The planning committee met on Wednesday 25th February at the Hendon Town Hall to decide on the planning application. We were left to understand that they were evenly divided as to supporting or otherwise before the meeting. In the end there was a what looked like 5-3 vote against approving the application. About 3 did not vote.
The fact that we had such a strong presence from residents on the estate and the surrounding streets is testament to the sense of community across the local area which has grown throughout GERA’s campaign.
Granville Estate residents’ representatives Nick Papadimitriou and Susan Berry spoke brilliantly and persuasively, ably supported by the ward councillors.
There were three main reasons for refusing the application:
- a lack of affordable housing – the only provision is shared ownership and a councillor said even that was likely to be unaffordable; they were losing social housing in application to demolish Beech Court and Barnet was looking for land for social housing – their decision therefore was to use their land for social housing;
- the second reason was lack of green space which would result from the plans – councillors read from a Barnet planning directive which said planners were to avoid building on green spaces at all costs and should do so only in emergencies, and one councillor said developers building on there was not an emergency. They therefore recommended that the green spaces should be left for the benefit of the public and as had been planned for, to make up for lack of gardens for the tower blocks and to maintain the country feel of the area. (They did not say all the last two reasons in their summary but they were in Nick – chair, GERA’s representation).
- The third reason was that there was a lack of public amenities. The community centre had been demolished and (pubs had closed down) the library was under threat of closure – there were no public amenities; the Baptist church was a private entity and we should not impose on them. They therefore asked for us to have a hall as we lacked public amenities. It should not to be a small one, said one councillor! Nick, our local liberal councillor Jack Cohen, our local conservative councillor Shimon Ryde and Susan Berry (CLAN) made representation.
As you’ll probably be aware, the developers could still appeal the committee’s decision. If this does happen, rest assured that we will continue resisting.
Thank you and a huge well done to all for the result!