Northwood’s Voice Newsletter
Since the meeting of the 13 January 2017 with Mr N. Hurd MP the front of “Senses” on Station Approach has been repaired.
Before publication the Minutes were submitted to Mr Hurd for any alteration or deletions.
MINUTES OF MEETING on FRIDAY 13TH JANUARY 2017
Mr N. Hurd MP
Dr J. Marx, Mr D. Cave – Northwood’s Voice
Mr Adem Kaya/Mr Tony Sumer – Regal Kebab
M/s Yvette Byle – TaylorMade
M/s Stavroulla Panayi – Steves
Mr Ajit Pardivalla – KPA Shoe Repairs
Introduction: Our thanks were expressed to Mr Hurd for agreeing to meet NVL and Northwood shop owners.
1) Under the Localism Act, town and parish councils (rather than the local planning authority) now have a discretionary power to prepare Neighbourhood Plans.
a) We raised with NH the thought that there are several “indicators” presently showing some stress in Northwood which include property development (including TfL’s well known aspirations by Northwood station – but by no means is this the only example), traffic issues, parking issues, empty retail units, air quality issues, tree issues and conservation area issues. It was considered that Northwood is probably overdue for a Neighbourhood Plan which might holistically address all of these issues (and probably others not mentioned here). NVL are aware that the Government has been encouraged by the development of such local plans around the UK and generally feels that this is a useful route to consider. NH undertook to consider this matter especially to discuss with others with a view perhaps to determining who might have the ability and access to sufficient resource locally to undertake such a sizeable project, possibly taking some years to complete.
b) NVL (a lobby organisation against the present TfL property development aspirations in Northwood) would not be involved in any Neighbourhood Plan project as we are dedicated to one object only.
c) The Ickenham Neighbourhood Plan was raised as an example of how a local body has guided this through all the steps. The Council formally approved the Plan on Dec. 15th 2016. The following appears on their Neighbourhood website.
“Tonight the London Borough of Hillingdon formally designated the Ickenham Neighbourhood Planning area and the Ickenham Neighbourhood Forum.
The Council noted that our area is large – larger than most in London, but they agreed that the boundary we have agreed locally makes sense as a neighbourhood plan boundary. They were also content that our Neighbourhood Forum meets all the relevant legal requirements.
We now have the green light to prepare a neighbourhood plan for the village! Many thanks to all that have helped to get us this far. A date will now be set for the first Forum AGM, likely to be in early February 2017.”
We would refer NH to the following :-
REPORT Neighbourhood Plan Ickenham Cabinet Report Final (1)
15 Dec 2016 – Appendix 1: Copy of Ickenham Neighbourhood Area and. Neighbourhood Forum … production of the Ickenham Neighbourhood Plan.
d) The Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan was raised with NH and the fact that this had been overridden by their County Council (concerning a green belt development) yet ‘The Government is committed to give more power to councils and communities’.
We pointed out our concern that local policies in the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan were overridden by the economic benefits in the case of a major scheme to the west of Lancaster Park, as dictated by the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The County Council agreed a major amendment to the draft Core Strategy that then overrode the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan. Members of the Cabinet redesignated the land as “Employment Land” paving the way for Mitford Estates to develop their 24 hour truck stop and hotel on the site.
NH was asked what is the point of a Neighbourhood Plan if it to be overridden in spite of all the hoops which a community, such as Ickenham, have to go through to get the Plan through all the stages. What was concerning was that the Secretary of State (S of S) refused to “call the development in” though there are examples where the S of S has dismissed previous planning permissions given on appeal to the Inspectorate due to the lack of weight given to the Neighbourhood Plans. We find this decision of the S of S very worrying over Morpeth. We asked NH if could look into the reasons for this (as it would have possible repercussions if Northwood were to proceed with developing a Neighbourhood Plan.
e) NH undertook to come back to NVL with his thoughts regarding a possible Northwood Neighbourhood Plan and by whom and how one might possibly be developed.
2. TfL Position
a) Present at the meeting were five Northwood shop owners (or their representatives) all of whom are presently TfL tenants and all of whom are presently being affected by the current TfL situation in the Northwood Station Approach area
b) Whilst each of these TfL tenants had a different rental situation regarding TfL (their landlord) they shared together the impact on their livelihoods through the present uncertain situation. In short TfL, when withdrawing their Planning Application in September 2016, indicated that they wish to resubmit their plans (or perhaps other plans) with a higher percentage of affordable housing in their proposed development.
c) Regrettably, in the last four months there has been little interaction that we are aware of between TfL, their tenants and Northwood residents in general about whatever TfL may be considering for the future. Quite a few of the TfL lease situations are apparently becoming stressful and very uncertain for many of the shop owners and their livelihoods (for example the Royal Kebab Bar – tenants for 17 years) as they explained directly to NH at the meeting.
d) A number of such tenants have been present in TfL properties in Northwood, serving our community, for many years. In one case (“Express Dry Cleaners”) NVL are aware that they have shown interest in expanding into an adjacent empty shop space (previously “Senses”) but our information is that TfL are disappointingly not really engaging with this prospect despite the empty shop being advertised on the relevant TfL website. The “Regal Royal Kebab” owners/representatives expressed very strongly to NH their anger over being refused a new lease and that TfL seemed determined to remove them after 17 years of trading. They stated that they are not in arrears with rent and had indicated to TfL a willingness to accept an increased rent. NH heard their difficulty in getting responses from TfL. At one stage they had understood that Ladbrokes, next door, were going to take over their shop but since then the tenancy next door had recently gone to Betfred.
e) The size of the TfL cumulative rental space is such that it’s future is probably of significant concern to the residents of Northwood as well as to individual tenants with their livelihoods and investment plans at stake. The meeting asked that NH try to communicate with TfL or others that the TfL mission in Northwood is possibly beginning to unravel further both physically (with the unattractive state of some empty rental properties) and psychologically (with the residents of Northwood). NVL feel, like perhaps NH does, that if TfL have larger property development concerns elsewhere in London then they should not neglect the Northwood situation and allow it to deteriorate through apparent inaction. The meeting stated it would be grateful for feedback on this pressing matter of the infrastructure of Station Approach.
f) Two shop owners gave their experiences to NH in dealing with TfL over 65 Green Lane (currently empty). This shop was stated to require much renovation. eg. hot water, inside toilet, damp in the basement but “KPA”, for example, stated that they were expected to pay for the renovation of the structure. They found this unacceptable. The shop, 65 Green Lane, is still empty.
g) The state of “Senses” at 9 Station Approach was further detailed both by DC and “KPA”. It was also stated to NH that NVL had permission of “Express Dry Cleaners” to voice for them their deep disquiet over the degrading appearance of “Senses.” eg. water running down the front of the shop from a missing downpipe from the gutter, weeds outside the shop, the poor state of the pavement, the litter inside “Senses” scattered over the floor fully visible through the shop window. NH was invited to assess this personally. Since this meeting other tenants have stated worry over damp at the back of their premises.
Our sincere thanks from those present were voiced to Nick Hurd for meeting NVL and the shop tenants.
Mr Hurd was given copies of the NVL NewsLetters published since November 2016.
Northwood’s Voice Ltd (NVL)
15th February 2017