Barnet’s Conservative councillors voted against listening to residents and engaging further with them on the controversial scheme to build on highly valued and well used green fields much loved by local children in Tarling Road and Brownswell Road, East Finchley (Housing & Growth Committee, 17 Feb).

Labour Members of the Housing and Growth Committee had moved an amendment to the Council’s report that would have extended dialogue with residents to look at delivering the additional homes whilst preserving the green space, but this was defeated 5-4, with a straight party line vote.

East Finchley Councillor Claire Farrier, who spoke at the committee on behalf of residents said:
“These fields are beloved by local children as the only real usable green space for them to play sports like football and cricket in the area. They are always well used, especially during Covid times when it was the only relief for children stuck at home. Residents have been making clear that they are not anti-development, they are just fighting to save their green space. All we asked was to keep the dialogue going and address the quality of life for current residents and those who may move in.”

Fellow East Finchley Councillor Arjun Mittra said:
“Make no mistake, every green space in Barnet is now under threat of development by the Conservatives. If they can bulldoze a children’s field here they can come after any of them. This council isn’t serious about protecting or enhancing green spaces- they want to build on them. You do not solve the housing crisis by making the places where people live concrete jungles that are unliveable. Everything they have to say about keeping fit and healthy and enjoying “green and pleasant” Barnet is total hogwash if you’re poor. The Barnet Tories just don’t care.

Fellow East Finchley Councillor Alison Moore added:
“The Covid pandemic has laid bare the inequalities in health and the vital role green, open and playable spaces play in maintaining our physical and mental health. Barnet’s Conservative Council shouldn’t be building on green spaces and that needs to apply to Brownswell and Tarling Road open spaces in East Finchley just as much as elsewhere.”

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