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Decision delayed on 1,000 home project at Cricklewood B&Q UK News

A planning decision on a huge development of over 1,000 homes in Cricklewood has been delayed following government intervention.

Permission for the proposed development for the B&Q site in Broadway Retail Park, Cricklewood Lane, can no longer be issued without Housing Secretary Michael Gove as ministers consider a request for an appeal of the application.

A tool known as the Section 31 directive was issued by Mr Gove last month, preventing the council from making a final decision on the development without “specific authorisation”. If the appeal is accepted, government ministers will decide on the application.

The program, proposed by developer Montreaux, would see 1,049 houses built in blocks up to 18 stories high. It was approved by Barnet Council’s strategic planning committee in September last year before being referred to London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

On March 28, Mr Khan wrote that he would allow the council to rule on the B&Q site’s application and that he would not “lead the denial” or “take the application for my own decision”.

Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer, who lobbied for the nomination to be called, described Gove’s intervention as ‘a brilliant outcome for the many people in my constituency who have worked tirelessly to prevent development to move forward”.

He added: “The size of the proposed development was totally out of step with the local area in terms of design and scale. Also, if the development was approved, it would have pushed our local services to breaking point.

A row has now erupted between local Labor and Tory groups over a leaflet sent by the Tories informing residents of Gove’s decision, which came amid campaigning for the mayoral elections due on May 5 .

The leaflet said the development had been ‘stopped’ and claimed it had been ‘promoted, sponsored or supported by the Labor Party’ through Khan and Transport for London. He also claimed the mayor “strongly supports an even bigger agenda.”

Anne Clarke, Labor councilor for Childs Hill, said the claim that the plan had been ‘blocked’ was ‘completely misleading’, adding: ‘They [Barnet Conservatives] not only approved it at the planning committee without any Conservative councilors speaking out against it, but highlighted the B&Q site for almost the same number of apartments in their local plan.

Labor and Liberal Democrat advisers voted against the plan at last year’s meeting. A Conservative councilor voted against, with the other six Conservative members voting in favor.

Cllr Clarke claimed Gove’s decision amounted to a ‘pause’ of the program until after the election, adding: ‘If Gove really wanted to stop him, he would have.

Peter Zinkin, a Childs Hill Conservative councilor, said he supported the leaflet, adding that the planning report said development of the site was “strongly supported” by the Greater London Authority.

Cllr Zinkin said the mayor previously approved a major project at the Pentavia Retail Park in Mill Hill after a smaller-scale plan was turned down by council, and the committee faced a ‘real dilemma’ when it decided on the requests that would be referred to the mayor. He said the Conservative group was “very worried” about turning down projects where the mayor had “expressed a strong opinion”.

The London Mayor’s office has been contacted for comment.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-12 17:33:00

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