Saturday, 23 July 2011

[Updated] Freehold Community Association: Two submissions to Haringey Council

30 June 2011:

"At a meeting with ourselves and other residents on the 4th May 2011, the Managing Director of the North London Waste Authority, Mr David Beadle, stated that, in relation to the Pinkham Way site, "We have no plan B."

"This statement clearly evidences the strategic importance of the Pinkham Way site, and the London Borough of Haringey, as members of the North London Waste Authority, have been fully aware of the strategic importance of this site since 2009. They have also been fully aware, since 2009 that, as the local planning authority, they would be required to give planning permission for the destruction of the Pinkham Way site to build a 300,000 tonne waste treatment plant.

"The environmental, social and human impact of this development is far beyond significant, and must be subject to Haringey's duties to provide a strategic environmental assessment. They have no powers that allow them to abdicate all or any of their duties, in relation to their Core Strategy, to the North London Waste Authority. We believe that Haringey's reliance on the 'North London Waste Plan' to meet their duty to prepare an environmental report in relation to the Pinkham Way site to be unlawful.

"We contend that, under the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004, it is Haringey that has a clear duty to fully consult, not only our Association as the managers of a Community Centre located on the site, [but also] the Haringey residents who live within a few meters of the site and, because of the cross boundary situation of the site, the residents of the Freehold Community in general. Their failure to do so we believe to be in breach of the Act and therefore unlawful.

We contend that, under the above Act, and because of the relationship between Haringey and the North London Waste Authority, Haringey failed in their duty to ensure transparent decision-making and that the complex inter-relationship between Haringey, Barnet and the North London Waste Authority required full and detailed explanation to the public. Their failure to do so is therefore in breach of their duty and is unlawful.

"We contend that, under the above Act, and because of their direct knowledge of the proposed development of the Pinkham Way site since 2009, the public exhibition held in our community in February 2011 by the North London Waste Authority, and relied on by Haringey as fulfilling their duties under this Act, does not comply with the Act, and they had a clear duty to ensure that appropriate time frames for the consultation process, including the expression of opinions was implemented. Their failure to do so is in breach of their duty and therefore unlawful.

"At the end of May 2011, the North London Waste Authority submitted their outline planning application for the Pinkham Way site. Haringey, as the local planning authority have announced that, because of the significant nature of the proposal, they are going to carry out a major public consultation which will last until October, and it will be open to anyone who feels they have an interest in the site and the proposal. This is perverse in the extreme. The Core Strategy is supposed to guide local planning decisions. Not the other way around.

"For the above reasons, we believe that the Pinkham Way site, and all matters relating to its development for a waste treatment plant, should be withdrawn from the Core Strategy, and made the subject of a specific environmental impact assessment and public consultation."

Link to

(Photo: Chris Whippet)

8 June 2011:

Submission for 'Haringey Core Strategy'

"We write on behalf of our community organisation, to object to the proposed Haringey 'Core Strategy', in relation to the proposed re-designation of the remaining part of the former Friern Barnet Sewage Works (now called the Pinkham Way Site) from an open green space of Grade 1 Borough Importance, with two designated sites of natural importance, to industrial use, in particular for waste and waste treatment.

"We regret that we have not raised our objections sooner, but we have never been consulted by Haringey on any of their Core Strategy Plans at any time, and in particular on their proposals for the Pinkham Way Site. The requirement to do so would seem paramount, as our Community Centre is actually built on the Pinkham Way Site, and is approximately 15m from the boundary of the remaining open green space. We are Haringey business tax payers, and we provide, under our articles, facilities for the benefit of Haringey residents, as well as Barnet. Our Haringey members living within 25m of the existing site.

"Our organisation and members did not begin to discover the full proposals for the Pinkham Way site until February of this year. We were aware that the NLWA would need to submit a planning application to Haringey, and we intend to make objections to this application. What we were unaware of was the obviously well-hidden proposal to change the designation of this site. This appears to be solely to suit the 'North London Waste Plan' and the associated boroughs, in particular Barnet and Haringey.

"In 1984, the London Borough of Barnet, as owners of the site, held a public exhibition and consultation with the residents of the Freehold, proposing that the then site, which stretched from Alexandra Road to the railway line, should be designated as Public Open Space. A detailed questionnaire and plans were presented to our residents, and in particular our predecessor organisation, the 'Freehold Residents Association'.

