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"Except for the ten houses in Chipping Close, there were only three objections from the 200 houses in the three nearby roads"

This was untrue when Gordon Massey made the claim on Monday night and it's untrue now. Mr Massey ignored the many objections from St Albans Road. There were also seven objections from six households on Strafford Road and one more from Carnarvon Road. For those of you who objected, you may also be interested to know that Mr Massey claimed that a number of the objections were 'ill-informed'. That's what the representative of the Barnet Residents Association thinks of many of its residents. He made no mention - of course - of the number of people supporting the development who'd done so because of Gail Laser's campaign on Love Barnet, several of whom copied and pasted in what Gail had told them to do, or just left the comments section blank. Are we to assume they were well informed?

I found Gordon Massey's speaking somewhat disconcerting. He claimed to be speaking on behalf of the Chipping Barnet Town Team yet did little other than discuss what he had 'found out' through his role at the Barnet Residents Association. In my opinion, his talk was from the perspective of the BRA. He certainly mentioned them enough times. Pretty much all of his evidence in the support he had unearthed for the hotel was anecdotal.

The hotel will be built now, as those of us who campaigned against it thought it would. What has left me concerned, however, is the influence that the Barnet Society, the Barnet Residents Association and, to a lesser extent, the Love Barnet group have on the general running of Barnet. Their membership numbers represent a tiny percentage of the population of the area, and their demographic seems very heavily weighted towards the retired and semi-retired residents (who should, of course, have a voice, just not a disproportionate one). When you get involved in a process such as this you realise just how huge their influence is. They have the ear of the council, and both sides seem to work on the assumption that these unelected people speak for the people of Barnet, when they do nothing of the sort. For anyone entering into this sort of thing in the future, be aware that the BS and the BRA invariably seem to get what they want. Not necessarily what the residents want (on this matter, Mr Massey conveniently skated over the fact that the objections to this development vastly outnumbered the 'supports' - save for his patronising 'ill-informed' comment - and also failed to mention that some of the support drummed up by Gail Laser came from as far away as New Barnet and Arkley). One councillor told one of our party before the meeting on Monday that to be successful we'd really have needed the residents associations on our side. Is it right that so much power is help by such a tiny, non-representative group? The whole process has been an eye-opener, and not in a good way.

In spite of my opposition, I genuinely hope that the hotel does bring the benefits to the High Street that those in support have claimed. I have my doubts - lots of them - and the ludicrous average "£73 per person per night" (after accommodation) local expenditure claim from the developers was rightly laughed at by those who cross-examined them. If, however, in five years' time the High Street and the Spires are no better off, local restaurants and bars have found themselves undercut by the restaurant/bar at the Premier Inn, the hotel is being used for emergency social housing (as happens in many Premier Inns around the country), and the traffic problems we fear have been realised, I hope that those who did so much to support this venture will still be as vocal and getting these issues resolved...

PS) You've misquoted me in the above. I did not say "All those working in the hotel will be in low-paid, minimum-wage jobs"; I said 'Many' not 'all'.