which won't buy a similar property. Non secured council tenants are simply shipped out. Why? So luxury dwelling can be provided for wealthy people with no links with Barnet.
Mr Rozenberg feels Barnet is terrific. If you look at it from the aspect of a wealthy person, he has a point. But even from Gabriel's perspective, it is getting worse under his regime. As the new flats go up and the new residents move in, we are not building the infrastructure to support these homes. No new railways or tube lines are planned to ease congestion. In fact over the last 50 years, we've lost railway lines in the borough. The rail link from Mill Hill East to Edgware was torn up in the mid 60's. This line would have provided a station for Saracens, as well as plenty of local schools. It would have made interchange with Thameslink easy at Mill Hill and allowed people in Edgware to get to the East of the borough in minutes.
Then there is the closure of Church Farmhouse museum. Unless the new rich residents have no interest in their community and its history, how can this closure be terrific? Personally I dont think a lack of school places for our children is terrific. Our High Streets have become like rubbish dumps, covered in rubbish and litter. Fly tippers are ruining many beauty spots. A direct consequence of the council stopping regular skips for residents to dump large objects.
There is also the issue of our hospitals, fire service and ambulances. Even the rich and famous need these sometimes. Sadly all are being cut and services are getting worse. Another area being cut is the Police. This is a risk to us all.is it terrific?
Then there are small businesses and our High Streets. Both are neglected by council policies. One Barnet has frozen out small companies and parking policies have decimated High Street shops. are these terrific? Of course there are lots of terrific things in Barnet, but how many of these are down to the Tory regime in the town hall?
I see little evidence that they have improved anything, except the bank balances of property developers. Is that terrific? Up to you to decide. Gabriel says he needs to be briefed before he can comment on these issues. Let's hope he's demanding a briefing ASAP, because I for one, want to hear what he has to say.