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Yet more flats at Barnet development spark complaints

Yet more flats at Barnet development spark complaints

Yet more flats added to a planned development have made it too large for its surroundings, neighbours complained.

An extra floor at a block of flats planned for Spectrum House, in Hillview Gardens, Hendon, will increase the number of flats at the site to 41.

When the first plans to replace the disused office buildings with housing were submitted in 2016, it was set to be a three-storey building with 27 flats.

Then, in 2018, plans for a three-storey building with 33 flats were given the go-ahead.

At Monday’s (September 2) meeting of Hendon area planning committee, a developer sought permission to add a fourth floor to the building.

Council planning officers told the committee the extra floor would not have a detrimental impact on the surrounding area.

But the council had received 55 objections and a petition against the plans, with many neighbours claiming the development would be too large.

Renata Siepe, who lives in Albert Road, said: “Four storeys will be towering over much lower two-storey buildings.

“There is a gross overdevelopment. The appalling external appearance does not fit in the area – there is no building like it.”

Ms Siepe pointed out the size of the proposed development had grown significantly since the first plans were submitted.

She said: “If this building is approved, what will be approved next? I think it is just making a joke of the planning system. The line has to be drawn somewhere.”

Another neighbour, Stefan Bialoguski, claimed the plans went against Barnet Council’s policies to prioritise four-bedroom family homes.

He also pointed out that none of the flats would be classed as affordable and claimed many would be bought up by investors.

But the applicant told the committee that the local community would benefit considerably from the development.

He said it would be Barnet’s first “modular homes” development, with the units built in a factory and then brought to the site to be assembled.

The applicant added: “There will be less wastage, less carbon footprint, less disruption, less noise and less disturbance.

“This scheme has been approved for the Help to Buy scheme, so it will be of great benefit to local first-time buyers who are trying to get on the housing ladder.

“We are a local, sustainable SME firm. The government is encouraging developers like us to deliver more sustainable housing using modern methods of construction.”

The applicant claimed the overall height of the building would be the same as the planned three-storey block because the size of the roof had been reduced.

Under questioning from councillors, planning officers said an independent viability assessment had shown affordable housing could not be provided at the site.

The plans were approved after four committee members voted in favour and two voted against.

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