London

Go-ahead for £5bn north London town centre scheme

Brent Cross shopping centre
Image caption The north west London project will commence in 2014

A £5bn plan to create a new town centre in north-west London has been given the go-ahead after the government announced it will not "call in" the scheme.

The Brent Cross Cricklewood project, which had the backing of the London Mayor and Barnet council, will commence in 2014.

Local campaigners have objected to traffic issues and a waste plant.

The proposals for Cricklewood and Brent Cross aim to create 27,000 jobs as well as homes, schools and transport links.

'Trojan horse'

Barnet council approved the scheme in November 2009 but John Denham, who was communities secretary at the time, put it on hold to decide whether to order a public inquiry.

Plans for a new waste facility have raised concern among campaigners and environment group Friends of the Earth has claimed that the new waste facility will be a "Trojan horse" for an incinerator.

Developers have rejected the concerns, saying it would be a "state of the art" facility to provide fuel for a power generator.

Officials acting for Eric Pickles, the new government's communities secretary, said his intervention "would not be justified".

A spokeswoman for Mr Pickles said his policy on "encouraging renewable energy developments in regional and local decisions was considered".

But the planning issues had "more than adequately been addressed by the council", she said.

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