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Apr 14 2014

Jeremy Says: Buzzing about the Hive

jeremy_zeidThe shameful capitulation by Harrow Council over the Barnet FC “The Hive” planning fiasco is but the latest in a series of blunders from which neither the Conservatives, nor Independent Labour, but particularly Labour can escape blame.

Once again the cash waving, arrogant spivs of “Big Soccer”, who in their promotional blurb promoted “partnership” with Harrow Council and Residents, have, to no real surprise broken their agreements. They’ve flouted planning, run roughshod over their neighbours, and gambled, correctly it seems, that the potential huge legal bills extracted from out taxes would see their otherwise illegal overdevelopment saved, the biggest winners being the lawyers swarming around “The Hive” honeypot.

What this exposes yet again, is the incompetence, arrogance or just plain naivety of a series of well remunerated “Planning Portfolio Holders” and the demonstrable institutionalised incompetence and cowardice of Harrow’s “Planning” department who dodge the major or contentious issues, but who go to great lengths to use their authority to go after some hapless soft target private resident with no clout, for a minor infraction.

No doubt Labour’s Navin Shah will buzz angrily about “the cuts” while blaming everyone else. Cllr Sachin Shah’s complaints are the more shameful and opportunistic as he never once voiced concern while his party were in power, when most of these disasters, the high rise threat in the Town Centre; drab, high density, undersized “sustainable” future slums; huge tax rises; the war on motorists; attacks on our libraries; poorly drafted contracts and the plague of potholes and dilapidation occurred on their watch.

But this was not just Labour’s Cllr Keith Ferry: Under the Conservative’s and Planning supremo Cllr Marilyn Ashton, nothing was done to shake up Harrow’s “Planning” department. Indeed, despite warnings from me and others, their “professionalism” was defended as if any criticism was a personal attack; it wasn’t.

The planning fiasco of “The Hive” has shown “The Bees” not so much Honey Bees as Killer Bees, while Harrow’s “planning” system bumbles; a hive of inactivity suffering from colony collapse.

There has to be change to stop this happening again, the first being our commitment to return to the far more democratic committee system that worked for decades and that Labour destroyed; to abolish the elective dictatorship that is “Cabinet Council” and to return the Civic Centre to a culture of serving not pushing residents around. That change can start on May 22nd.

Jeremy Zeid
Chairman – Harrow UKIP

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14 comments

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  1. Concerned Harrovian

    Jeremy

    Is there enough money in the planning budget to deal with the appeals the various developers make? Developers in Harrow know they can submit appeals ad infinitum and the council will at some stage back down because of the cost. The cost to the developers is probably small change.

  2. John Clement

    Utter Rubbish -Barnet FC is a small non league team with sparse financial resourses. Where I live in Roxeth a sleazy property developer slum landlord was given permission to build new dwellings within a few feet of existing flats blocking light and view and compromising privacy, this was rubber stamped by the council (Labour of course) despite 100% objections from residents who will be blighted 24/7 365 days not just for a few hours a year. -Get real and look into the worst deals done by the council.The Slum landlord is real “big money” worth hundereds of millions Barnetss Turnover is miniscule by comparison.

  3. Melanie

    Jeremy, I am stunned that you manage to blame Marilyn Ashton for not ‘shaking up’ the planning department whilst your mate, Barry and his work wife have treated residents so appallingly. You will, of course, remember that Councillor Macleod-Cullinane gave evidence at my village green application. The public inquiry was a culmination of four years of work, all done with the support and guidance of Barry. His work wife, after the inquiry, tweeted congratulations to me on a job well done and that “I should be very proud”. Barry, many times and in front of countless residents, promised that, when the Conservatives gained power, he would ensure that the land was registered as a village green voluntarily. Then they manipulate their way to power. Suddenly a complete about face, I was subjected to a verbal assault by Barry, which left me shaken and in tears. He and his work wife started back pedalling so fast they were a joke. Then they start courting the Consortium. Why would we give away, for free, 25 acres of Harrow land to 3 out of Borough property developers, posing as Leisure centre aficionados? Additionally, why was not ONE person in the planning department reprimanded for not knowing that Whitchurch Playing Fields is Education land and you cannot sell (or in this case, give away), Education land without permission from the Department of Education. Even if they didn’t know, ignorance is no defence in the law, apart from the fact that they are paid ENORMOUS salaries to know. Why was their evidence to the Public Inquiry completely different to the report they gave to Cabinet a mere 5 months previously? Why, when the Headteacher of Whitchurch, wrote that she had deliberately been kept in the dark by the Council that it was Education land was nobody punished? Residents aren’t just disenchanted with the current administration, they are revolted by their behaviour. Does Susan Hall instructing her Councillors to “have no contact with Melanie Lewis” think that she has that kind of power? Sadly, I am not the only victim, anyone who dares to question the Queen or “her boys” receives the same treatment. So, why aren’t you concerned about the fact that Queen Hall and her boys are now courting the Consortium on one hand and pretending they support the Avanti school with the other? What do YOU think will happen to Whitchurch Playing Fields if it is given away to property developers? Is there anybody who is interested in residents in Harrow or is becoming a councillor just about settling old scores? Actually, whilst I think about it, before the Harrow-on-the-Hill by-election, Barry said he was going to ask you not to stand against Stephen and as you and he are such good friends, you had agreed. So, who is telling the truth, Barry or you? May I take this opportunity to wish you a Happy Passover, the festival that celebrates Jews being freed from living under the rule of a tyrant. Ultimately, we all live with our own conscience. Let’s have some truthful answers from you Jeremy because Belmont residents have no idea who to vote for anymore.

