Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Barnet Conservatives caught out telling porkies about overdevelopment in Mill Hill

I don't know about you, but there is nothing I hate more than politicians telling porkies, especially in the run up to an election. This morning, we've seen one of the worst examples of this from the @BarnetTories Twitter account.

Rather strangely, we weren't actually referring to the National Institute for Medical Research, but the over development of Green Belt sites, such as Copthall and Pentavia Retail park. We are also concerned at other examples of lack of enforcement of planning on Green Belt sites in Mill Hill.

This highly misleading tweet implies that the @BarnetTories opposed the NIMR development due as they saw it as "Overdvelopment of the green belt".  If you actually look at the decision, you see a completely different story being told (below from the council papers).

It was moved by Councillor Sowerby and seconded by Councillor Braun that the application be REFUSED for the following reasons:

1) The proposed development, by reason of its appearance, specifically the modern residential design and use of flats roofs, is out of character with the Mill Hill Conservation Area and has a negative impact when viewed from the Green Belt land to the north, contrary to policies 7.8 and 7.16 of the London Plan (2016), policies CS5 and CS7 of the Local Plan Core Strategy DPD (adopted September 2012) and policies DM01, DM06 and DM15 of the Development Management Policies DPD (adopted September 2012).

2) The proposal will result in the loss of trees of special amenity value with associated loss of nature conservation value, contrary to policies 7.19 and 7.21 of the London Plan (2016), policies CS5 and CS7 of the Local Plan Core Strategy DPD (adopted September 2012) and policies DM01 and DM16 of the Development Management Policies DPD (adopted September 2012).

As you can see, there is no mention at all of "overdevelopment" in the refusal. The grounds are that it will spoil the view from the North (presumably for the millionaire's properties on the other side of the Totteridge Valley) and the loss of trees.

The tweet from the @BarnetTories lays bare their hypocrisy. If the planning application as it stood resulted in the loss of trees, which was a reason for rejection, how could having 78 more car parking spaces on the site result in more trees? Whatever you may or may not think of the application, there can be no dispute that their plan for more car parking spaces would result in less trees, which was the grounds they cited for rejection. They really can't have it both ways.

Like all of the parties in Barnet and all of the stakeholders, The Barnet Eye recognised that the site had to be developed following the move of the Institute to the Crick centre. We also recognise the Mayor of London's requirement for more affordable and social housing on the site. We do not think that the current plan is ideal and takes no account of the geographical realities of the site, atop a hill that cyclists use whilst practising for the Tour De France. I've no idea how the Mayor expects residents to get to and from the nearest tube stations, on an already overloaded 240 bus and a gridlocked road, with sharp hills in all directions. I think the Mayor got this one wrong for Mill Hill. It is however total BS for the @BarnetTories to cite it as evidence that they oppose overdevelopment. Especially as the Conservative Council Leader Richard Cornelius recently used the occasion of giving the Freedom of the Borough of Barnet to Saracens to welcome even more development on the Green Belt.

In a rather hilarious follow up tweet, the @BarnetTories clearly think that transforming the Conservation area and Green Belt into a car park is "helping to prevent overdevelopment". I daresay that they'll be appointing Dracula to run the local blood bank next!

You really couldn't make it up, could you? You know what they say about people who tell porkies in small matters?

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