The West Hendon estate. Sold for nothing.

At the West Hendon Public Inquiry we learnt that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Mr Eric Pickles MP gave Conservative Barnet Council permission to transfer the land of the entire West Hendon estate to Barratt developments for nothing. Yes, £0.00.

It was definitely valued at over £2m as that is the threshold that authorities by law need to seek permission from the Secretary of State to dispose at below market value.

This makes no sense to me as it is not even as if we are getting a good deal from the developer. Just 25% of the new properties are defined as ‘affordable’ by the unaffordable standards set by this government. Of the 2000 new homes being built in the same footprint of the existing 680 home estate, just 242 will be at social rent and 250 marketed as ‘shared ownership’.

The borough will have a NET LOSS in social units as a result of this mad scheme.

The starting price for a low floor 1 bedroom flat is £287,000 rising to near £600,000 for a low floor 3 bed. The higher you are the pricier it gets. The Penthouse’s…God knows.

The astonishing thing is that we have seen some private developments NOT on regeneration estates, on private land, which I presume they paid market values for, provide more ‘affordable’ housing than on the piece of land in West Hendon that was gifted for nothing!

For example:

Developer Fairview built ‘Pulse’ in Colindale on the former Hospital site which they must have paid market values for to the NHS. This site has 714 homes and managed to provide 193 ‘affordable homes’ – 27% – higher than West Hendon which was GIFTED.

or

Zenith House, Colindale – 309 homes and 135 ‘affordable’ – 43% – almost double of West Hendon.

Today I have submitted an FOI to Barnet Council to get to the bottom of how much the taxpayer has lost from this deal.

Below is my FOI:

—-

Dear FOI,

I would like to know the following.

Further to the letter dated 25th September 2013 from the Department for Communities and Local Government giving the London Borough of Barnet permission to dispose of the land known as the West Hendon estate “at less than the best consideration reasonably obtainable”. (LB Barnet ref: PB/West Hendon s233)

Please could you give me the Council’s own estimated valuation of the estate prior to asking the Secretary of State for permission to dispose of the land at below market rates.

Many thanks,

Adam Langleben
Labour Councillor for West Hendon ward
London Borough of Barnet

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