"The Market vs Planning – Who’s Kicking Out Ugly?"

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"With the greatest respect to the people of Colindale, it’s one of those places that has been pretty badly served over the years by the property development industry and the planning system when it comes to high quality urban design and place making. Unfortunately it hasn’t got a centre, which is always a bad start for a place.

Your first sight and site as you leave the tube is a pretty horrendous new Fairview development of the old hospital. I’m not picking on Fairview because, despite their poor reputation, they have another smaller scheme just down the road which, while simple, is reasonable. This development is surrounded by older housing, but there are a couple of other big new developments, one by St George (part of the Berkeley Group) called Beaufort Park, and one by housing association Genesis regenerating the old Grahame Park Estate.

"There are also some huge potential sites, including the site of the existing Barnet College and various large bits of Metropolitan Police land. Colindale is officially a growth area, with plans for 10,000 new homes and room for more. It also has some high-quality jobs and a pretty good location with Tube and Overground as well as road access and, for those who need it, it’s just a fifteen minute bus ride from Brent Cross.

"Now it’s not really Colindale’s fault, but you take your pick between the development industry and the planning system to allocate blame. The fundamental problem is that each site has been designed in complete isolation from each other, so the basic of creating a decent town centre for this rapidly growing population has been completely missed."

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