Conservatives threaten to scrap Full Council referral rule.
Labour councillors referred new plans to move the council's main waste depot to a site on Oakleigh Road South in Brunswick Park ward for further discussion at December's Full Council meeting following a lack of clarity over costs involved and a failure to consult local residents and ward councillors.
The proposals discussed last night include purchasing both Abbotts Depot on Oakleigh Road South, and Lupa House in Borehamwood, although the Oakleigh Road South site is the preferred site for the waste depot.
However, the Abbotts Depot site may only be available temporarily for 10-15 years as part of it may be used as railway sidings for the Cross Rail 2 extension to New Southgate.
The costs to purchase the sites and convert them for use as a waste depot are approximately £27.9m but the council admit they do not know the exact total costs at this stage.
The preferred Abbotts Depot site is already being used as a depot by two companies, and local residents who live nearby have already been complaining to councillors about the dust pollution and traffic nuisance caused at the site. The new council waste depot would mean a further 140 large heavy goods vehicle movements a day at the site, and residents who attended the meeting last night made clear that this was not acceptable.
Labour councillors at the meeting asked officers to provide the full costs of maintaining the depot where it currently is in Mill Hill.
Labour's Assets, Regeneration and Growth Spokesperson, Cllr Pauline Coakley Webb said:
"The Tories in Barnet couldn't organise their way out of a paper bag. They have created a situation where they needed to relocate the depot and relied on using Pinkham Way with no Plan B even though they have known for some time that there were problems with that site and huge opposition to it from local residents.
"They then sold Pinkham Way to North London Waste Authority who have now quite rightly not agreed to give them access - the site is entirely unsuitable - leaving them with nowhere to go and the deadline for vacating the current depot looming.
"They are now scrabbling around desperate to find a new place for the depot, but have come up with another option that will cost the earth but is likely to only be a temporary measure.
"No residents in Brunswick Park have been consulted on these plans, and neither were the three Brunswick Park councillors, so with the huge sums of money involved it would be irresponsible to go ahead without hearing their views - we must have a proper discussion with all councillors at Full Council.
"It is not good enough to say that people can comment when it goes to planning - the time to discuss it is before committing to spend £27m on a project that residents may then go on to oppose.
"If residents had been properly consulted on the use of Pinkham Way, and if the council had properly planned an alternative Plan B we wouldn't be in this position now.
"We are not predicting anyone's views but firmly believe residents and ward councillors should be consulted first, and waiting until December 16 would be more prudent than steaming ahead regardless.
"The fact that the Tories are now threatening to remove our right to refer matters up for discussion at Full Council shows what a panic they are in, but any move to do this would be a further breach in the democratic rights of councillors and would not be respecting the result of the local elections which substantially reduced the Tories majority on the council to only one seat."
For further details please contact Cllr Pauline Coakley Webb: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568