Brent Cross Expansion not what we need

As some green leaders published a petition for a London National Park, here's a letter I got printed in the local Times on July 11, 2013
I was disheartened to read they still want to expand Brent Cross shopping centre, but not pay for some of the good elements of the Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration.
We don't need another vanity project.  What we need in the Brent Cross community is small businesses, we need places to meet without buying junk food or clothes. We don't need more personal debt, but places of worship especially for Muslims who have only one mosque compared to dozens of shuls and/or churches.
We need a better-funded college and high-quality state school system and activities for young people such as a football club, canoeing on the Welsh Harp and an affordable rail link to the beach.
We need industrial provident societies and co-ops, not uncaring slum landlords and mortgages.
We need green jobs to reverse the build-up of litter and discarded furniture.
Ben Samuel
Barnet Green Party

John Cox of Chelsea Close, Willesden, writes
Please take part in consultation
So here we are, five years on and it's an other "Brent Cross Cricklewood consultation"
There are the same people involved, but a few things have changed.
The evelopers are chastened by the credit crunch (the Brent Cross owners nearly collapsed in 2009), but seem determined to build an out-of-town car-based shopping centre, double the size.
The new public streets north of the North Circular Road have gone and privately-owned sweeping arcades have replaced them.  They look fine, but I want to see some publicly-owned land there, part of a safe, livable, yet imperfect town centre, not sterile privatised paths, even if some have "24-hour access".
The developers have added a "leisure" and restaurants to the mix of extra shops,  which are two o f the few growth areas in the current long recession.
The new pedestrian street over the North Circular is a big improvement theough the developers are ignoring how noisy it is there.  Acousitc Screetning can never be effective at least without boxing the street entirely.
I question the plan fo housing and a south school of the North Circular because the developers are sellin gup there.  The yave found no companyu to build them as yet and it is rediculous to start calling the area part of Phase One when it isn't.
There are still no corridors for future light-rail lines (DLR or trams). According to the Mayor of London there witll be ten million people in London by 2030, from seven million in 2000.  We will need a light rail to aviod grinding to a halt.  (A London Underground line under the £4.5 million Brent Cross site could cost maybe ten times as much.)
Any later Brent Cross Thameslink station will apparently be paid for on credit, garanteed by Barnet Borough Council.  THat is risky and I think it means Cricklewood Station would close, which is not exactly a popular move.
Please visit the  consultation and mention safe-guarding of land for light-rail, if you want to support that.  The public can apply pressure to Transport for London because Barnet's transport strategy unit is alarmingly ineffective.
There is a consultation card to fill ou, with three loaded questions "Motherhood?" "Apple pie?" and Would you like cream on that? Everyone will answer yes and the developers will claim everon backs their new scheme.  We need to treat the public better than that but perhaps we are making progress.
John Cox

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