Plans to relocate the council’s main waste depot to a site on Oakleigh Road South in Brunswick Park were forced through on the casting vote of the Mayor after Tory Brunswick Park councillor Lisa Rutter refused to support Labour’s motion to scrap the proposal in a dramatic vote at tonight’s Full Council meeting.
Labour councillors referred the secret plans to the Full Council meeting after they emerged at an emergency committee meeting in November, citing a lack of clarity over costs involved and a failure to consult local residents and ward councillors.
In her speech to Full Council, Labour Brunswick Park councillor Kathy Levine accused the Barnet Tories of incompetence for selling-off the current depot site before securing an alternative site. She highlighted that:
· the council were paying £5.5m more for the Abbots Depot / Oakleigh Road South site than the current owners had paid for it,
· the site may only be available temporarily for 5-10 years as part of it may be used as railway sidings for the Cross Rail 2 extension to New Southgate,
· the site backs onto a nursery,
· there is a playground opposite the entrance to the site,
· the site is surrounded by blocks of flats and residential streets,
· the site is accessed by already congested roads,
· the depot will mean an additional 140 refuse truck movements per day at the site,
An adjacent site is already being used as a depot by several companies including 2 skip companies, and local residents who live nearby have been complaining to councillors about the dust pollution and traffic nuisance caused at the site.
The vote on Labour’s motion to scrap the Abbots Depot proposal was on a knife edge - tied at 31 votes both for and against after Cllr Lisa Rutter abstained. Mayor Cllr Hugh Rayner used his casting vote to force the depot plan through.
Well over 100 residents have signed a petition opposing the relocation of the depot to the Abbots Depot site.
Cllr Kathy Levine said:
"We find ourselves at this point only because of the complete incompetence of the current and previous Conservative administrations.
"They did a deal with the developer to vacate the current Mill Hill depot site BEFORE securing an alternative, then the Pinkham Way option fell through and now there's panic.
"They are now ‘over a barrel’ and are proposing paying well over the odds for the Abbots Depot site - a whopping £5.5m more than the current owners paid for it.
"The site is completely unsuitable and it is utterly unfair to propose dumping the depot and waste bulking facility quite literally under the noses of our residents.
"I am absolutely gob-smacked that Cllr Rutter refused to vote for my motion to scrap these proposals – it is a complete betrayal of hundreds of local residents who have signed a petition against the depot plan.
"The administration failed to bounce this decision through a hastily organised committee, and tonight Cllr Rutter abstained in the full knowledge that the Mayor would force it through on his casting vote so she is directly responsible for this decision."
Details of the depot relocation plans can be found here:
Details of Labour’s motion to scrap the proposals can be found here: http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s20043/Amendment%20in%20the%20name%20of%20Councillor%20Kathy%20Levine.pdf
For further information about the depot plans see: http://betterbarnet.nationbuilder.com/labour_refer_new_depot_plans_to_full_council
For further details please contact:
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568