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Brent politician vows to lobby London Mayor over Welsh Harp development plans

PUBLISHED: 11:59 29 July 2013 | UPDATED: 11:59 29 July 2013

How the West Hendon housing estate on the reservoir could look

How the West Hendon housing estate on the reservoir could look

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Navin Shah strongly objects to proposals to build 2,000 homes in West Hendon

Navin Shah will be lobbying Boris JohnsonNavin Shah will be lobbying Boris Johnson

A Brent politician has vowed to lobby the Mayor of London to stop a controversial housing development from going ahead.

Navin Shah, the Labour Brent and Harrow London Assembly Member, said he will be contacting Boris Johnson after Barnet Council gave the scheme on the Welsh Harp reservoir the green light last week.

The council voted five to four in favour for the plans which will result in more than 2,000 homes, including a 29-storey tower block, being built near the nature reserve on the border of Brent.

Critics of the scheme claim have campaigned against the plans, submitted by Barratt Metropolitan LLP, claiming the new homes will spoil the landscape of the reservoir.

Barnet Council received 350 written objections from residents as well as a letter signed unanimously by Brent council’s executive last month and an 850-strong petition in May.

Mr Shah, a qualified architect, spoke on behalf of Brent residents at the meeting and conveyed his strong objection to the development.

The scheme must now be approved by Mr Johnson before it can go ahead.

Mr Shah is urging resident to join him in lobbying the Mayor’s office, he said: “This shocking decision by Barnet Council will obliterate the beautiful landscape, tranquility and ecological values of a site which is supposed to be protected for its scientific interest.”

“On every single key issue like the density, urban design (height of blocks), housing, community facilities and transport and traffic, the application is seriously flawed.

“29 Storey tower block may be fine for Manhattan but spell total disaster for Welsh Harp.”

“It is dreadful that Barnet Council has failed to listen to the local communities in Brent and Barnet.

“The Mayor would now have a final say on this application and I will be lobbying him to reject this application. I urge residents and campaigners to press Mayor Johnson for refusal and save this significant spot of natural beauty from permanent destruction.”

Cllr Roxanne Mashari, Brent Council’s lead member for environment and neighbourhoods, echoed My Shah’s views, she said: “We’re incredibly disappointed, it was a very close vote - nail bitingly close. “We’re going to be taking the fight to Boris and we hope he realises that this isn’t a party political issue that can be steamrollered through.”

Councillor Daniel Thomas, Barnet Council deputy leader, said: “It has taken a number of years to get to this point and I am extremely pleased that the much needed transformation of this estate has moved a step closer to becoming a reality.”

“A great deal of time and effort has gone into making Barnet’s regeneration schemes feasible in a very difficult economic climate, and I’m delighted that this project will deliver much needed quality housing along with a new school and other community facilities in West Hendon, and contribute to enhancing the town centre here.”

A spokesman for Barratt Metropolitan said: “This planning approval is a huge milestone in the long awaited regeneration of the West Hendon Estate. We look forward to working closely with residents of the estate and other community stakeholders as we move forwards with this hugely exciting project.”


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