Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Barnet Council claim their own planning requirements cause "environmental concerns"

If you have ever wondered how seriously Barnet Council take enforcement of planning conditions, this blog may be of interest.

The National Institutue for Medical Research site in Mill Hill is being redeveloped by Barratts PLC. 

The most recent planning permission is available here, it has rigorous conditions attached to ensure minimal impact on residents and the local environment

This states
9 The development shall be implemented in accordance with details approved within the Air Quality and Dust Management Plan approved under condition reference 17/8152/CON of the extant consent (Planning Ref 16/4545/FUL), unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Within any amendment to the approved details, reference shall be made to the Mayor of London's SPG, "The Control of Dust and Emissions during Construction and Demolition". The plan shall confirm: a. which air quality emission and dust control measures are to be implemented; b. which monitoring methods are to be implemented; and c. that construction machinery will meet NRMM standards Reason: To comply with the London Plan's SPG on Sustainable Design and Construction (2014) and Policy 7.14 of the London Plan (2016).

The guidance that covers dust suppression is as follows (links on GLA site at )

5.39 Vehicles – in particular wheels – should be washed or cleaned before leaving the site. At low risk sites, this might be by means of hosing, but at most sites wheel wash facilities should be installed, preferably with the application of rumble grids to dislodge accumulated dust and mud. Ideally the route from the wheel wash to the public road should be a paved. Where layout permits, the site access gates should
be located at least 10m from receptors

It could not be clearer. The site must have a proper system for washing and cleaning vehicles in place to proceed. So what is happening in reality? Well here are a few tweets posted over the last year, tell me if you think this condition is being adhered to?

And just to show that this has been going on for a couple of years

It is pretty clear that the requirements of the GLA regulations are not being adhered to. You may ask why this has not been reported to Barnet Council, who are legally obliged to enforce these rules. The answer is, they have. Myself and other residents and business owners have repeatedly, all to no avail. Today, after repeated emails etc, I finally received an email from the manager of Scientific Services for Barnet, who is allegedly dealing with the issues raised by the NIMR development. I won't name him, to spare his blushes, but he stated

Mr Tichborne,

Thank you for the photos.                   


Unfortunately wheel washes recycle water and so they never leave muddy wheels 100% clean, it is possible to jet wash wheels as they leave sites but this also creates debris in the run off on the road and this uses a lot of water – which is an environmental concern in itself.


The site uses road sweepers so the most recent photo and twitter photo 29th May ( I cant access twitter on this computer)show a thin fine layer of the dust in the tarmacadam but no significant debris. Road sweepers are reasonably efficient in removing larger debris and grit, but the brushes do get stained with fine mud so they never leave roads completely clean hence the pictures. This is similar to what we usually witness when we visit, no significant amounts of mud grit and debris but some fine staining of the tarmacadam.


I note in the U tube video one car was very dusty but not outside a house, it was probably  parked near the site entrances  probably on Burtonhole lane.

Judges have ruled that dust on cars is not a formal nuisance, it has to affect habitable parts of premises, so if there are photos of that amount of dust affecting the facades of residential houses please show this.

We are visiting this later this week to check around Wentworth Hall one of the nearest premises to the site entrances where works are happening, and we will look at the current state of the site.

So there you have it. According to the manager in charge of scientific services, washing wheels, a GLA requirement is an 'environmental concern'.  This response is, to be quite frank, completely ridiculous. It took me five minutes to google a suitable washing system. Given the GLA recommend that this should be located 10 metres from the highway, it is absolutely clear that if this was properly installed, the issues raised by the Barnet Manager would simply not exist.  

There are only two possible explanations for what has been written above. The first is that the planning department and the GLA are recommending mitigations that are not environmentally sound. If this is the case, it should be a matter of urgent public concern and should be resolved as quickly as possible. The other alternative is that the manager of Scientific Services think that the public should be treated with disdain and that it really is none of their business what the council are doing with regards to enforcement. 

I am very annoyed. This manager has repeatedly asked for photos I have stopped on several occasions to take them. I've sent them to the council, as have many other residents. I have now been told that all of this effort was pointless, because wheel washing would create environmental concerns. 

