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Estate development plans scuppered – now for the libraries

March 6, 2015 10:03 AM
By Cllr Jack Cohen in Barnet Press

Councillor Jack CohenFOR the first time in 28 years I am not a member of Barnet's main planning committee. So when it met to determine a controversial application in my ward, I leapt at the opportunity to address the committee from the public speaker hot seat.

The room was packed out. People had turned out in force to voice their objections. The application to revamp the Granville Road estate, in Childs Hill, was recommended for approval by planning officers.

Residents were organised and up for the fight. Despite a smooth presentation by the developers, councillors on the committee were impressed enough by the force of argument against the plans, including loss of vital green space, no provision of community facilities, increase in traffic and over-development, that they voted by six to four to refuse the application.

What struck me was that so few of the councillors on the committee said anything or even asked the officers questions.

Indeed when it came to the vote some sheepishly, or so it appeared, raised a hand and even that was hard to detect to such an extent that the normally mild-mannered chairman had to urge them to make their mind up, while those voting against made their intentions clear.

Of course, the residents were delighted and streamed out of the town hall in a happy frame of mind, but all too aware that the developers may well come back again.

In the meantime, however, this result demonstrates that when residents come together in one voice it is possible to protect our environment.

Next stop is saving our libraries.