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Forum seeks volunteers for vital access role in £4 billion regeneration project

A new forum is looking for six disabled people to play a vital role in ensuring that one of the capital’s largest regeneration schemes is accessible to disabled people.

The £4 billion Brent Cross Cricklewood scheme will create a new town centre across a 350-acre site around Brent Cross Shopping Centre in north London, including new retail and leisure facilities, parks, and public transport and road improvements.

The developers have set up Brent Cross Cricklewood Consultative Access Forum, to be chaired by the leading disability and inclusive design consultant Tracey Proudlock.

The forum will comment on inclusive design issues at each stage of the scheme, which is on the same scale as the development of the London 2012 Olympic Park.

Proudlock is recruiting six local disabled people to join her on the forum, along with representatives of Barnet Council, the Greater London Authority and the developers.

She said the scheme would create a “new inclusive community” in north London – with 7,500 homes built to Lifetime Homes standards, and 10 per cent of them either wheelchair-accessible or built so they can be easily-adapted to being wheelchair-accessible – improve the accessibility of public transport and provide an expanded Shopmobility scheme.

There will also be a new Changing Places toilet in the shopping centre, while she hopes there could be another of the accessible toilet facilities built elsewhere in the development.

She said: “Brent Cross is my local shopping centre. Having lived in the area for more than 20 years I know for myself how vital this regeneration scheme is.

“I am thrilled to be involved in a project of this ambition and I am looking to recruit disabled people with experience and knowledge of access issues in Barnet to join me.”

She said it could be a significant opportunity for disabled people who want to play an influential role in a major development, and be “immersed in access issues”, with support from Proudlock and the scheme’s access consultants and architects.

She added: “What we will be looking for is trying to improve designs at the earliest opportunity, getting maximum wins for everybody.

“If disabled people are talking to architects at the very early stages you can influence things. It is very difficult to influence something later down the line.”

The scheme will see 7,500 new homes, three new schools, a new cinema, leisure centre and health centre, a new train station, major road improvements, a new larger bus station, upgrades to Brent Cross underground station and Cricklewood train station – including lifts and facilities for disabled passengers – and other new community facilities.

The terms of reference for the six local members of the forum are still under discussion, but their expenses will be paid and it is anticipated that an honorary payment will be made in return for their time.

To apply to join the forum, send a copy of your CV to or by post to Freepost BXC Public Consultation, or call 0800 881 5303 for more information.

News provided by Disability News Service.