FUTURE OF PINNER PARK FARM: REPORT ON THE FIRST CONSULTATION
On 27 November Harrow Council published a report by Bidwells on the first consultation on the future of Pinner Park Farm which was undertaken last spring. See the link below. Having considered the report carefully, the Council has asked Bidwells to work on a proposal to create an open country park similar to one at Greenwich. The proposal will also allow the Council to restore and protect historic buildings on the site but, it would appear, will involve new housing on this Green Belt site.
SUMMER CONSULTATION 2014: HATCH END ASSOCIATION RESPONSE (8 July 2014)
The Hatch End Association have no objection in principle to greater access on foot or cycle by members of the public to the green belt/open space at Pinner Park Farm, insofar as it is practicable within the arrangements of a working farm. But we cannot support the two options in the Future of PPF Public Consultation Summer 2014.
No reason for or explanation of the termination of the present activity is given, such as inadequate operation of the farm, a drain on the Council’s finances, or an inability to find other ways to maintain the listed buildings. That such maintenance might emerge as a by-product of the proposed options is not a justification for them. In any event, whether all of the listed buildings are worth artificial reconstruction in view of their decrepit condition is arguable.
The consultation paper’s attempt to influence support for a country park by showing attractive illustrations of Hylands Park at Chelmsford is grossly misleading. That park spreads over 570 acres, compared with the 230 at Pinner. It is based on what was a substantial 18th century private estate with a significant mansion. Twenty years of investment have created a large area of landscaped parkland, with formal gardens, etc, as well as a year-round leisure and entertainment venue and a sports and events programme up to and including a weekend rock festival (tickets up to £100).
It might be premature for the Harrow/Bidwells schemes to attempt detailed business plans for their two options. But councillors and public are expected to take on trust the underlying assumption that either option would yield initial and continuing receipts which would cover the costs of the immediate redevelopment and the continuing management and maintenance of the site in perpetuity. There is no clue as to the price range of the residential units which would provide the starting finances; no clue as to potential labour costs; and not even the broadest indication of what kind of numbers of visitors and vehicles are envisaged.
There are other points about the options which will be of concern. These range from the scattering of parking places around the perimeter to the nature of the miscellaneous activities envisaged. Among the most important are the appearance and environmental aspects of the central housing units, which would be no more appealing – gated or not – than present structures in the middle of the green belt (leave aside how the residents might react to the visitors, school parties, etc that would be rambling around the perimeter of their properties). Traffic and transport to and from the site are among other issues.
We understand that consideration may be given to the re-designation of the area from green belt to metropolitan open land. This is a potential worry as in recent years the loss of land (mainly to housing) from MOL has been markedly greater than that affecting green belt (CPRE London Member Briefing, 2014).