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Oakleigh Road South vehicle depot

Barnet Council is now working with its appointed contractor, Willmott Dixon, to develop the Oakleigh Road South Vehicle depot (the former Abbots Depot site).

Once built, the depot will allow Barnet Council to operate its waste and recycling collection fleet from a single coordinated site, ensuring the most efficient service for residents across the borough.

As part of the delivery of the depot we wanted to bring benefits to the local area, and having listened to residents’ feedback which include:

  • Reducing the number of HGV movements along Oakleigh Road South through the purchase of the lease for the Winters Haulage site
  • Increasing the amount and quality of trees and shrubs screening the site
  • Improving road safety through changes to the site entrance, the reinstatement of bollards along Oakleigh Road South’s pavements, and the installation of speed warning signs and a zebra crossing
  • Improving the condition of surrounding roads and footpaths
  • Enforcing good practice by other companies on the trading estate with parking restrictions (eg yellow lines) along part of Oakleigh Road South
  • Improving the underpass between Oakleigh Road South and Beaconsfield Road
  • Sweeping Oakleigh Road South more often

Work under way

Construction work began in May 2016 and will last for approximately 12 months. The depot is scheduled to be completed and operational by Summer 2017.

This development is taking place because the proposals for the depot received the go-ahead from Barnet Council’s Planning Committee and the Mayor of London’s office.

What will the depot look like?

The depot will consist of:

  • An undercover bulking facility for food waste and dry recyclables
  • A maintenance building for the Council’s waste and recycling collection vehicles
  • Parking spaces for the waste and recycling collection vehicles
  • A cleaning bay
  • A fuel pump
  • A salt barn and winter gritting facilities
  • A two-storey office
  • Parking for staff cars

The depot will primarily consist of low-rise buildings, similar in appearance to warehouses. The tallest building (the salt barn) will stand at 12.9 metres, although this would be located at the lowest lying part of the site and is not as tall as Winters’ old shed (which has been dismantled).

There will be no treatment of the recyclables and food waste at the depot, so there will be no chimney or stack of any kind. There will be a vehicle maintenance building, a bulking facility and a two-storey office building, but the staff parking is at ground level only. To ensure minimal visual impact, extra trees will be planted on the embankments around the site to provide more visual screening.

Bulking facility

The bulking facility is a fully enclosed building with roller shutter doors that will be used to temporarily store dry recyclable materials and food waste collected from households in Barnet.

The dry recyclables ie glass, paper, cans, plastic and cardboard will be deposited in the bulking facility and then loaded into an articulated lorry by mechanical shovel and removed from site before the end of each day.

Food waste will not be stored overnight. It will be brought to the depot and temporarily stored in independently covered containers and also housed within the bulking facility. These will then be loaded onto a lorry to be taken away from the site each day. By carrying out the bulking operations in an enclosed facility the Council will be able to better manage windblown litter, smell and noise.

Traffic and congestion on the local road network

To address concerns over traffic and congestion, the Council purchased the lease for the Winters Haulage site. Winters’ lease for the site ran until the end of 2020, meaning the company would have continued to operate until that date at the earliest. Winters Haulage has now left the site, resulting in a significant reduction in heavy goods vehicle movements in the local area.

The depot plans also seek to address the impact of HGVs on traffic congestion by improving access to the depot site and by implementing parking restrictions along some of Oakleigh Road South.

Reduction in air pollution

By removing Winters’ HGVs from the local road network there will be a reduction in congestion and vehicle emissions. All of the Council’s waste and recycling collection fleet vehicles are modern and have Euro 5 emissions ratings. This means that the vehicles are well within the current emissions limits required for London’s Low Emission Zone. There will be absolutely no waste treatment at the depot, meaning that there will not be any waste processing emissions.

Why can’t the site be used for housing or a park?

This isn’t possible because the site is within the safeguarding boundary for Crossrail 2. This means it could be required for the rail project at some point in the future, therefore making it unsuitable for housing or parkland development. If the site is required for Crossrail 2, it is unlikely the depot would have to move until at least 2025.

The site is also designated for industrial use and within an existing and established industrial area on the railway sidings. A Council depot and associated operations will be in keeping with what currently takes place on the railways sidings.  

For more frequently asked questions and their answers, please download the FAQ document from the ‘Download documents’ section of this web page.

Planning process

The planning application for the Council vehicle depot at the former Abbots Depot site on Oakleigh Road South was submitted to the Local Planning Authority (LPA) on 29 June 2015. A statutory consultation process ran until 24 September 2015, allowing anyone who wished to submit their feedback to do so.

The statutory consultation was run by the LPA – the planning department within Barnet Council – and all comments submitted during the process were considered alongside the planning documents by a planning officer. Following his review, the planning officer recommended the plans for approval.  

At a Barnet Council Planning Committee meeting on 1 October, members voted to approve the plans to build the replacement council vehicle depot.

