Developer plans to knock down the Midland Hotel Venue in Hendon and replace it with luxury flats

The Save London Music Campaign is saddened to learn of  a proposal to redevelop the Midland Hotel, one of the areas best loved pubs. This venue has a close association with our campaign, hosting our original launch party in February 2015 and our annual campaign Birthday party.

The details of the plan are as follows

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18/4961/FUL | Demolition of the former Midland Hotel and the construction of three buildings of five to eight storeys in height to accommodate 59 residential dwellings | The Midland Hotel Public House 29 Station Road London NW4 4PN

(for full details click here https://publicaccess.barnet.gov.uk/online-applications/ and put 18/4961/FUL in the search key)

I listed some of these on our objections on the councils website

I am opposing this application on a number of grounds. The space is a well established pub and music venue. It has hosted numerous cultural events over the years, including the launch of the Save London Music Campaign – aimed at protecting just such grassroots venues in 2015. This plan clearly contravenes Section 14 of the Councils Local plan which states “plan positively for the provision and use of shared space, community facilities (such as local shops,meeting places, sports venues, cultural buildings, public houses and places of worship”. There are few other such spaces in Hendon and none with the unique history of the Midland Arms. This development also does not conform to section 15.1.1 of the local plan “15.1.1 Policy CS8: Promoting a Strong Prosperous and Enterprising Barnet sets out that the council will support the Borough’s economy by protecting viable employment premises which meet the needs of modern business and encourage improvements to the quality of existing employment spaces including mixed use floorspace in the town centres. ” as the Midland is an employment site. The Travel plan is a complete nonsense. There is nothing to promote cycling. The figures used are incorrect (Table 10 does not add up correctly), it states that zero journeys will be made by cab (based on 2011 census, taking no account of developments such as Uber). There is nor provision for affordable housing and reduces such provision by reducing the budget room accomodation at the hotel. There is no proper provision for cycling, especially disabled cyclists. In short it destroys a valuable community space, replacing it with an ill thought out carbuncle that will blight the area

Malcolm Crescent, Hendon

There is plenty wrong with the plan from a community perspective. The construction of eight storey buildings in this part of Hendon is totally out of character with the area. Here is a view of Malcolm Crescent, as you can see it is a typical Hendon suburban street, not an eight storey tower in sight. The proposal is totally out of keeping with this.

As you can see from the proposal, there is a CPZ in place because the site is adjacent to the Hendon Thameslink Station. The plan seeks 59 luxury dwellings with only 33 car parking spaces. It seems to me to be unlikely that the type of people who buy luxury flats are the type of people who take the bus. They will have family and friends visiting and this will put ever more stress on the local parking spaces. The travel plan refers to the requirements of the old London plan, not the new draft plan which is about to be released. It is clear that the developers want to slip the proposal in before the new, more rigorous requirements come in.

Table 10 in the travel plan uses figures that don’t even add up correctly. It states that 0% of journeys from the flats will be made using Taxis or minicabs. This is based on 2011 census information. It takes no account of the rise of Uber, which is especially popular with the type of upwardly mobile people who buy luxury flats. Whilst there is mention of provision of cycle spaces, there is no wider commitment to encourage cycling.  The plan envisages a 22% drop in car usage in the flats over  a five year period, whilst seeing a 6% increase in bus usage. I would be very interested to see a proper survey of luxury flat dwellers usage of buses.

The flats have no social housing aspect. The Hotel currently has budget rooms available for transient labour and people who are requiring cheap, short term local accommodation. There is no other local provision and this will be a huge loss.

However our main objection is that the Midland Hotel is a massive community resource. The venue has used the space on many occasions for community events.  As well as the  association with the campaign ,Ww’ve also attended all manner of other local events (including gigs, comedy nights,  community award ceremonies,  wedding receptions and funerals). The travel plan states that West Hendon Broadway is nearby, but there is nothing like the Midland there. A couple of years ago, we organised a Hillsborough memorial gig at the pup, which was packed with fans of many local football clubs, earlier this year we celebrated the third anniversary of the Save London Music campaign at the pub and filmed this video. The pub was packed.

The Save London Music Campaign has been successfully arguing that London needs such grassroots venues. It is ironic that the pub where we launched the campaign is at threat from some of the reasons we outlined back when it was launched.

What is disappointing about this plan is that the developer could quite easily make a handsome profit with a less intrusive scheme that retained the pub, provided social housing and provided excellent local facilities. We fully understand that developers, with no attachment to an area, seek maximum profits. What they need to understand is that in the London Borough of Barnet we fight for our community assets and we oppose bad plans with vigour. We strongly recommend that the developer has a second look at their plans and comes back with something that takes account of the local history, the requirements of the community and the requirements of the 2018 London plan.

We urge every reader to help encourage them by posting an objection to the scheme. You may not think that this affects you. It does. It sets a precedent if the Council objects it and it sends a message to developers that if they are proposing plans in Barnet, they have to propose plans that work for the community.

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