"The proposals as presented, and still retained by us, were overwhelmingly supported, and as a result, the first part of the proposal, the building of our community centre, was completed on the site in September 1986. This was followed by another section of the site being developed to provide our small park, Hollickwood Park in approximately 1993. The remainder of the site, as the plans in our possession show, was designated to be used in a far less formal manner, with woodland walkways, a bmx trail, and ponds and nature areas.

"We strongly believe that the London Borough of Barnet gave a clear undertaking, for the use of this site for the environmental benefit of our residents. We would maintain that, by providing our community centre and park, that they committed themselves fully to completing their commitment with the rest of the site, as and when finance became available. 

"This commitment appeared to be underscored by Haringey’s designation of the site as Open Green Space. At no time have we, or our members, been consulted by either Barnet or Haringey on any proposals to either sell the site for development, as has now been done by Barnet, for 10 million pounds, to the North London Waste Authority, or to re-designate the site as suitable for industrial use.

"Since 1963, with the closure of the sewage work, generations of our children and residents have had free access to this site. It has been used regularly for dog walking, bonfire nights, barbecues, camping out and as a fantastic adventure playground. When our community centre was constructed, we were provided with our own access gate onto the site, and it was used regularly by our members, and public access has existed over the site for nearly 50 years.

"Considering the damage done to this piece of land, it has rewarded us with a substantial environmental benefit. It has become a major habitat for most of the wildlife we now see in our area, and we regularly watch bats circling the lights of our centre searching for food. It provides a buffer to the noise and pollution from the A406, especially for the residents in Alexandra Road. At present it is an ecologically positive 65,000 square meters of much needed biodiversity. 

"It’s destruction would negatively affect the flood risk to the area, and beyond to the Lea Valley flood plain, as it does not at present contribute to any drainage system. In fact, it absorbs and disposes, through the transpiration of the large number of mature trees, thousands of litres of rainwater every year, without any risk. It has become a truly sustainable site of importance.

"Our organisation, on behalf of our members, believe that the Core Strategy as it relates in particular to the remaining Pinkham Way site, is unsound and illegal, on the following grounds. 

"Haringey have clearly failed in their duty to involve, as indicated, in their Statement of Community Involvement.

"They have failed to provide any evidence that the choice of this site was arrived at by proper process or evidence base. In fact, their documents appear to show that this site was chosen and then supported by convenience, rather than hard facts.

"The inter-relationship between Haringey, Barnet and the North London Waste Authority has not been clearly explained, and the process appears to have been deliberately manipulated to make our ability to make representations as confused as possible. We strongly believe that either Barnet, or more likely Haringey, had a duty to ensure that a comprehensible explanation of the whole process, and the importance of the relationships between them was made to our members, before the individual parts were presented. 

"The proposal to turn an Open Green Space into a 300,000-tonne waste plant is of enormously significant importance, and required an equivalent level of consultation and explanation. Haringey, as one of the North London Waste Authority boroughs, and obviously aware of the proposal for Pinkham Way at a very early stage, had a duty to ensure its residents, who would obviously be affected, were fully consulted.

"As a small registered charity run by volunteer trustees, we do not have the resources or manpower to investigate and comment on three proposals, all occurring at different times, but all leading to the same end. We believe that this is unfair, and has placed our members at a distinct disadvantage. The information that has been presented has been incomprehensible, especially to our older members. 

"The reliance on web-based information has not been available to the 92% of our membership who do not have computers. Some of the documents do not refer to the Pinkham Way site at all. For example, on the map showing the nature conservation sites, it does not show any proposed changes to the Pinkham Way site's nature reserve status.

"It appears that, even if we had been aware of the fundamental changes to the plan, then the consultation period only lasted four weeks instead of six, which seems at odds with Haringey’s Statement of Community Involvement.

"In summary, we believe that the proposed changes of designation for the Pinkham Way site should be removed from the Core Strategy, as the proposals are unsound and illegal."

"Although we appreciate that this submission is beyond the deadline of 7th June, we believe that this is due to lack of consultation on Haringey’s part, and not any lack of concern by ourselves or our members. We request that our initial objections are raised as above, and that we be included in any inspection. We would request the opportunity to attend, and to be included as a participant in the hearings. 

"We are at present gathering further evidence of the public use of the site, and will make this available to any hearing. We are also preparing a more detailed assessment of the environmental impact the possible designation change will have on our area, which we would also like to present."

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