Tuesday 4 September 2018

Urgent - Developer plans to knock down the Midland Hotel in Hendon and replace it with luxury flats

The Barnet Eye is very shocked to have received an email from local Hendon historian Gerrard Roots, drawing our attention to a proposal to redevelop the Midland Hotel, one of the areas best loved pubs. Our family has a close attachment to the establishment, as my Grandfather worked there before he died. The regulars all turned out for his funeral in 1948, to my Grandmothers amazement.

But putting sentimentality aside, there are strong grounds for Barnet Council to reject the plan on planning grounds.  The details of the plan are as follows

(opens in a new window)
18/4961/FUL | Demolition of the former Midland Hotel and the construction of three buildings of five to eight storeys in height to accommodate 59 residential dwellings | The Midland Hotel Public House 29 Station Road London NW4 4PN

(for full details click here https://publicaccess.barnet.gov.uk/online-applications/ and put 18/4961/FUL in the search key)

I listed some of these on my objection on the councils website

I am opposing this application on a number of grounds. The space is a well established pub and music venue. It has hosted numerous cultural events over the years, including the launch of the Save London Music Campaign - aimed at protecting just such grassroots venues in 2015. This plan clearly contravenes Section 14 of the Councils Local plan which states "plan positively for the provision and use of shared space, community facilities (such as local shops,meeting places, sports venues, cultural buildings, public houses and places of worship". There are few other such spaces in Hendon and none with the unique history of the Midland Arms. This development also does not conform to section 15.1.1 of the local plan "15.1.1 Policy CS8: Promoting a Strong Prosperous and Enterprising Barnet sets out that the council will support the Borough's economy by protecting viable employment premises which meet the needs of modern business and encourage improvements to the quality of existing employment spaces including mixed use floorspace in the town centres. " as the Midland is an employment site. The Travel plan is a complete nonsense. There is nothing to promote cycling. The figures used are incorrect (Table 10 does not add up correctly), it states that zero journeys will be made by cab (based on 2011 census, taking no account of developments such as Uber). There is nor provision for affordable housing and reduces such provision by reducing the budget room accomodation at the hotel. There is no proper provision for cycling, especially disabled cyclists. In short it destroys a valuable community space, replacing it with an ill thought out carbuncle that will blight the area
*** Updated 9/9/2018 ***
Further to my objections, a steady stream of other local people have been objecting. For anyone wishing to make an objection, I urge them to read this objection by Dave Paterson, which has some very useful additional information
Mr David Paterson 
Comment submitted date: Sat 08 Sep 2018
Re: The Midland Hotel . 29 Station Road London NW4 4PN .
Planning application 18/4961/FUL
I wish to object to this application on two grounds:
1) That the development would result in the loss of yet another valued community facility. I share the growing national concern about the loss of public houses generally, and specifically in the Hendon area which has seen the loss of over 20 public houses since 1970.
2) I object to misleading statements made in the application which are clearly unsustainable.
Planning Application 7.6 refers: [...] in accordance with the definition of community asset uses set out in Barnet's Core Strategy (2012) and as confirmed through recent change of use for pubs in Barnet [...] a public house is not a community use.
This absurdity can easily immediately and roundly be dismissed by evidencing Barnet Council's Asset of Community Value (ACV) listings for The Sebright Arms, 9 Alston Road Barnet EN5 4ET (listed 16/01/2017) ; The Bohemia, High Road North Finchley (listed 16/10/13) ; Ye Olde Monken Halt, 193 High Street, High Barnet, EN5 5SU (listed June 2017) ; and The Griffin, 1262 High Road, N20 (listed 09/03/2016).
Having granted these pubs ACV listing it would be preposterous for the Council , or anyone else, then to argue that public houses are not an asset of community use.
Planning Application 7.7 refers: In pre-application advice from the Council (28/12/2016) the Council raised no objections to the loss of the public house.
Apart from the questionable morality or legality in prejudging the issue in advance of the planning appeals process, this would also be against the provisions of The National Policy Framework (NPPF), 24/7/2018 para's 69 and 70 which place a duty on Councils to plan positively for the provision of shared community.
I strongly urge the Planning Committee to reject this application.
*** update ends ***
*** Update 27/9/2018 ***
As of today we have 161 objections to this awful scheme. The Barnet Eye is extremely proud to have launched the campaign to save the pub. It shows what you can achieve  when a community works together. Due to irregularities with the planning application notifications and misleading information from the council, the deadlinen for comments has now been extended to 18th October.
*** Update Ends ***

Malcolm Crescent, Hendon
The construction of eight storey buildings in this part of Hendon is totally out of character with the area. Here is a view of Malcolm Crescent, as you can see it is a typical Hendon suburban street, not an eight storey tower in sight. The proposal is totally out of keeping with this.