  4. mike mcfadden

    I agree Harrow must learn it needs to return to serving the Tax-Payers and not dictating or misleading them.

  5. CamroseRob

    There never was anything illegal about the Hive and this is why when subjected to external expert scrutiny the Councils case fell down. It is not an overdevelopment but rather 21st century standard non-league ground, smaller than most in the conference and further away from housing than any other stadia in london.

    The accusation that the Hive has money to burn is preposterous and the people who foot the bill of this debacle will be users of the Hive and council tax payers (.any of which are one and the same so will pay double).

  6. Melanie

    No reply Jeremy? Not even when good manners dictate that a reciprocal wish that I have a good Passover? What did you do? Phone, text or email to ask how to reply and you were told to ignore me. I think residents have a right to know, as do the hierarchy at UKIP, do you really represent them or is that a Conservative group thumb print on your head? Be sure I will invite them to enquire as to where your loyalties lie. But good manners are not political, they are the mark of a decent man. Shame on you. If you lie with dogs, you get fleas.

  7. Jeremy Zeid

    So John, what you are saying is: Non league Barnet are short of cash, so short it seems that they overspent on a stand and lighting from money they apparently don’t have plus thoisands on lawyers, again from “scarce resources”, knowing they could lose it all if forced to knock it down, losing all of those “scarce resources” in the process.??? My e planation holds far more water, plus I stand by every word I wrote.

    As for the combative Melanie Lewis, wife of Stephen… YOU WEREN’T THERE at any time during my term on Council, neither was Stephen. As for your flea problem, may I suggest Bob Martin flea treatment, available from all good stores. I also recommend Dale Carnegie – How to Win Friends & Influence People. You don’t know me, have never met me and I suggest you look in the mirror before casting libelous assertions.

    1. Melanie

      Oh, Jeremy, Jeremy, Jeremy. Your reply makes me very sad. Your rudeness does not become you and you haven’t actually answered any of my questions, even about Whitchurch Playing Fields. I must correct you though, as you know not only me, but my entire family. You did some work in my house when I first moved in. I also was well aware of you when you were a councillor and I am happy to say that you were excellent in the role, a true supporter of residents. So you can be as rude as you want, it doesn’t make you right and only goes to cast further doubt on your allegiances. By the way, when I look in the mirror I see a very sad face reflected. I naively thought that, having worked with Barry for 4 years on registering Whitchurch as a Village green, having entertained him and his delightful girlfriend for dinner and after the brilliant evidence he gave at the Public Inquiry, that he was my friend. His behaviour since the Conservative group took power has left me very sad. As we seem to be suggesting reading material, may I recommend The Midrash (Tehilim 89:2; Avot 1:2) where we learn about “Gemilut Chasidim”, loving kindness, which is the pillar of social justice, righteousness, morality and compassion. So not only is your reply inaccurate, you have not answered the questions I put to you and is somewhat combative itself, you have not reassured anyone.

  8. CamroseRob

    Non-league Barnets playing budget was halved last year and will be halved again in the summer. Does that sound like a football team flush with cash?

    The Hive did not overspend. It spent what was required to meet Green Stadia guide, ILP guide and level. playing field guidance for disabled spectators. These are criteria that all new stadia must meet and came into being post the 2008 permission. Legal costs have been met by price increases to Harrow residents using the facilities so the council have in effect levied a charge on it’s own tax payers to defend against an unenforceable enforcement notice.