I am not going to leave this here. Firstly it is the GLA's guidance that states wheel washing must be done. I will be contacting our local GLA representative to clarify whether the GLA are recommending planning conditions that raise environmental concerns. I will also be escalating this to the CEO of Barnet Council, the Leader, and the chair of both planning and Environment committees, as well as opposition leaders. 

Barnet Council are not taking enforcement seriously. This results in shoddy practice. I want this to stop. I hope you do too.  Does this really look like a 'fine coat of dust' to you?

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

My frustration with Barnet Council AKA Capataville reaches boiling point

 I have largely refrained from writing blogs criticising the day to day issues of Barnet Council during the pandemic. I've taken a 'bigger picture' view that Councillors, Council Officers and Capita have enough on their plate without having to collate FoI reports, answer emails etc from irate bloggers, etc. However, as Boris has decided that the pandemic is over, I think I will have to reconsider my position. 

I have been in discussion with the council, local residents and local business owners about a complete lack of enforcement of planning conditions by the Council at a large building site in Mill Hill. Residents have provided the council with reams of photographic evidence of continual issues. Local business owners have requested Council enforcement officers visit their site to see for themselves what is going on. For reasons I cannot quite comprehend, the council seem unwilling to do this, despite repeated complaints over three years.

Today I was copied into several emails, sent to the council, with various pictures and requests to investigate. The issues are mainly concerning breaches of the agreements to control dust and noise. This has been an ongoing issue. I became highly irritated by the high handed and patronising tone of the council in their replies. So much so that I emaied the Local government secretary asking what remedy their was when a Council was not doing its job. I copied the Council into the correspondence for transparency. In response I received a highly sarcastic email, which contained various inflammatory statements, implying I was trying to stop all contentious development rather than simply getting the council to do its job and make sure contractors do the job safely and with consideration for residents. 

I am not anti development. I have made a fair bit of money out of property over the years. People need homes, businesses need premises and when buildings have reached the end of their life, it is only sensible to repurpose, refurbish and rebuild such buildings. All building projetcs cause disruption and are never fun for neighbours. My next door neighbour has just finished such a project. Fences were knocked down and they even damaged our satellite dish. I have friends who have far worse experiences. The council have a duty of care to ensure that if a development has conditions applied to it, to ensure residents are not disturbed, then the developer should be held to account if they break these. Of course there will be the odd problem. So long as the issues are rectified, then you have to be sensible. However, if the rules are flouted for years on end, then the council should come down hard on the developer.  This doesn't mean stopping all development for ever. It means making developers understand that if they sign up to conditions, they stick to them and if they don't there will be financial consequences.

It is clear to me that since Capita have got involved in the council, the concept that the Council works for the people of Barnet is a thing of the past. In one email today I was told there are 'countless worse building sites' which is not exactly reassuring from the bloke who is supposed to be making sure the developers follow the rules. 

It will be interesting to see whether Robert Jenrick, the Local Govt secretary bothers to take an interest. His predecessor, Eric Pickles was a big fan of the Barnet bloggers. Lets hope his successor takes this seriously. 

Monday, 19 July 2021

Freedom Day? - Freedom from what exactly?

So today is what Boris Johnson has called "Freedom day". The question I have is 'Freedom from what?". My wife said to me this morning "I will feel a lot less safe travelling into London if people are not wearing masks on public transport". She also has reservations about going to gigs,  cinema's and the theatre if there are no limits at all (I'm not so bothered in all honesty). We are both double jabbed and in reasonably good shape. Neither of us are on anything that suppresses our immune system. Her worry is not so much that she'll get ill, but she is concerned that if she catches covid, she may asymptomatically pass it on to someone else, who may suffer.

All of the people I've read comments from, who object to masks, talk about their own freedoms and how they believe a mask will not protect them. I don't know if it is simply because many have sociopathic tendencies or there is something else going on, but they never mention the fact that it may stop them spreading the disease and keep someone else safe. I recall that in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, some people stated that they wouldn't wear condoms as these would 'spoil their fun'. It is the same thing.

