Finchley flats plan rejection upheld by inspector

Planning inspector agrees scheme would have ‘detrimental effect’ on North Finchley
By Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

A computer-generated image of the proposed scheme in North Finchley (credit TP Bennett/Taylor Wimpey North Thames)
A computer-generated image of the proposed scheme in North Finchley (credit TP Bennett/Taylor Wimpey North Thames)

A decision by Barnet Council to refuse permission for 307 flats near low-rise suburban homes has been upheld by a planning inspector.

Taylor Wimpey’s plan to build blocks up to nine storeys high at the site of the Homebase store at 679 High Road, North Finchley, was deemed “a step too far” by planning inspector Paul Jackson as he dismissed the developer’s appeal against the decision.

In his report, Paul wrote that there would be “very high impacts” caused by the eight and nine-storey blocks and a “high to moderate level of harm would result”. 

He added: “The scheme fails overall to provide a form, scale and massing solution that would integrate successfully into its surroundings. Change is inevitable – but the tallest blocks in this scheme would be a step too far.”

Taylor Wimpey’s plan, which sparked 345 written objections from members of the public, was unanimously refused by councillors during a meeting of the strategic planning committee in January. The committee judged that it would be an overdevelopment and fail to respect the local context and pattern of development in the surrounding area, which is charecterised by low-rise suburban homes.

Its decision went against the advice of town hall planning bosses, who had recommended the scheme for approval. Taylor Wimpey subsequently appealed against the ruling to the government’s Planning Inspectorate.

After hearing evidence during an inquiry held in July, Paul wrote that the proposal “maximises the potential for densification and in doing so fails to respond appropriately to the council’s own character assessment or up-to-date guidance”. 

He added: “The detrimental effect on townscape character of the tallest blocks […] would be so great as to significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits the scheme would bring.”

A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson said: “We have taken on board the comments of the appeal inspector and we are now considering our options for this site.”

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