A North London MP has slammed plans to build five new tower blocks as they would provide ‘minimal benefits’ for residents. The redevelopment of a car park in Burnt Oak, which lies on the border between the boroughs of Harrow, Brent and Barnet, could mean the loss of 200 parking spaces and the closure of a local library.
Property developers Linkcity have partnered with Barnet Council to deliver more than 300 flats by redeveloping Watling Avenue Car Park, situated behind Burnt Oak Station on the Northern Line. The council claims it will “revitalise the town centre” by providing new homes, green space, and cycle links.
However, MP for Harrow East, Bob Blackman, is fighting the plan and has urged residents to get involved in the scheme’s on-going public consultation. He believes the development would “build over vital station car parks” and has given “little consideration” to residents and commuters.
Barnet Council approved the site for redevelopment back in 2021 and signed the agreement with Linkcity for the proposed scheme in February of this year. If it goes ahead, the more than 300 build-to-rent flats will be in five high-rise buildings ranging between six and twelve storeys. They will comprise a mix of private and affordable homes.
The plan also includes commercial and community facilities, a public car park, a new park along the Silk Stream, and pedestrian and cycle links though the site – connecting Burnt Oak to Edgware. It suggests the development is based on “garden city” principles and designed to “address the housing need in the borough as well as providing a long-term income stream”.
On his website, Mr Blackman MP, has started a campaign to “save Watling Avenue Car Park”. He suggests the plan would “blatantly ignore” a rule which caps the size of developments in the area, as well as placing additional strain on residential roads due to the loss of parking spaces, and “no guarantee” that Burnt Oak Library will reopen.
He said: “This proposal is another example of developers blatantly disregarding local planning rules. The height of the proposals ignores the 6-storey cap in the London Plan and there is no consideration of the knock-on effects to residential roads and infrastructure.”
He added: “The height of the proposals needs to be brought back in line with the London Plan. Over three million passengers used Burnt Oak station in 2022 with Watling Avenue car park directly behind the station. The vague nature of car parking availability not only for commuters, but also residents and visitors to the area needs to be resolved.
“The library will also have to be moved, but there is no guarantee where it will be moved to, if ever. The Burnt Oak library also serves Harrow residents after Harrow Council previously closed the Edgware Library, citing the fact residents could use Burnt Oak Library!”
A public consultation is already underway on the initial plans and will run until November 27. Two further in-person events to discuss the proposals will also be held next week (October 13) outside Burnt Oak Library and Burnt Oak Tube Station.
Barnet Council were approached for comment but did not respond ahead of publication.