New homes planned on top of Colindale block deemed ‘unsafe’

Residents of five-storey block deemed a fire safety risk speak out against plans to add 44 homes to the building
By Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Fletcher Court in Colindale (credit Google)
Fletcher Court in Colindale (credit Google)

Residents “trapped” in unsellable homes because of cladding issues have vented their anger over plans to build two extra floors on top of their building.

People living at Fletcher Court in Joslin Avenue, Colindale, have slammed plans by a developer to add 44 flats to their five-storey block.

They say they have already been hit by cladding and other safety issues leaving them unable to sell their homes and that the proposed scheme would add to their misery.

More than 130 objections from residents and the wider community have been published on Barnet Council’s planning portal.

One opponent writes that it is “madness” to propose adding two more storeys to an “unsafe” block affected by “many building issues”. Another says residents are “trapped” in homes they cannot sell because of cladding issues yet to be rectified by the developer and for which the government will not provide funding.

A third writes: “The residents cannot handle a building site on top of their homes. All the other issues with the building are already unbearable, and yet you are looking to make more profit.”

Fletcher Court was built by Fairview New Homes and forms part of a wider development, Colindale Pulse, which was completed in 2017 and contains almost 1,100 homes.

The application to build the upward extension was submitted by a separate developer.

Mab Moeiri-Farsi, who lives in Hitherwood Court, a separate part of the development, said he feared the application would be the “tip of the iceberg” and, if approved, would open the door to upward extensions being built on other blocks.

The cladding on his building was deemed a fire safety risk in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, but Mab said Fairview had so far failed to stump up any cash to have it replaced, and residents had been unable to obtain funding from the government.

As a result, he said, residents were already paying “exorbitant” building insurance and could face having to pay for a temporary ‘waking watch’ patrol to guard against fire.

Mab added that an inspection had uncovered other wall defects that were present at the time of construction.

He said: “Legally we are trapped, and physically we are trapped. An application like this will cause a great deal of anxiety among people who are already anxious.”

Mab hit out at Barnet Council, claiming it had not told residents in his block about the new application, meaning they had to find out “via word of mouth”. He also said building control should have picked up on the non-cladding wall defects and taken enforcement action. Despite the ongoing problems faced by residents, he said they had not even been offered a council tax holiday.

Attempts were made to contact the developer for comment via SM Planning, which is listed as the agent on the council’s planning portal.

Fairview New Homes said in a statement: “Fairview is in active discussion with the relevant management company and their legal advisers in respect of building safety matters and is committed to resolving any defects that are the company’s proper legal responsibility.”

When approached for comment, a council spokesperson said it had consulted a total of 324 properties within a 50-metre radius of the site, in line with its normal approach. It said the Fletcher Court application would not set a precedent for future schemes because “each application needs to be considered on its own individual planning merits”.

The application can be viewed by visiting the council’s planning portal and entering reference 21/6753/PNV

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