Thursday, June 13, 2013

Action needed now !

Barnet Council has featured again this week in the national media with the "Daily Mail ", Radio 5 live and BBC London amongst others reporting on the shanty town reportedly full of Roumanian migrants that is flourishing on the former site of Hendon Football Club over in Cricklewood , very near to Brent Cross .

This problem is not new , in Spring last year , the night of the Mayor's Ball if I remember rightly , there was a major fire on this site and it took the London Fire Brigade a considerable time to confirm that fortunately there were no casualties amongst the derelict buildings, rubble and rubbish which was being used as some sort of shanty town by mainly Roumanian and mostly illegal casual workers . Indeed any weekday morning you can see these migrants workers lined up on Cricklewood Broadway

The freehold of this site is owned by Barnet Council and although there have been endless legal arguments and even a protracted land tribunal hearing over the last 15 years or so , the site is earmarked for development for much needed housing and no doubt once the housing market picks up developers will get on with it . In the meantime local residents have to put up with this eyesore and the resulting nuisance and people are living in conditions which make war torn Damascus look like a luxury holiday .

There is no sanitation , the place is over run with vermin and it is an all round health hazard and frankly in the event of another fire a death trap .

The Council has the power to deal with any dangerous structure any where in the Borough if necessary and take remedial action and send the landowners the bill . In this case never mind any disputes with the leaseholder the Council has an increased responsibility as the freeholder of the site .

During the media ho ha on Monday apparently " nobody from Barnet Council was available for interview" . Very odd . Where was the Leader of the Council or the Cabinet member for the Environment , Councillor Dean Cohen ?

 Indeed this site lies in Councillor Dean Cohen's Ward , although rumour has it  not in an end of the Ward he often visits . When in the Summer of 2001 there was a spate of Irish Traveller invasions of greenbelt land in Totteridge and elsewhere the late Victor Lyon, Kevin Edson  and I as Ward Councillors were at Brook Farm before the sun had set and we even had Sir Sydney Chapman then MP for Chipping Barnet return from  his Summer break to reassure residents everything possible was being done to move these people on and deal with the issues of abandoned vehicles and dumped rubbish  . Once the travellers had left  the Council moved in swiftly ,cleared the tonnes of rubbish and spent a not inconsiderable sum securing Brook Farm and several others sites in Mill Hill, Burnt Oak and Arkley from possible future occupation . Indeed the Council Officers swift action was not unrelated to the pressure they were under from elected Politicians .

Last week after the fire at the Somali Community Centre in Coppetts Ward, which appears to be the result of a disgraceful racist arson attack , there were so many visits from senior Politicians that the place began to resemble Downing Street on Cabinet reshuffle day . Councillors (some of whom had never ventured South of the North Circular Road)  had to ask for directions from Council Officers , indeed one Senior Barnet Councillor was heard to ask "surely this place is in  Haringey ? " Yet it did not stop them  queueing up to give the nation the benefit of their views on this fire before they had any confirmation that it could be arson .

However what this site in Cricklewood needs is not a ministerial visit but a fleet of Council bulldozers and skip lorries and some of our hard working refuse staff from the soon to shut Mill Hill Depot to clear the site and end the problem .

Take  the necessary action, worry about the niceties and who picks up the cost once you have sorted the  problem out .

It used to be that the Conservative Administration in Barnet was noted for firm and swift action when problems arose , now we seem to have dither and delay .

As Churchill would have said "Action this Day "


Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment. It will be visible after approval.