The Pinner Association
Response to the Consultation on “The Future of Pinner Park Farm”
THE PINNER ASSOCIATION (Registered Charity number 262349) is an amenity society founded in 1932. Its aims are to conserve and enhance the quality of life in Pinner, and it has a membership of some 3,500 households in the Pinner and Pinner South Wards.
- The Executive Committee of The Pinner Association has considered the proposals outlined in the consultation document “The future of Pinner Park Farm, Harrow – Public Consultation Summer 2014” and have the following comments, which are being submitted as a formal response to the current consultation:
- The Pinner Association does not support the proposal to provide greater public access to Pinner Park Farm.
- The Pinner Association does not support the proposal to convert the listed farm buildings to residential use to provide funds for their “restoration”.
- The Pinner Association supports neither “Option 1” nor “Option 2” in the consultation document.
- The reasons behind the above responses are as follows, and should be taken as a part of The Pinner Association’s response to this consultation:
- The residents of Harrow need to have access to documentation that provides evidence that the consultation process on these proposals for Pinner Park Farm has been conducted appropriately.
- There is a lack of true opinion-seeking in this consultation; the choice of two options both based on the same premise is not seeking public opinion, rather is seeking approval for a predetermined decision.
- The presentation by Harrow Council to the public of the consultation process does not suggest that the council is inviting proposals that include the retention of Pinner Park Farm as a farm. For example, the website notification to the residents states that:
“The council is looking to: …. provide greater public access to the 230 acres of land …. create a viable new use to secure the future of the historic farm buildings located within the site, many of which have fallen into disrepair and require substantial investment”
This statement implies that the Council is not open to the retention of this site as a working farm and indeed has already decided that it will not be so retained.
- The design of the online survey is closed and therefore leads respondents to make the choice of Option 1 or 2, thus resulting in a misrepresentation of opinion in the data set that is produced for the management information upon which the decisions are to be made. An opportunity should have been provided to give the response of ‘NEITHER OPTION’. Although it is possible to submit the questionnaire without selecting either Option 1 or Option 2, most respondents would not discover this. Those who did not agree with the principle of a Country Park may well have selected the option which represented the lesser of two evils to them, without actually being in favour of it.
- The short time allowed for public comment on what is a complex issue is inadequate.
- The lack of any business plan to support either “Option 1” or “Option 2”:
6.1.Would Harrow Council gain sufficient funds from the sale of the buildings for development as private housing to cover the costs of the buy out of the lease and the creation of and perpetual maintenance of a “Country Park”?
6.2.How would any funds for the maintenance of the “Country Park” be retained and protected from being subsumed into the general council budget?
6.3.How would capital budget money be transferred to the revenue budget so that it may be used for the maintenance of the “Country Park”?
- The Pinner Association objects to the sale of the listed and other farm buildings for development, especially “residential use” as described in the consultation document. The most pressing local need for additional housing in the London Borough of Harrow is for social housing, of which Harrow has a desperate shortage, and this is not the type of development described in these proposals.
- The Pinner Association objects to the change of use from agricultural Green Belt to Country Park status as this allows the perpetual lease to be broken and therefore effectively makes the current farmers and their cattle herd homeless in a time when new meat sources are needed in the supply chain and local supplies should be supported.
Policy 7.22 of the London Plan 2011, LAND FOR FOOD, and its supporting text, states that:
A The Mayor will seek to encourage and support thriving farming and land-based sectors in London, particularly in the Green Belt.
B Use of land for growing food will be encouraged nearer to urban communities via such mechanisms as ‘Capital Growth’.
C Boroughs should …… identify other potential spaces that could be used for commercial food production ……..
London Plan 2011 paragraph 7.66 advises that:
Providing land for food growing will have many benefits, it will help promote more active lifestyles, better diets and food security, social benefits and support for local foodgrowers. Agriculture is an appropriate use in the Green Belt and farmers adopting agri-environmental stewardship schemes will deliver good environmental practice, including longer term biodiversity benefits, particularly in the urban fringe………
- If a “Country Park” was created on the site there would be many practical difficulties, including;
9.1.How would visitors using the Country Park safely cross the dual carriageway road?
9.2.Would any on-site parking be sufficient to accommodate the crowds that may use the “Activity Events Field”?
9.3.If sufficient on-site car parking were to be provided, how would this impact on the Green Belt open aspect of the farm?
9.4.How would a “residential development” sit within the centre of a public open space?
9.5.The gardens envisaged for the “residential development” would not be a suitable use of the Green Belt land.
9.6.How would traffic enter and exit the site from the busy dual carriageway safely and without disruption to the traffic flow?
9.7.What would be the visual impact of development (one or more residential development with associated gardens and hard landscaping, visitor car parks, visitor centre, signage, pathways, and etcetera) on this Green Belt land?
9.8.How many people would attend events on the proposed “Activity Events Field” and how would events on this land impact on the amenity of the residents of the proposed new housing and on existing local residents and on the visual amenity of the Green Belt land?
- Pinner Park Farm should continue to be designated as Green Belt and should remain a working farm; currently there is public access via the footpath and bridle way, and any further access would damage the open aspect and condition of the land.
- Harrow Council should work with the current tenants to find a resolution to the problem of the repair of the listed buildings.
- If no agreement with the current tenants is possible then consideration should be given to using the site as a “Community Farm”.
21st July 2014.
Dr R. Boff, Honorary Secretary, The Pinner Association.
10, Crest View, Pinner HA5 1AN