Cricklewood rail super-hub to go forward as government secretary refuses inquiry

A billboard urging people to object to the super hub in Cricklewood, pictured in more hopeful time

A billboard urging people to object to the super hub in Cricklewood, pictured in more hopeful times. Picture: NorthWest2 Residents Association - Credit: Archant

Campaigners have spoken of their disappointment after the new local government secretary refused their plea for a public inquiry into the Cricklewood Rail super-hub.

Artist's plans for the new hub in Cricklewood.

Artist's plans for the new hub in Cricklewood. - Credit: Archant

It means the scheme effectively has no more hurdles to clear before work can commence.

The group, backed by councillors in Barnet, Camden and Brent, had submitted a 600-strong petition asking them to look again at the plans for an aggregate site near the Lidl on the Edgware Road.

They believe the 450 lorries a day using the site will drive up air pollution in the area.

The proposal has been contentious since it was first proposed.

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A co-ordinated campaign between councillors in Camden, Brent and Barnet saw more than 4,000 objections lodged with Barnet Council. But they chose to approve the move in February.

Campaigners had hoped James Brokenshire would grant them a reprieve by wading in to the debate.

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But in a letter to Cllr Lia Colacicco, who has led the campaign, Mr Brokenshire kicked responsibility back to Barnet.

Campaign: Cllr Lia Colacicco.

Campaign: Cllr Lia Colacicco. - Credit: Archant

“[I have] not considered the matter of whether this application is EIA [environmental impact assessment] development,” he wrote, meaning he wouldn’t even consider the environmental implications of the scheme.

That’s because, having looked into the matter, he reckons Barnet Council is legally responsible by law for investigating that – rather than his department.

Cllr Colacicco said: “So many residents have put so much into it. It’s a shame we can’t win – we left no stone unturned.”

In June, the mayor of London also refused to “call in” the application.

Mr Khan believes the rail hub complies with his London Plan and draft London Plan, meaning Barnet’s decision will stand.

The mayor of London has the power to “call in” applications that meet certain criteria and can approve or turn them down.

Once developed, the site will be run by DB Cargo, the UK’s largest rail freight haulier.

It has a 125-year lease on the land, whose freehold is owned by National Rail.

Once it’s completed, the site – opposite Cricklewood Bus Garage – will become a storage area for lorries and trains to pick up and drop off aggregates, such as sand and gravel, for work in the construction industry.

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