Barratt Homes accused of advertising flats for Welsh Harp development before planning permission is granted
- Credit: Archant
Barnet Council is backing controversial scheme in West Hendon while Brent Council is against it
Campaigners have questioned the tactics of developers for a proposed scheme on the Welsh Harp reservoir after it was claimed they were advertising flats not yet granted planning permission.
The claims come after residents visited an information centre run by Barratt Homes, who are planning to put 2,000 flats including four tower blocks, on the shores of the popular reservoir and nature reserve as part of the West Hendon redevelopment plans.
The controversial project has been met with strong opposition from local councillors in neighbouring Brent, residents and activists who fear it could have an adverse effect on the wildlife and spoil its unique landscape.
It is due to be voted on by Barnet Council’s planning committee in the summer with a deadline for objections to the council set for May 14.
A spokesman for Barnet Council told the Times they were “fully supportive” of the scheme subject to planning assessment.
But residents posing as prospective buyers claim they were told new homes would soon be available.
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Zerine Tata, a member of the Save the Welsh Harp campaign group, said: “I was told Barratt’s had a 10-year project to develop the land next to the “waterfront”, the first of which should be available to purchase in about 12-18 months.
“Do we presume from this that Barratt’s have already purchased/leased all this waterfront land?
“If they have, then surely they would not do that unless they have definitely got the “green light” from Barnet to go ahead with these plans?”
Martin Francis, a member of Brent’s Green Party, who also visited the information centre at West Hendon said: “The fact that three people have separately had the same experience that it seemed like a done deal tells its own story.
“My concern is also that they may be submitting an application for tall buildings on the basis that they may need to argue a reduction in height.
“Even if this is the case it would still be too big and have a detrimental impact on the wild-life and surroundings.”
The Welsh Harp has been registered as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and the area is home to both birds and other wildlife and is a popular destination for residents both in Brent and beyond.
Developers Barratt Metropolitan LLP claim they will provide a “green buffer” to protect the shore of the reservoir and have said a full environmental assessment had been sent to the council.
A Barratt Metropolitan LLP denied claims they already owned the land.
He said: “BMLLP do not yet own the land required for the next phase of the regeneration, this is subject to the planning application process.
“People are still responding as part of the consultation process and we again look forward to hearing people’s views.
“Barratt Homes’ sales team is fully aware of the status of the planning application.”