The Committee’s decision included a number of planning conditions, including a requirement to refer the application to the Mayor of London for his final clearance. The Mayor passed responsibility for the decision to his Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff, Sir Edward Lister. After reviewing the application, Sir Edward stated that he would not make a decision and was “content to allow Barnet Council to determine the case itself”.

On 10 November, Barnet Council’s Assistant Director for Development Management and Building Control gave final planning permission for the replacement depot, subject to a number of planning conditions.

Considerate Constructors Scheme

Willmott Dixon is an associate and long standing member of the Considerate Constructors Scheme. This scheme ensures its members act responsibly; respecting and protecting the people and places they work in. The site has also been registered with the scheme.

This approach of working considerately is important to the Council, as we want to make sure that disruption to the local community and environment is minimised. 

Listening to local people

The Council carried out a nine-week pre-application consultation on depot proposals between 2 March and 4 May 2015. This gave local residents the opportunity to provide feedback on the plans prior to a planning application being submitted.

The feedback received during the pre-application consultation was considered by the project team and, where feasible, changes were implemented. The bullet points below outline some of the changes made following feedback from members of the public.

Traffic and congestion
Respondents commented on the impact of HGVs associated with the depot. Actions taken to address traffic and congestion include:

  • Completing the purchase of the lease for the Winters site, ensuring the company’s early departure, and taking its vehicles off Oakleigh Road South
  • Enforcing good practice by other companies on the trading estate with parking restrictions (e.g. yellow lines) along part of Oakleigh Road South and more stringent monitoring of traffic management
  • Revising the site entrance to ensure vehicles are off the road as quickly as possible
  • Implementing road markings in the centre of the road at the entrance to the site to slow traffic appropriately.

Road safety
Respondents commented on the perceived impact of the depot on safety. Actions taken to address road safety include:

  • Installing a new zebra crossing on Oakleigh Road South
  • Reinstating the bollards along Oakleigh Road South’s pavements and extending them further down the road
  • Installing new electronic speed warning signs.

Visual impact
Respondents commented on the visual impact of the depot. Actions taken to reduce the visual impact include:

  • Reducing the staff car park from two storeys to ground level only
  • Reducing the footprint of the vehicle maintenance building by two maintenance bays
  • Moving the proposed tallest building (12 metres) to the lowest lying part of the site
  • Acquiring the lease for the Winters site and removing the existing ‘trommel shed’, which was taller than any of the depot buildings will be
  • Screening the Oakleigh Road South depot site by planting additional vegetation on the surrounding embankments.

Respondents commented on the potential noise impact of the depot. Actions taken to reduce the noise impact include:

  • Redesigning the waste and recycling collection vehicle parking area to ensure that all vehicles can drive directly out of their spaces each morning, meaning there will be no reversing alarms.

Public area improvements
Respondents commented on the desire to see improvements to public areas. Actions taken to improve public areas include:

  • A commitment to improving the underpass between Oakleigh Road South and Beaconsfield Road. Possible options include implementing CCTV, cutting back vegetation to increase brightness and repainting the underpass
  • Replanting the grass verge to the south east of the site on Oakleigh Road South
  • More regular road sweeping along Oakleigh Road South each week.

Dust suppression

More recently, residents have commented on the potential impact of dust arising from the construction work on site. Actions taken to reduce the impact of dust include:

  • Spraying a fine mist of water from pressurised nozzles onto the area being excavated and around the lorries as the material is loaded into them. Once the lorries are full, a cover is pulled over the load compartment.
  • The fineness of the nozzles allow for a reasonably small amount of water to be used whilst still having the desired effect. The water used is fed from a tanked reservoir which is refilled each night.
  • Erecting a 6 metre high scaffold framework along the Eastern boundary of the site where the tree screening has been removed. This will be covered in a fine mesh fabric which will help to capture any dust missed by the spray. This has been included as an additional measure following resident emails highlighting your concerns.
  • Installing dust and noise measuring instruments. These accurately record levels of both noise and dust and provide real-time information to the site management. This allows actions to be taken promptly should any issues arise.
  • Setting up a steering group for all business tenants on the railway sidings, led by National Rail, with the main focus being the implementation of improved dust suppression measures.

Next steps

Construction will last for approximately 12 months. The depot is scheduled to be completed and operational in summer 2017.

Barnet Council and Willmott Dixon will engage with local people during the construction of the depot. There will be regular update newsletters on the progress of the construction, including an introductory newsletter from Willmott Dixon which will contain more information on the work involved. These newsletters will be added to the downloads section at the bottom of this webpage.

Willmott Dixon will also be carrying out community engagement activities, including educational visits to local schools to teach about building site safety and careers in construction. Further information will be provided by Willmott Dixon in its newsletters. 


  • Vehicle Depot
  • Oakleigh Road South
  • Email: vehicledepot@barnet.gov.uk
  • Willmott Dixon site team
  • For any questions regarding the works on site
  • Tel: 07968 853 224

Download documents

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