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For all the worthy if blinkered ambitions of attracting service industry beyond reasonable doubt this well open the floodgates to a tsunami of toxic land grabs. Targets will include the Spires, the Library, the Stapylton Road and Moxon Street carparks and of course the Army Centre. The town has now sent out the message that it will buy any snake oil project sold as fitting the big picture of the handful of effectively self–appointed individuals controlling some key organisations.

I too can see the deliberately seductive big picture painstakingly painted by the application – a marvellous new infrastructure project in the expanding service sector – a flagship to drag High Barnet town centre screaming and shouting into a prosperous 21st century. Whether it knows what is good for it or not.

But this is only a shiny new asset when given only the briefest consideration or when recommended by someone in whom you have blind trust. it was pushed through by people themselves so blinded by the big picture they refused to see, or even worse ignored, the obvious gaping chasm of truth deficit in both its “proof” of claims of its benefits and assertions that negative impact could and would be mitigated.

This blindness should have been curable by a single child pointing a stubby finger at a single obvious flaw prompting a proper look at the proposal. Actually we had scores of well educated adults seeing this emperor has no clothes and shouting it out in comments on the planning application.

However we are told (outrageously) this, the ONLY record of public opinion is simply invalid and (arrogantly) such people are “ill informed” and (absurdly) nearly all live in Chipping Close. They were informed by the gob smacking obvious lack of veracity in the proposal documents and the equally obvious consequences of its claims inevitably falling by the wayside.

What we have lost is the Marketplace and instead bought at best the bricks and mortar of a 100 room motel without a car park and at worst a large rival–slaying pub and 100 HMO sized rooms.

It has to also be said long–running residents’ groups principlay represent the views of their leadership. They only represent the views of residents when that happens to be the same thing. In this case those involved struggled, and by any objective judgement completely failed, to prove they represented a majority. If they had chosen to oppose the application they would have had no such trouble whatsoever.

Such bodies are indeed born with genuine mass support and common purpose when someone gathers a group to fight for a particular issue. However decades down the line leaders are chosen at AGM’s usually attended by less than ten percent of their membership. Positions are almost always filled unopposed and by nominations from the committee. Yes, a rival group could turn up en masse and capture enough votes to impose a new leadership. But would that really represent the membership as a whole? Would that really be any more democratic?

Surely development should be directed at the acres of empty commercial floor space? This is more than enough to fulfil the commercial needs generated by local residents and the number of visitors limited by restricted vehicle parking and tortuous if extensive public transport.