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Plans for flats and offices near East Finchley Forest rejected UK News

Plans for a housing development of up to six storeys in East Finchley have been rejected due to the potential impact on a nearby ancient forest.

At a planning committee meeting on Wednesday June 22, councilors refused developer Combined Finchley permission to build nine new apartments, as well as retail and office space, on the site of a Great North substation Road.

The town hall’s planning chiefs had recommended the project’s approval, writing in their report that the proposed development would be “of high quality” and “would have an acceptable impact on the character and appearance of the site”.

But Barnet Council received 48 objections to the plans and opponents warned the scheme would be overdevelopment and damage views near Cherry Tree Wood, a 5.3-hectare park designated as a local conservation site.

Friends of Cherry Tree Wood secretary Deborah Linton told the committee the developer was “privatizing” the forest view while the rest of East Finchley would be left to hunt for a building. She added: “It will set a precedent and we will be surrounded by high-rise buildings.”

Roger Chapman, president of Friends of Cherry Tree Wood and Barnet Green Spaces Network, said the proposals were contrary to one of the council’s policies stating that development next to Greenbelt or Metropolitan Open Land should not have a negative impact on visual appeal.

He added: “Overall the report downplays the importance of open space […] after covid, it’s time for council to take a stronger stance to protect our precious open space.

Luke Raistrick, a planning consultant acting on behalf of the developer, told advisers the site was “really well suited to deliver office-led development for up to 300 workers”.

He added: “The amount of development that we and the officers finally decided on strikes the right balance, in our view, between optimizing the very sustainable location of the site and respecting the surrounding character.

Members of the labor committee were not convinced by his argument. Arjun Mittra, who represents East Finchley, said there would be ‘particular harm’ to the wooded area of ​​the park.

Committee chair Claire Farrier, who also represents East Finchley, said the proposed development was “too big” and “would encroach heavily on the park”.

All three Labor councilors voted to refuse the scheme, with Conservative members of the committee voting against the motion to refuse.

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This notice was published: 2022-06-24 14:55:00

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