Aug 23 2012 by Ian Proctor, Harrow Observer
DESIGNS for plans to overhaul an Edgware housing estate have been criticised by opponents, along with the handling of the public consultation.
Neighbours on the Harrow borough boundary are unhappy, not only about the look and scale of the Stonegrove and Spur Road Estate, which lies on the Barnet side, but an error by Barnet Council which inadvertently blocked internet users from submitting their objections.
Developer Barratt Evolution’s redevelopment project, called Evolution At Edgware, already has outline planning permission from the council but the detailed reserved matters – design, appearance and landscaping – need to be confirmed before work commences.
Rhona Myers, of Stonegrove, Edgware, said: “We have lived alongside the run-down Stonegrove Estate in the expectation that something better would replace it.
“We were promised top-quality design and build and we were therefore shocked to see the plans for the next phase; they are ugly beyond belief and totally out of keeping with the local area.
“Imagine our frustration when we tried to submit comments online, as invited to do, well before the deadline, and found that this application is now marked ‘Comments may not be submitted at this time. There is no public consultation applicable for this application’. There now needs to be a new, wider consultation to ensure that all of those affected are given a fair opportunity to express their views.”
Canons ward Councillor Husain Akhtar (Conservative) wrote to the leader of Barnet Council to convey his constituents’ ire and to seek an explanation of the handling of the consultation.
He said: “The ugliest buildings are facing Canons and residents are very concerned. The design has been described as a ‘matchbox’ and the colour scheme does not fit with the characteristics of the area.
“The developers have changed the specifications over a number of months and years and when applicants do not discharge their conditions, there is usually a consolidated application to tidy everything up, which is what residents were led to believe this was.
“Normally a big application like this would go before the council’s planning committee for a decision but the comments have been taken down, the public consultation is not taking place and the whole thing looks like it’s going to be taken behind closed doors under delegated powers.”
A Barnet Council spokesman said: “The application is still under consideration by the council’s planning officers and, due to a delay in displaying the plans and documents on the website, the council’s planning team is happy to receive comments up until August 31.
“For a short time the planning website incorrectly stated that comments were not being accepted and this has now been changed. We apologise for this error and confirm that comments can still be submitted via the website up to August 31. Of course, residents have always had the option to respond to the consultation by letter or email.”