    Anyone with the slightest knowledge of planning law will tell you there was never the chance of the hive losing all. As shown by the council being unable to find someone to represent them and the refusal reasons being against the advice of it’s own planning officers intheir report last year

  9. Jeremy Zeid

    Why are you making excuses for Barnet’s disgraceful behaviour and their running roughshod over local sensitivities? Shareholder???? Perhaps a supporter of the Labour Party who voted against enforcement whilst they bitched about the development and pretending to be concerned?? Barnet flouted the law, foisted unnecessary costs onto Harrow residents, gambling that Harrow wouldn’t want to stump up huge legal costs. Why are you defending them?

  10. CamroseRob

    I am not a shareholder, I do not support the Labour party.
    I am totally opposed to Barnet moving to Edgware but unlike yourself has looked into the details and found the version of events by Cllr Shah, Bob Blackman and yourself wanting. Please quote me the actual law that has been broken rather than bandy it about like an empty threat as so far the only law I’ve found breached is the council refusing planning permission on reasons it cannot enforce. If they had stuck to the reasons given by the planning officer the case would not have collapsed and the lighting problem addressed. Did you know that planning law states that a council cannot refuse planning for reasons it cannot enforce?

    Harrow council
    gave permission for a 5100 capacity stadium in 2008. Once this had been done there was no going back and all the current goings on have just been political posturing to claim it wasnt us that allowed this. Well you did allow it and now we all have to live with it.

    The Hive applied for permission in Feb13, it was accepted in Mar13 and they were advised the decision would be made in May/June. Thanks to the Labour spat and a failure by the planning officer to do an environmental impact assessment report the decision wasnt made until September. If our beloved council had got it’s act together and dealt with the case within 13 weeks as per it’s remit we and the hive would not have been left in limbo. To then issue a joke of an enforcement notice that breached the 2008 planning permission meant the Hive were free to use the lights until the appeal was heard. Well thank you Harrow Council for failing to do your job.

    I suggest you look at what was approved in 2008 and then look at the Green stadia guide. If you did you would know that the balcony on the East stand was no longer permitted as it did not offer views of near and far touchlines, as the end terraces were already in place, the only place these extra seats could go was in the opposite stand. The loss of this balcony had a secondary problem in that a stadia this size must have at least 65 wheelchair spaces and half of these must afford the same view as the majority of spectators. The only solution to this is to install a lift in the West stand which means the stand has to be deeper. As I have alreadh stated the 2008 approval gave the green light to this and once it did I’d rather they built it properly and according to current government guidance than do a half arsed job as we will have to live with that decision for a long long time.

    The additional costs for all parties in this are the councils failure to do it’s job properly and fall on the council tax payers and users of the Hive. The 300k compensation that Harrow Council may have become liable for is due to the councillors failure to do their jobs properly.

  11. Melanie

    CamroseRob, I don’t know who you are but it is very interesting that you know exactly how the council SHOULD have behaved but failed. I too have uncovered such a litany of ‘mistakes’ that it is breathtaking. Even more breathtaking is that no one is ever held accountable for these ‘mistakes’. If this happened within the private sector then heads would roll, and quite rightly too. I was once told by a Senior Council Officer that you only work in the council for the pension, he then went on to say that it’s “where l*z* id**ts go to die” (again, his words, not mine). I asked him why he worked there if that was how he felt. His reply was that he had been a successful business man who had sold his company for a great deal of money but felt he was too young to retire. Now, he said, I sit on my backside, do hardly any work, keep my head down and earn a fortune. I didn’t really believe it at the time, but the way things are in our Borough these days, well, I don’t know what to think. If you know the law and procedures and I can find out what they should be, why and how are the council continually able to flout them? Keep up the good work! Maybe you should stand as an Independent!

  12. CamroseRob

    What annoys me most in all this is that the councillors failed to impose restrictions on the lighting last September when they had the chance. Instead they ignored the planning officers advice and left us unprotected all winter by deciding to fight a political battle against a stand and lighting masts that did not breach planning law.
    If you want to look for something in the future that is potentially more damaging then you should be looking to see what protection from noise and lighting is being put in place by london underground when they start running a 24/7 Jubilee line service in 2015.

  13. Cllr Willy Stoodley

    Melanie’s mate Marylin Ashton fixed the permitted lighting times back in 2008.

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