The anti mask/anti lockdown movement seem to have a blind spot when it comes to causing harm to other people. I've lost two family members to covid. When I mentioned this to an anti lockdown campaigner, their response was "what was wrong with them?". I asked if he felt an 89 year old woman who was living independently and had contracted the diseases shortly before being discharged from hospital for a minor had no right to life and if a 58 year old woman with Downs syndrome had no right to life? The response "why should the rest of us suffer for 'such' people?".

It seems to me that many of the anti lockdown/anti mask campaigners are really supporters of eugenics by stealth. The young, the fit and the healthy can party away and anyone, especially those who paid their taxes and are now enjoying their retirement can go to hell. They say "if 'such people' are worried they can lock themselves down". Where is the freedom in that? The thing about freedoms as we understand them in modern western democracies is that freedoms are universal. We all can vote, we all expect the law to be applied fairly. What we are seeing is a subtle change to this. This is where facism and totalitarianism start. Not with wearing masks, but with the fit and strong majority deciding that the needs of the more humble and weak are not important. It is worth remembering that the first act of genocide that the Nazi's undertook was against Germans with disabilities. 

I cannot for the life of me see how anyone can claim that wearing a mask on public transport is a restriction on freedom. I don't have a problem with pubs/clubs/venues opening. It is a conscious decision to go to such places. If they have done a risk assessment and they feel they can operate safely, then there is a good argument for opening up. People who have jobs and have to use public transport have no such choice. 

It has been interesting at the studios today. The vast majority of our customers are stll wearing masks. When people ask, we say "You are not legally obliged to wear a mask, but we would prefer it if you wore them in public areas". I'd rather all did, but without a legal requirement, it puts my staff in a difficult position when people do not want to mask up. That is the problem that Boris Johnson has created. Either masks, which are a minor imposition make a difference or they don't. If they do, it seems to me to be a silly move to abandon them right now. 

Sunday, 18 July 2021

The Tweets of the week in the London Borough of Barnet - 18 July 2021

 The year of living uninterestingly progresses. Next week, Boris is allowing us to catch the virus in many more ways than we have been so far, so I expect a torrent of hugely exciting tweets as we all loose our collective marbles with the excitement. But this week.....

1. Our friend Samuel Levy AkA @FinchleyBirder has been quiet of late, however we thoroughly agree with his selection of amazing nature walks from earlier in the week

2. A great performance from our local team in an early pre season friendly

3. Sad news from Finchley and Wingate FC

4. Nice Post from the Mill Hill historical society

5. If you are an East Finchley lover, this is a tweet you may be interested in

6. Nice pic of world champion racing driver Graham Hill in Mill Hill. Looks like my Dad in the background having a crafty oily. I know the pair of them were friends

7. Lovely Tweets

8. Well done to Emily, always good to find a use for such things when no longer needed. Sorry or your loss, Rolo looked lovely

9. Fancy help cleaning up Dollis Brook?

10. A sad anniversary this week

That is all folks!

Friday, 16 July 2021

The Friday Joke 16 July 2021

 The Sun is shining, it's Friday, so what better way to enjoy it than with a Joke

A lady gets in a lift. There is a guy already in. She makes a deep sigh and exclaims, "T-G-I-F!" 
The man smugly replies, "S-H-I-T." 
Taken aback the lady repeats, "T-G-I-F! Thank God It's Friday!" 
The man gives a grin and replies "Sorry Honey. It's Thursday."

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Rog T's Cancer Blog - Mr Tichborne, we have the results of your latest MRI scan.....

So yesterday was the big day. The day where I get my annual review consultation. It is always stressful. I guess having lived for ten years with a disease that is the second biggest killer of men in the UK for the last ten years, I've been a bit more relaxed about the whole thing than many. Experimental vaccines? I had an experimental prostate procedure in 2016. "It's not been tested properly" I am part of the HiFu trial at UCH. When I hear people talking as though Doctors and researchers are malevolent evil maniacs, it makes me quite agitated. Medical science isn't perfect but it's the best chance we've got. Yeah, I drink the green tea and the Pomegranite juice, but that is because I've been told by people who know what they are talking about "it won't do any harm and may do some good". Anyway enough of that.

