“Behind our backs”: campaigners speak out as council sign lease with waste management firm
Campaigners feel “betrayed” after a lease for two new properties was granted to a waste management company despite protesters’ objections. P B Donoghue, a waste management and skip hire company, will lease two new units and yard space in Claremont Way Industrial Estate from Barnet Council, despite campaigners protesting for the company’s removal. A number of neighbours spoke of their dismay at the council for granting the lease “behind their backs”, saying they felt “completely betrayed and totally let down” when they heard the news.
Anna Blasik, of Clitterhouse Road, Cricklewood, said: “It feels like we and our children are simply an unwanted, second-grade citizens and our health and our children’s wellbeing is simply worthless to them. “The council’s action speaks for itself – there was no consultation despite the long-running campaign to reduce pollution yet they gave permission to Donoghue to pollute the area even more.” The lease report states the council has not received any rent from the properties since December 2015, after the lease expired with its former tenant, RBS Utilities Ltd, which went into liquidation in July 2014.
As a result, the council did not collect approximately ?51,000 from December 2015 until February 22, when the lease was granted. Anne Clarke, Labour candidate for Childs Hill in the 2018 council elections, said: “It is infuriating to see Donoghue’s being granted another site by Barnet Council while their first site causes so much disruption to Barnet residents. “By granting this lease, Barnet is trying to make good on their failure to collect rent, which could have kept librarians employed at the Childs Hill Library.”
Maurina Byrne, on behalf of the Golders Green Estate Residents’ Association, said: “It felt that on the one hand we are being told by the council they are totally behind us in relocating Donoghue’s and then we find out they were signing a lease with them behind our backs. “It also shows that Donoghue’s have expanded their business, which is why they wanted this space – so instead of moving them, the council acquiesced and assisted them in legalising the occupation.” The new lease, to run until December 31, also mentions the council’s intention to “regularise the current situation” as the company was using the premises “under an unlawful subletting by previous tenant RBS”.
Cath Shaw, commissioning director for growth and development, said: “The council is aware of residents’ concerns about the impact of PB Donoghue’s operation in the Claremont Road area, and is working to improve the environment locally and reduce the impact of lorry movements. “To help reduce the flow of lorry traffic in residential areas and the associated dirt and dust we have offered PB Donoghue a temporary additional site on Tilling Road on which to park lorries and waste containers, before it is needed as part of the wider regeneration. This reduces the traffic on Claremont Road and ensures that the site is secure.
“We have also formalised a short-term lease for a site that PB Donoghue already occupy on Claremont Way Industrial Estate after it became apparent the premises were unlawfully sublet by the previous tenant to PB Donoghue.
The lease will ensure that there is an enforceable legal agreement in place between the council and PB Donoghue, giving give the council greater control over the site which is part of the wider Brent Cross Cricklewood scheme.
We are actively seeking to recover unpaid monies owed by the previous tenant.”
P B Donoghue declined to comment.