*** updated 12.00 1st April 2023
Barnet Council have issued the following clarification regarding this matter
The Barnet Eye has been searching through recent council papers and we have found details of a massive council cock up, that has left Barnet Council facing millions of pounds of legal compensation fees. When planning permission was granted for Brent Cross Shopping Centre in the early 1970's, a clause was inserted requiring the site to be returned to it's original function as a dog racing track in 50 years, otherwise Barnet Council would be liable to pay a bequest equivalent to TEN TIMES the value of the site to the British Dog track association. The clause was inserted, to ensure that if a rise in popularity for dog racing required the reinstatement of a dog track in the Borough, the council would make an alternative site available. The dog track was on the site of what is now Brent Cross.
Hendon Greyhound Stadium at night, 1968. The road is the A406 North Circular. A truly glorious photo by Chris Morphet on the Getty Images site. All of this was sacrificed in 1971 when the road was widened.— NW London TimeMachine (@time_nw) August 7, 2021
Note the Lambretta scooter.@ArtDecoSocUK @C20Society pic.twitter.com/fZiUSFLhOB
Such clauses are quite common in planning applications. Barnet council had an option to offer the dog racing association an alternative site, or pay £10 million in 2011, forty years after the planning permission was granted. Sadly, Barnet Council neglected to review the clause or make an offer to the dog racing association. As the Dog racing association have an absolute right to the site and Barnet Council is liable, the council is faced with a huge dilemma. Council officers have been checking the small print and have found that the exact wording would allow for the Council to provide a virtual track, based on Imax cinema technology. The plans involve Barnet Council recieving live streamed dog races from around the UK, with punters experiencing the full dog racing experience, without having to have a full size dog track. It is understood that a substancial payment will also be made to the dog track association.
Barnet Council are looking for a partner for the Imax cinema and the intention is to rebuild the orignal facade and turnstiles. When the cinema is not acting as a virtual dog track, it will show other films. There are also exciting plans for virtual dog track tours, where you can go behind the scenes and see the dogs getting fed, exercised and warmed up. Apparently the council are expecting a backlash from animal rights groups, who consider greyhound racing cruel. It is also understood that talks are at an early stage with a large chain of bookmakers, who are interested in screening classic horse races such as the Grand National and The Derby. There are interesting plans for VIP boxes at the site, offering the full experience, without having to drive to Liverpool. There are also plans for a Super Casino as part of the complex
In council papers the Leader of The Council, Barry Rawlings said "This is not what we wanted to spend money on when we took over last May, but the incompetence of the previous regime has left us with no choice. As such, we have to make the best of the mess. Although talks are at an early stage, there is a very real prospect that Brent Cross could become the UK's answer to Las Vegas and generate a huge amount of revenue for Barnet Council. With the decline of the need for space for shops, to make Brent Cross regeneration work, we need new uses for the space which would have previously been used for retailing". Tory group Leader Daniel Thomas commented "This is typical of Labour Councils, wasting money on bonkers schemes. It will end up with Barnet Council following Croyden into bankruptcy".
The Barnet Eye is keeping a close eye on this and thank the Local Conservative Councillor who rather naughtily put all of the blue papers through our letterbox ( an offence under the local government act). We believe there is a huge and demonstrable public interest in this matter. We do not believe that Barnet Labour should be encouraging gambling. The note stated that this shows the true hypocrisy of the local Labour party, who vehemently opposed a previous bid to get a super casino at Brent Cross.
Have a lovely weekend. Please note this post was originally posted at 00:00 hours on 1st April UTC +13 Time