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Plan of 130 housing units on green space in Barnet approved UK News

A developer has obtained general approval to build 130 houses on a green space that was previously intended to be reserved for public use.

Community Health Partnerships’ request to build four apartment blocks at Finchley Memorial Hospital, North Finchley was approved by the Barnet Council’s strategic planning committee on Thursday.

The decision came despite 677 public objections, officers admitting that the proposals went against a council policy protecting open spaces and a commitment to maintain the area as an open space accessible to the public in as part of the redevelopment of the hospital approved in 2010.

Planned for land south of Granville Road and east of Bow Lane, the four- and five-story apartments are designed for use by NHS staff and healthcare workers, including those with lower wages .

Jennie Arthur, who lives in Bow Lane, told the committee that protecting open spaces is one of the most fundamental principles of the planning system and that North Finchley has been recognized by council as having an open space disability.

“Our green space is a valued and widely used area, as evidenced by the strength of local objections,” she added.

Ms Arthur said the main problem with NHS recruitment was the salary levels of nurses and stressed that access to green spaces helped improve mental and physical health.

Three advisers also spoke out against the plans. Cllr Geof Cooke (Labor, Woodhouse) said the land was provided to residents as common green space to offset the construction of the hospital and parking lot on the former Bow Lane playgrounds.

He questioned the promise of affordable housing – increased from 50% to 100% before the meeting – would be honored, saying it was not costed.

Cllr Ross Houston (Labor, West Finchley) also pointed out that the open space – which he said was protected by national planning policy and not justified by demand – was meant to be kept for public use as part of the previous shots.

And Cllr Gabriel Rozenberg (Liberal Democrat, Garden Suburb) raised concerns about the apartments being sold on the open market, saying the only reason the developer could promise 100% affordable housing was that the installments of the NHS remuneration for which they were intended amounted to £ 87,754.

But GP Dr Clare Stephens spoke out in favor of the program, saying staff retention was one of the challenges of scaling up hospital care.

“Clinical continuity is really important,” she said. “We must provide… quality and accessible accommodation to our staff, and they will, in return, offer us commitment and continuity of care. ”

Dr Stephens said the North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group was “down by more than 8,000 in terms of nurses we need to employ”.

A spokesperson for Community Health Partnerships said they had taken a “landscape approach” and “put green spaces at the heart of development.”

“We want local residents to benefit from the facilities and therefore have worked hard to keep the site open to the public,” he added, saying half of the site would still be available to residents.

“We believe these proposals strike a good balance between the needs of local residents (and) commercial viability and provide long-term housing for NHS workers while retaining community use of this improved green space.”

A council planning officer told the committee that the accommodation would be reserved for NHS staff and that there would be no chance that the houses would be sold on the open market.

The officer said more details on the combination of affordable housing – which should be a combination of social rent, middle rent and condominium – could be submitted to the committee for consideration when the request is brought back to the “reserved questions” stage. “.

Six members of the conservative committee – Cllrs Eva Greenspan, Melvin Cohen, Julian Teare, Mark Shooter, Golnar Bokaei and Reuben Thompstone – voted to approve the plans.

Lib Dem Cllr Jess Brayne voted against, along with Conservative Cllr Stephen Sowerby and Labor Cllrs Nagus Narenthira and Claire Farrier. Two Labor advisers – Tim Roberts and Laurie Williams – abstained.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-18 14:29:07

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