As ever I expect bad news. I have a few weeks before hand where I am anxious and edgy. I had the Euro 2020 to distract me, but from Monday, I didn't even have this. I generally don't drink during the week, so I didn't really even have alcoholic solace. Wednesday was the day. I normally have Wednesday off work, but my studio manager is on leave, so I had to work and get another staff member to cover the phone. Bang on the dot at 4.20pm, as I'd been informed, the phone rang.

In previous years, these consultations were face to face. Covid has brought in phone consults. I suspect that we won't go back to the old system. The news was very good, all was remarkably normal. In the circumstances, the phonecall is great. I didn't have to waste half a day travelling up to town. I do wonder what happens if the news is grim. It would be a different cup of tea if they were telling you that you had six months to live? When I was initially given the diagnosis in 2011, I had all sorts of pamphlets and other info thrust on me and a chat with a MacMillan nurse. That really wouldn't be the same on the phone. 

The prognosis? Prostate looks normal for a bloke my age. I won't even need an MRI next year unless the PSA starts to go up significantly. The news doesn't really get much better. I felt quite elated. I sent an email to Eddie Nestor on BBC Radio London that he read out. I broke my own no drinking rule and had a bottle of Cobra with my friend who runs the Mill Hill Tandoori (just the one). He was delighted to hear the news. I had a band rehearsal, which inspired me to write a song to raise awareness of Prostate Cancer. It is provisionally entitled "Dont be frightened of a finger up your bum" it is a bit of a cross between the Pioneers and Ian Dury in sound. I may change the title and lyrics to make it less in your face for the radio edit. 

So the bad news for all of you trolls and haters is that I'll be around a little while longer, God willing and if something does do for me in the near term it won't be Prostate Cancer. Tonight I play five a side football and then an early night. Tomorrow I'll celebrate.

The bottom line is that I was diagnosed early. That has massively helped my prospects. Don't be shy. If you have any concerns or you are in your fifties, ask your doctor for a check up. 

For those of you who are regular readers and have read the previous posts on Cancer, there's what this is all about. I write this blog because knowledge is power and if you know what you are dealing with, you have more weapons in the locker to fight it. It is a personal view, I'm not medically qualified. This is for the sole purpose of information for those who are interested.This is the latest installment in my occasional series about how I'm adjusting to living with a big C in my life.  For those of you who aren't, here's a quick summary. I'm 54years old and in October 2011 I  had a prostate biopsy following two "slightly high" PSA tests - 2.8 & 4.1. The biopsy took ten tissue samples and one of these showed a "low grade cancer" which gave me a 3+3 on the Gleason scale. I was put on a program of active monitoring.  In early February, I got the results of the a PSA test - down to 3.5 and an MRI scan which found absolutely nothing, two more tests in 2012 were at 3.5 and 3.9, in 2013 my test was 4.0, Jan 2014 was 3.8, August 2014 was 4.0,  February 2015 it was  up to 5.5  and my latest in August 2015 was down again at 4.6. In October 2015 I had a transperinial Prostate biopsy, that revealed higher grade cancer and my Gleason score was raised to 3+4 (Small mass + more aggressive cancer). On 22nd Jan 2016 I had HIFU (Hi Intensity Focused Ultrasound) treatment at UCHL). My post procedure PSA in May was 4.0 which was down, followed by 3.7 in August, and 3.5 in October  which means that the direction is positive . However in January the follow up MRI revealed "something unusual which requires investigation" After a follow up biopsy, it appeared this was nothing to worry about. My two most recent PSA tests were Ok (3.7 and 4.6) and an MRI scan in March was very positive. A  PSA in October 2019 was 4.6, so stable and good news, the last in May 2020 was 5.45 a small rise, so worrying, however after a review against the most recent MRI, it was decided that this was fine.

  I've no symptoms apart from needing to wee quite regularly and sadly for a few people, if I'm gonna die soon, it won't be from Prostate cancer. Got the picture?