Friday 3 September 2021

A complete Friday Joke - Barnet Council's enforcement of planning conditions at Barretts NIMR site

 I generally try and avoid local issues on a Friday. It is the start of the weekend. However, this week I have to break this rule. I received the most nonsensical response to an email that I've ever received from anyone at Barnet Council. Ever since Barratts started redeveloping the National Institute for Medical Research site on the Ridgeway, there has been a ongoing issue with mud and dirt on the road. The planning permission compells Barnet Council to ensure Barratts are washing the wheels of vehicles before they leave the site, so that mud and mess is not left on the pavement and carriageway. There are three reasons why this is important. The first is that dangerous pathogens, asbestos and radioactive materials were identified on the site, and this was deemed necessary to prevent the risk, however small, of these being dispersed beyond the site. The second is that the mud and spoil washes into the gulleys etc, blocking them and increasing the risk of flooding as drains block. The third is that the mud is slippery when wet. There is a primary school within 50 yards of the site. The mud increase the risks of car accidents, people slipping over and also it creates mess on cars.

I have been writing to Barnet Council for three years, providing evidence that the wheel washing is insufficient. Earlier this week, I send two photographs and a video of evidence showing this.

Here is the first picture. As you can see, there are large lumps of clay on the truck wheels. The truck should have had it's wheels jet washed (and also mud spilling from the uncovered top. The trucks are meant to cover the mud, to stop contamination.  Do you think this has been done effectively? 

The second image shows another truck which clearly has wheels covered in dust and soil. It is blurry, but it is quite clear that the wheels have not been washed. Would you agree?

Finally, we have a video. This was taken on the Bank Holiday weekend Monday morning. This shows that the carriageway was covered in mud for the whole of the weekend. There was clearly no washing done.

You would think that this is fairly compelling evidence and that the Council would be up for a site visit and taking enforcement action, wouldn't you? Well here is the reply I got from Barnet Council. 

From: "F*****, R*****" 
Cc: "H*****, R****" ;  "Hooton, John" <>; "Duschinsky, Cllr Val" <>; "Zinkin, Cllr Peter" <>; "Rozenberg, Cllr Gabriel" <>
Sent: Thursday, 2 Sep, 21 At 11:22
Subject: RE: Enforcement Acknowledgement Letter ENF/0925/21

Dear Mr Tichborne,

Thank you for your response.

The wheels shown in your photos appear to be sufficiently clean.

The planning enforcement team are satisfied that, at this time, the developer is complying with their planning obligations with regard to measures to prevent debris being transferred onto the public highway.

A jet wash for wheel washing has been provided at the site and it being utilised as per the approved Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP).

The road sweeper is also in operation to address any overflow, as per the approved CEMP.

In light of the above, there are no grounds for further planning enforcement action in relation to this matter at this time.

Kind regards,

R***** F*****

Senior Compliance Officer

Planning Enforcement Team

London Borough of Barnet, 2 Bristol Avenue, Colindale, NW9 4EW

Tel: 020 8359 **** | Web:

Please note that the comments are provisional and represent an informal view by an officer; the views contained within this email do not constitute an official determination, are not legally binding and do not bind the council to a particular course of action.

RE (Regional Enterprise) Limited is a joint venture between Capita plc and London Borough of Barnet. Registered in England 08615172. Registered Office: 65 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7NQ.

I have redacted the officers name, as I do not wish to hound the workers for the council, but can you imagine a more ridiculous response?

As you can see, I've copied one of Mill Hill's Conservative Councillors. I've had no response. I copied the CEO, no reply. 

It is clear that no one is properly taking the interests of local residents seriously at the Council. There can be no doubt about this now. I have no idea why Barratts have a free pass to break the rules. Can anyone offer an explanation?

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