15 November 2014

Short term or short of space?

The lovely rural scene above is in Oakleigh Road South taken from the standpoint of a camera situated outside the entrance to one of the two proposed new ex. Bittacy Hill, Mill Hill dustcart depots and which seems to be entirely unsuitable, not least because it might only exist in the short term, and there are residences not far away (and as the proposed location extends longways alongside the railway tracks they are much nearer to the noise and the smell than they seem in this snap). Mr Mustard apologises for the low volume of recent blogs but has a new set of debt ledgers to manage which entails him visiting 3 sites up and down the land. If you like to holiday in the English countryside he can recommend the Trough of Bowland which is lovely even at this time of year.

Mr Mustard couldn't be at the meeting but another resident was and here is their report, sent of their own volition to Mr Mustard.

Dear Mr Mustard,

Barnet Council only last week announced they had found two suitable sites for the relocation with Oakleigh Road South (a residential area with a childrens' nursery nearby) being their preferred location.

I went to the emergency additional meeting of the Assets, Regeneration and Growth Committee meeting last night. Why is it an emergency to purchase land within 7 days of making the announcement public? 

I can only assume that it is because they want to rush this through unopposed, before residents become aware of what is being proposed. There were only 6 residents in attendance including myself.

Cllr Daniel Thomas, and his fellow Conservative Cllrs were hell bent on getting the approval for Barnet to purchase the land there and then, giving them a clear path to force through the relocation to Oakleigh Road South.

Thankfully, because of the magnitude of the decision, Pauline Coakley, the Coppetts ward Cllr put forward a motion to take the proposals to the full council meeting in 4 weeks time. This was seconded by the other Labour Cllrs. They also made a request for the financial figures to be made available, were the depot to remain at it’s current site in Mill-Hill.

Cllr Daniel Thomas, and all the Conservative Cllrs seemed very upset by this and tried their hardest to make the Labour Cllrs retract the motion. For some reason they did not seem willing to wait an extra 4 weeks for the whole council to make a decision on this important matter.

I do not know what their fixation is with New Southgate, first Pinkham Way, and now Oakleigh Road South. It feels like they have targeted the area where I live, and it just feels as if the whole thing is being rushed through, without residents being made aware of what they are planning (so that they do not have another Pinkham Way on their hands).

We now have 4 extra weeks to make more people aware of what is going on. Your help would be much appreciated.


Further comment form the concerned resident.

What I find amazing is the fact that they have spent so much money on feasibility studies to come up with two sites which are not fit for purpose.

In their own words:

1. Lupa House is too small and will need an additional 1 acre site (presumably another round of feasibility studies) and will cost £900,000 more a year than if the depot was in one location. 

2. Oakleigh Road South (their preferred site) is being earmarked as a railway siding for Crossrail 2, and there is a risk they will only be there for 5-10 years. I actually make that 3 years, as they have to be out of Mill Hill by Dec 2016, and Crossrail 2 work starts in 2020.

The other proposed depot is in Borehamwood which is too small to accommodate everything from Mill Hill so only a partial solution. What would be the extra environmental & financial costs of having a large depot with many vehicles outside of Barnet? How many extra miles would be racked up by council vehicles every year? Leaving the depot where it is looks like the best option. The council should look to buy itself back out of the sale it so stupidly made when it didn't have a new home for the depot already in the bag.

One side effect of this is that there is a threat to remove the right of a committee to refer matters to full council, as reported here, which would be yet another nail in the coffin of democracy here in Barnet. Mr Mustard would caution against making the balance of power too one-sided as it only needs one councillor to cross the floor from Conservative to Labour for the whole dynamic to change and somehow Mr mustard thinks that there would be howls of protest from the conservative ranks if they were to find themselves being speared with their own undemocratic behaviour.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. Tfl is planning the Crossrail 2 depot bewteen Alexandra Palace and New Southgate stations - which is why it added a Crossrail 2 station to the latter in its latest plan, since it was a small extra cost.

    I doubt if there could be a fifth track as far as that Oakleigh Road South site, and without it, there would surely be no extra depot there.

  2. and this is what TfL say

    The Crossrail 2 project team met with the borough last week who informed us of the councils plans for the site.

    The meeting we held with the borough was to discuss what Crossrail 2 plans are also for the site in regards to safeguarding the site. The route we hope will serve New Southgate station and the land north of the station has been identified as an area of surface interest. The land is a possible location for train sidings.

    This part of the project still needs a lot of work of work to be done to find out if the site is suitable and what the local impacts would be. Once this work has been done, we will carry out a full public consultation seeking views on the plans. If these are supported, we would then take this to a detailed design.

    If you have any questions about the Crossrail 2 project, please let me know.


I now moderate comments in the light of the Delfi case. Due to the current high incidence of spam I have had to turn word verification on.