Secretary of State puts £4bn Brent Cross Cricklewood development on hold

How the new Brent Cross Shopping Centre would look

How the new Brent Cross Shopping Centre would look - Credit: Archant

The controversial Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration project has been put on hold by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Eric Pickles. is the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Governmen

Eric Pickles. is the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Governmen - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Eric Pickles has issued the £4billion scheme with an ‘Article 25’ a month after it was given the green light by Barnet Council.

The holding order will give the Secretary of State more time to assess the plans and decide whether to call it in.

If it is called in the final decision on the plans will be decided by the government rather than Barnet Council.

Under the proposals by developers Hammerson and Standard Life Investments, Brent Cross shopping centre in Hendon will double in size and Cricklewood would undergo a large scale regeneration project.

The £4billion scheme, which campaigners have been battling against, will see the shopping centre in Hendon double in size and a large scale regeneration of the Cricklewood area.

Once completed the scheme will also include 7,500 new homes, 27,000 jobs, three new schools, a new train station, major road improvements, a completely reinvigorated Clitterhouse Playing Fields, new community facilities and much more.

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Lia Colacicco from the Coalition for a Sustainable Brent Cross Cricklewood development, a group that had campaigned against the plans, told the Times: “We have been calling this a dinosaur development because it was conceived in the 1990s - and it shows. There is nothing exciting, visionary or futuristic about it, only basic sustainability measures – just the highest density most profitable option.

“This is a huge victory for us and our dream of a public inquiry is one step closer.”

The original scheme, which was first granted planning permission in 2010, was revised last year following a public outcry to include an expanded shopping centre, a new pedestrian bridge and faster delivery of some of the major transport improvements.

However critics believe the proposals will result in thousands of extra cars travelling through the area and the doubling of the shopping centre plus a proposed installation of an incinerator on the border of Brent will have a detrimental effect on the community.

Cllr Alison Hopkins, Liberal Democrat councillor for Dollis Hill, is vehemently opposed to the plans.

She told the Times: “It’s not just the dump and incinerator which the developers still insist on keeping in their plans, it’s the disastrous changes to road layouts, the tens of thousands of extra cars a day on our roads, and that fact that both Barnet Council and the Brent Cross developers have totally ignored our opinions and wishes.

“I’m calling on Eric Pickles to take notice, at last, of what the people who live here and who will be impacted so badly have to say.”

Campaigners are now hoping that the Secretary of State will reject the recent amendments and call a public inquiry into the plans.

A spokeswoman for Hammerson and Standard Life Investments, said: “Every planning application over a certain size is referred to the Secretary of State and sometimes he asks for longer than the 21 days which he is initially allowed.

“It is a normal part of the planning process and in the meantime we are continuing our discussions with Barnet Council over the detail of the Section 106 agreement.”