�4.5 billion regen project signed off

A �4.5 billion regeneration project was given the go-ahead after a council agreed the finer details to an additional �1 billion worth of investment by the developer.

Barnet Council’s approval comes after a decade of meetings, reports and negotiations that have raised fierce opposition across several north London boroughs to aspects of the Brent Cross Cricklewood development.

The Coalition for a Sustainable BCC Plan (CSBCCP) have continually criticised elements of the plans including: a waste handling facility or incinerator, that will burn waste next to a Brent primary school; pollution, caused by an additional 29,000 car journeys made to the area and the negative impact on local businesses.

The developer, which disputes the Coalition’s findings, says the project will create thousands of jobs and homes in an area in desperate need of investment.

Lia Colacicco, co-ordinator of the CSBCCP, said: “This controversial scheme is based on last century assumptions about housing, transport and mega shopping centres. With capacity for additional retail space in London already under intense scrutiny, why double the Brent Cross shopping centre causing further devastation of local high streets across north and west London.”

While outline permission has been agreed, each building must still go before planning committees for approval where opposition groups say they will fight them individually.

Ms Colacicco said: “This is a sad day for local democracy, but people still have the chance to fight this development building by building - starting with the incinerator.”

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The additional investment secured by Barnet Council, called S106 agreements, includes �515.5 for new transport infrastructure and the Waste Handling facility.

The Coalition says the money will encourage more car usage and the opportunity to build a light railway system that would improve links across north London and help reduce pollution and traffic has been missed.

Navin Shah, Labour party Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow, said: “The planning process has been a complete shambles from start to finish. Every single authority responsible for the assessment of the planning application has abjectly failed.

“My constituents are now left facing the prospect of hugely increased traffic and congestion, and an incinerator with a 140m high chimney, equivalent to a 50-storey tower block on their doorsteps.”

A further �189 million will be spent on ‘environmental measures’, �112m on ground clean-up and waste disposal, �109m on community and social infrastructure and �38.5m on public open and green space.

Jonathan Joseph, spokesman for the Brent Cross Cricklewood Development Partners, said: “Now that we have secured planning approval we can start to address key conditions of the Section 106 Agreement in addition to other detailed work necessary to facilitate a start on site in around four years time. A vital part of our work moving forward will be engagement with local people and the wider community to ensure that everyone is fully involved with and informed of our plans.”