Welsh Harp community say ‘no’ to building homes on Metropolitan Open Land

PUBLISHED: 16:35 12 February 2020

Neighbours are against plans to demolish Woodfield Nursery and build 41 homes. Picture: Freda Reingold

Neighbours are against plans to demolish Woodfield Nursery and build 41 homes. Picture: Freda Reingold


Neighbours in and around Welsh Harp are urging Barnet Council to refuse an application to build housing on nearby Metropolitan Open Land.

Cool Oak Lane Bridge. Picture: Freda ReingoldCool Oak Lane Bridge. Picture: Freda Reingold

Taylor Wimpey North Thames (TWNT) has put in an application to demolish Woodfield Nursery, in Cool Oak Lane, and build 41 homes and a replacement facility for Greenmantle, the contractor business that has been a tenant at the site since 2003.

Locals are "up in arms" and are telling people to add their objections to the planning application before the deadline on February 17.

Only objections are currently listed, with locals saying they are "100 per cent opposed", saying a residential development would be a "complete eyesore", wouldentail "concreting over the greenbelt" and would "destroy the wildlife conservation area".

Congestion on the narrow country road and safety concerns for a children's special school and adult care centre nearby are also noted.

Weight restrictions on Cool OakLane where neighbours are against a nearby housing application on Metropolitan Open Land. Picture: Freda ReingoldWeight restrictions on Cool OakLane where neighbours are against a nearby housing application on Metropolitan Open Land. Picture: Freda Reingold

In its statement the Welsh Harp Conservation Group said: "Additional housing in the area is more than covered by the West Hendon Redevelopment Project which includes over 2,000 housing units."

The group said: "A number of common bird species use the site for roosting, feeding and breeding and all are protected under existing legislation."

Members of the Silver Jubilee Park Residents

Association have sent Barnet Council their objections reminding officers that development on the MOL would be contrary to its Unitary Development Plan.

Chair of the association Freda Raingold said: "Everybody is absolutely furious. Cool Oak Lane is almost like a country lane, very narrow, where you go over a

listed bridge single file on a very winding road.

"It will bring chaos for local residents. Metropolitan Open Land is not for housing developments."

Ms Raingold said that in December Brent Council put traffic restrictions of 20mph on Cool Oak Lane and limits to the number of heavy vehicles.

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The community may have a battle on its hands for TWNT has written in its documents that "discussions with the council have unfortunately proven unhelpful" and that the "applicants (...)have no option but to proceed with the submission of a planning application, and an appeal thereafter, if necessary, in order to obtain a conclusive response".

According to Land Registry documents, Barnet Council made a transfer of the land to Garden & Plants Centre Developments Ltd, of Loves Grove, Worcester, on August 7 2001 for £184.500.

Cllr Roxanne Mashari, Brent's Labour representative for Welsh Harp, said: "Every year it seems somebody tries their luck in trying to build over the Welsh Harp.

"The Welsh Harp is one of our most ecologically significant and iconic areas not just in Brent but across London. I would like to make this clear to developers and Barnet Council: The Welsh Harp is not for sale.

"This area belongs to local residents and to our wildlife and we will fight to protect it just like we have done many times in the past."

John Plummer, director of Greenmantle, has a letter in the document offering support for development, stating: "As part of this proposal we are being offered a larger area for our landscape and green waste recycling business along with new offices, stores and workshops all of which we welcome.

"We would therefore like to register our support for the redevelopment on the site and hope that Barnet will see fit to grant planning permission for the proposed works."

A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson, said the company has been working with the landowner of the site, but declined to say who the landowner is.

"We are confident that we have submitted a high-quality planning application to Barnet Council to provide 41 new homes on land off Cool Oak Lane.

"We will continue to work closely with the council to develop our plans and will listen to feedback from the local community to ensure that any development meets the needs of local people," they said.

A Barnet Council spokesperson said: "Public consultation on this application is open until February 17.

"All applications are considered on their merits and in due course any feedback received during consultation will form part of the information that will be considered when a decision is made"

Planning application number is 19/6696/FUL or put in Woodfield Nursery into planning search link

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