Brent traffic concerns palmed off

Barnet Council not interested in traffic reducing railway

A SENIOR councillor has dismissed the idea of a light railway system that would tackle increasing traffic and link up North West London as being high risk and of no interest.

Cllr Richard Cornelius, who is responsible for planning and regeneration at Barnet Council, made the comments after Brent and Ealing councils endorsed the scheme that links the boroughs up via Brent Cross.

A broad coalition of MPs, councillors and civil society groups have backed the railway in light of the �4.5billion Brent Cross Cricklewood (BCC) development which is expected to attract thousands of additional cars to the area blocking up roads and increasing pollution.

The Coalition for a Sustainable Brent Cross Cricklewood (CSBCC) had hoped Barnet Council would force BCC developers to build at least part of the railway in exchange for planning permission.

But Cllr Cornelius has made it clear that Barnet Council would not join forces with neighbouring boroughs to consider the scheme.

He said: “Any such railway scheme would be a high-risk project that we would have little interest in pursuing.”

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But John Cox, a transport campaigner and member of the CSBCC, said: “There’s been no feasibility study that’s ever been considered. So how can they call it high risk? We have the whole of West London supporting it apart from Barnet.

“We are going to get a huge increase in traffic from the BCC development, but Barnet doesn’t care about Brent or Camden.”

Cllr Cornelius refused to expand on what the high risks were but Brent Council has made clear its concerns over the risks of additional traffic in Brent.

It said: ‘There are particular concerns over the robustness of the transport assessment.’

Barnet Council hopes a study it has funded of the A5 (Edgware Road-Cricklewood Broadway- Kilburn High Road) will allay any concerns.

But Cllr Shafique Choudhary, who is a member of CSBCC, said: “I am dubious about the quality of the ‘A5 Corridor Study’ that Barnet is now trying to palm us off with. It is not going to reduce the car levels from Brent Cross one bit.”