As you can see from the proposal, there is a CPZ in place because the site is adjacent to the Hendon Thameslink Station. The plan seeks 59 luxury dwellings with only 33 car parking spaces. It seems to me to be unlikely that the type of people who buy luxury flats are the type of people who take the bus. They will have family and friends visiting and this will put ever more stress on the local parking spaces. The travel plan refers to the requirements of the old London plan, not the new draft plan which is about to be released. It is clear that the developers want to slip the proposal in before the new, more rigorous requirements come in.

Table 10 in the travel plan uses figures that don't even add up correctly. It states that 0% of journeys from the flats will be made using Taxis or minicabs. This is based on 2011 census information. It takes no account of the rise of Uber, which is especially popular with the type of upwardly mobile people who buy luxury flats. Whilst there is mention of provision of cycle spaces, there is no wider commitment to encourage cycling.  The plan envisages a 22% drop in car usage in the flats over  a five year period, whilst seeing a 6% increase in bus usage. I would be very interested to see a proper survey of luxury flat dwellers usage of buses.

The flats have no social housing aspect. The Hotel currently has budget rooms available for transient labour and people who are requiring cheap, short term local accommodation. There is no other local provision and this will be a huge loss.

However this blogs main objection is that the Midland Hotel is a massive community resource. The Barnet Eye has used the space on many occasions for community events. We have held our Barnet Eye annual awards at the site on several occasions, we did the launch of the Save London Music Campaign at the pub. We've also attended all manner of other local events (including wedding receptions and funerals). The travel plan states that West Hendon Broadway is nearby, but there is nothing like the Midland there. A couple of years ago, we organised a Hillsborough memorial gig at the pup, which was packed with fans of many local football clubs, earlier this year we celebrated the third anniversary of the Save London Music campaign at the pub and filmed this video. The pub was packed.

The Save London Music Campaign has been successfully arguing that London needs such grassroots venues. It is ironic that the pub where we launched the campaign is at threat from some of the reasons we outlined back when it was launched.

What is disappointing about this plan is that the developer could quite easily make a handsome profit with a less intrusive scheme that retained the pub, provided social housing and provided excellent local facilities. We fully understand that developers, with no attachment to an area, seek maximum profits. What they need to understand is that in the London Borough of Barnet we fight for our community assets and we oppose bad plans with vigour. We strongly recommend that the developer has a second look at their plans and comes back with something that takes account of the local history, the requirements of the community and the requirements of the 2018 London plan.

We urge every reader to help encourage them by posting an objection to the scheme. You may not think that this affects you. It does. It sets a precedent if the Council objects it and it sends a message to developers that if they are proposing plans in Barnet, they have to propose plans that work for the community.


judy shepherd said...

I totally agree with everything said here - I live in Montagu Road where we have the Ayesha Community School - even though we have a CPZ the parents ignore this and park wherever they can - very little enforcement. This proposed development will lead to a horrendous amount of cars trying to find somewhere to park. The pub is a community asset - there will nothing left for the residents - just a concrete jungle
Judy Shepherd

Dave Paterson said...

Further to my objection to the proposed demolition of The Midland Hotel, which you were kind enough to reference above.

In response to a Freedom of Information Inquiry sent to Barnet Council (06/09/2018) asking if they have Pub Protection Policies (PPPs) compliant with the Mayor's London Plan, (LP)2016, and the National Planning Policy Framework, NPPF) July 2018, I received this reply : "We are currently gathering evidence and are enhancing our policy to further restrict the loss of pubs which will be in compliance with NPPF and the London Plan."

"gathering" and "will be" suggests work in progress to me, and therefore that Barnet Council is not currently compliant with their statutory obligations under NPPF and LP. In which case if Barnet Council do not reject this absurd planning application out of hand, the very least they can do is to defer the decision until such times as they ARE compliant!

So far there are well over 200 objections to this appalling re-development plan (a grotesque adverse visual impact on the area and the loss of an irreplaceable community asset) a truly sterling effort from the local community which also reflects the wider public outrage at the destruction of public community space in Barnet and elsewhere.

Dave Paterson

Fight The Midland Demolition said...

We now have over 360 objections but we would like more to cement our absolute opposition to such an inappropriate proposal. To let the developers and Barnet planning know that this application is unworkable.

65% of objections are from the local area whilst the rest are from people all over London and beyond!

7 more days to register your objection.

Thank you and all your readers for all the help.

See you on the 13th at The Midland!