Barnet's Labour councillors have referred the plan to move the council’s waste depot to a site on Oakleigh Road South back to Full Council for the second time after they forced the Conservative administration to admit they planned to pay a substantial sum plus an annual lease payment of £81500 per annum to one of the three depot companies currently there to vacate the site even though they were moving anyway.
The plans were discussed at last night’s Assets, Regeneration and Growth Committee (ARG), where one resident had submitted 14 public questions on the issue and 3 residents spoke against the plans
The council calculated that currently there are around 500 vehicle movements in the area every day directly from the Abbots Depot site, which would increase by a further 140 a day if the council’s waste depot was located there.
The substantial payment to one of the companies - Winters Haulage - to acquire their lease and supposedly reduce the vehicle movements at the site was slammed by Labour after it was revealed the company were moving anyway.
Cllr Rutter, who had previously told residents she was against the waste depot relocation plans, admitted when questioned that if Winters can be bought off she would now be in favour of the waste depot relocating to Abbots Depot.
In addition, it also emerged that the company occupies land that is likely to be required for the Cross Rail 2 project, so the council would be forking out yet another huge sum of taxpayers’ money to acquire land temporarily – for only 5-15 years.
The substantial incentive payment to Winters would be on top of the £27 million cost of purchasing and refurbishing the Abbots Depot site and another site in Borehamwood – although the council do not intend using the Borehamwood site at this stage.
In December Labour councillors discovered that the council was paying £5.5 million more for the Abbots Depot site than the current owners paid for it.
The proposals will now be discussed at the Full Council meeting on 14 April
Labour’s ARG Spokesperson, Cllr Pauline Coakley Webb said: “We are reaching new heights of incompetence from this Conservative council.
“The Tories agreed to vacate their current waste depot site in Mill Hill without securing an alternative, and now they are so desperate to secure the Abbots Depot site for their waste plant that they will pay any price – no matter what the cost to the council tax payer, or what the impact is for local residents.
“Throwing more money at this problem to achieve something that was going to happen anyway is madness when the council’s budget is already stretched.
“But none of this changes the fact that local residents do not want the waste depot on their door step.”
Labour’s PPC for Chipping Barnet, and Underhill councillor, Amy Trevethan said:
“The site already creates traffic, pollution and noise nuisance, to what is a very narrow road, so to add a further 140 heavy goods vehicle movements there a day will not be supported by local people.
“There is a children’s playground at the entrance to the site, a family centre to the south of the site and the Little Teddies Nursery to the west of the site – and all around the site is a residential area.
“This plan is completely barmy and needs to be thrown out , there is a huge question of value for money , committing to spend even more than previously reported to committee on this project when the Council is faced with huge financial cuts to services - that is why we have referred it back to Full Council.
“This is the only way the plan can be defeated – if one of the Tory councillors sees sense and supports us. It’s time for Cllr Lisa Rutter to step up and finally do the right thing by her residents.”
1. A copy of the ARG papers can be found here: http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=696&MId=7887&Ver=4
2. Further details of the waste depot issue can be found here:
To contact Cllr Coakley Webb: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact Cllr Trevethan: email@example.com
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568