#VisionForBarnet hustings Part 1

The Barnet Society decided on the hashtag, Your Vision For Barnet, for a hustings.

I was there.

(so was Mr Reasonable)


Here is what happened.

The Barnet Society gave us some facts and figures about new homes and planning.

People introduced themselves very briefly; with many candidates.  They were supposed to say their name, their party, and which ward they were standing in.  Some people thought it was a chance to give their biography.  For David Longstaff, this includes chairing the Chipping Barnet Town Team, school governor, and charity.  Lara has a really good elevator pitch and for that reason I predict she will hold the seat held by a Tory in the 2-way marginal area of Underhill, off Mays Lane.

Then there was a stack of questions about development.  The Green Belt is a concern.

What are the parties policies?
The Conservatives say they are tackling empty properties by using council tax as an incentive.  Of course a major policy in this area has been the #BedroomTax which they call the empty properies.  With a freudian slip about greenfield vs brownfield, David Longstaff said that the London Plan will mean more housing which means the Green Belt is under attack.

The Greens say that there are 2,800 empty properties in 2010, and 4,100 empty properties in 2011.  We opposed the way people of Sweets Way were decanted from their homes for profit, and made homeless.  Obi noted the change of designation of green zones, and protecting metropolitan open space from erosion and loss to developers that are supported by parties in power.

The Lib Dems former Councillor said it's also businesses on the High Street that have been empty.

Paul Edwards from Labour who have 2 seats in Underhill as well as some neighbouring towns, and mentioned council housing and affordability.  He then said Conservatives have caved in to developers highlighting the % reduced from viability assessments.  He is still renting because he can't buy his own home.  On the Green Belt, he clarified that Labour will not build on the Green Belt, and blamed the Conservatives for building on the Ark Academy former football stadium.  Walking around, Amy is upset about viability and weak councils too.  She too is looking at incentives around empty properties.  The questioner then asked to reply, and pointed out that people who can afford second homes for £800,000 are not going to be put off by an increase in rates; also made fun of the planning of the Ark Academy.  Longstaff came back and said, Cllr Tim Roberts allegedly voted to develop the old dog kennels, which is on Green Belt land.  He says local Tories have to bear in mind national planning law on school building.  In conclusion it was Labour that originally sold off the Barnet FC cheaply, when they were in charge of Barnet Council a generation ago.

So in conclusion developers are still very much in the picture.  Labour's Amy holds a principled position against Academies and Free Schools, which are still Labour policy.

To be continued...

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