I have consistently opposed development proposals for this former retail site beside the A1 in Mill Hill.
I believe the proposals are in breach of numerous planning policies including those of Barnet Council, the Greater London Authority and the National Planning Policy Framework. My reasons are as follows:
1. The proposals constitute overdevelopment, are not visually attractive and will have a detrimental impact on the surrounding area.
Barnet Council's Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) states: "Proposals for new residential development should respond to the distinctive local building forms and patterns of development and respect the scale, massing and height of the surrounding physical context." (Barnet SPD 6.12)
National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that development "Should respond to local character and history".
I do not believe the proposals meet either of these directives. Furthermore, they are contrary to Barnet’s SPD (6.2) that: "New residential development provides the opportunity to reinforce the character of an area by contributing and adding to the positive aspects of the built and natural environment."
The mass of the prosed development and the proposed 17 storey tower block will be out of keeping with other buildings in Mill Hill which are low-rise and low density.
2. Poor access to and from the site and consequent isolation.
Barnet's SPD 10.1 states that people should be allowed to go about their daily life with ease. I have challenged the accessibility to this development since the initial planning application. It is my view that the poor accessibility is likely to undermine the quality of life for those living there to the extent of isolation from local amenities and ultimately a risk of ghettoization.
3. Lack of facilities.
The proposals are contrary to The London Plan 7.1. which seeks to implement the principles of Lifetime Neighbourhoods which provide people with the best possible access to services, infrastructure and public transport.
The application does not provide, nor does it have easy access to, sufficient community facilities such as shops, schools, workplaces, play areas, restaurants, pubs or cafes. Change of use on this site from restaurant and retail has reduced amenities which are not replaced elsewhere in Mill Hill. Pressure on limited existing facilities and amenities therefore will increase to the detriment of all residents.
4. Inadequate parking provision
Whilst encouraging alternative forms of transport such as cycling, realistically, 500 car park spaces for 717 flats (0.7 per flat) is totally inadequate for residents in a suburban location with poor Public Transport Accessibility Level (PTAL) rating. Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics indicate that car ownership per household has increased. The isolated nature of this site indicates that car ownership will be relatively high and insufficient car parking provision will put further pressure on neighbouring roads.
In summary, it is my view that the proposals for this location do not constitute a sustainable, high quality of life form of development. The proposals are out of keeping with the nature of Mill Hill and for these reasons I am opposed to this application.