Hundreds call for government intervention over �4bn town centre
Susanna Wilkey HUNDREDS of people have signed a petition calling for the government to intervene in the plans for a new �4billion town centre in Brent Cross. Campaigners believe it is not in the public interest for Barnet Council to determine the applicat
HUNDREDS of people have signed a petition calling for the government to intervene in the plans for a new �4billion town centre in Brent Cross.
Campaigners believe it is not in the public interest for Barnet Council to determine the application, which will create 27,000 jobs, 7,500 homes, doctors, three schools, hotels, waste facilities, parks, a new high street and invest �400million in transport.
They want the secretary of state for communities and local government Hazel Blears to call in the application before it is due to be decided by councillors provisionally in mid-June.
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The petition has been organised by Brent Friends of the Earth (BFOE) along with residents' associations and cycling groups from Barnet, Camden and Brent.
Lia Colacicco, from BFOE, said: "Barnet are just going to pass it because they stand to make money from all of this.
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"This is not like a conservatory or a supermarket where it could go one way or another - we believe they will approve it because they have invested so much time and money working with this developer. Barnet Council gets the gain and the people around get the pain from traffic, noise, pollution, gridlock, an incinerator and a waste dump. This is a whole town centre, not just a supermarket, and the government needs to get involved.
"We are hugely concerned about the traffic. The development is going to bring 29,000 extra car journeys per day which is 10million per year.
"The level of pollution on the North Circular is already bordering illegal levels and this will make it a lot worse."
Campaigners hope to get as many signatures as possible before sending the petition and are urging people to individually write to Ms Blears.
Fellow BFOE member Viv Stein added: "Given this is the second or third largest development in the country, we feel that it should not be going to one local authority but called in for wider scrutiny."
Cricklewood Community Forum chairwoman Pauline McKinnell, of Hendon Way, said: "We want to do anything to stop it. We think it will be such a huge mistake if it goes ahead and we want it to get more consideration.
"The petition says it all - the plan is unsustainable and is ill thought through. A total of 7,500 homes cannot fit into the area without resulting in total gridlock and an unhealthy living environment."
Brent and Camden Councils have already strongly opposed to the development.
A Barnet Council spokesman said: "We are intending to produce a report on the application for a meeting of the planning and environment committee in the next two months. All views will be taken into account and reported to the committee."
Jonathan Joseph, from the Brent Cross Cricklewood Development Partners, said: "We have rehearsed many times, including in the letters pages of this newspaper, the fact that Brent Cross Cricklewood is a thoroughly progressive planning application that is fully in accordance with London-wide and local planning policy - and which is doing more than any other scheme in the capital to reduce carbon emissions in a modern and safe way, categorically excluding incineration.
"It is completely incorrect for Brent Friends of the Earth to suggest that Barnet Council has not already given the application the most thorough scrutiny - they have, and they continue to do so."
o To sign the petition, visit www.petition.co.uk/campaign_