North Finchley residents ‘scared’ by housing scheme on car park

The six-storey mixed use scheme near the town centre is claimed to be “too tall” while traffic congestion is also feared, reports Grace Howarth, Local Democracy Reporter

Lodge Lane Car Park
Lodge Lane Car Park

A residents’ association chair has raised concerns over a proposed mixed-use development on a North Finchley car park.

Lodge Lane Residents’ Association chair Daniela Boyce claims plans for the car park in Lodge Lane, which currently has 232 spaces, would harm the mostly residential street.

While the proposal has not yet been formally submitted and is subject to change, it looks set to include a six-storey, mixed-use development, with between 92 and 97 homes.

A car park on the ground floor, containing 87 spaces, would provide parking for the commercial aspect of the scheme, which includes a bowling alley and cinema.

The bowling alley and cinema were originally included in the nearby Great North Leisure Park redevelopment but will now find a new home in Lodge Lane.

The plans are currently at the pre-application stage, with a submission expected in September. 

Daniela said: “We all know some change needs to happen housing wise, in North Finchley, we’re not anti-residential development [but] the design of the scheme isn’t quite right.

“Whether you put the residential side in there or not, it’s the traffic, it can’t get better with this, even if there’s no resident parking.”

Daniela said the anticipated traffic would struggle to be accommodated on Lodge Lane and with the plan having no free parking she worried it could lead to congestion and residents on the street competing for spaces.

Lodge Lane is characterised by cottages, and Daniela feels the proposal’s modern design is “quite bland” and needed a more “creative approach”.

Daniela also claimed there were security issues and potential noise disturbances with the plan proposing “narrow walkways” and the new bowling alley potentially closing at 1am.

She said residents were “scared” from experiences with the Arts Depot which has been criticised for being “too tall”.

Daniela added: “We’re really scared with the development being in Lodge Lane, the height of the building, six storeys high, it seems completely inappropriate, it will dwarf the small cottages in front of it.”

A Barnet Council spokesperson said: “Proposals for Lodge Lane are still being considered, so a final decision on the scale of the development and the number of homes has yet to be made.

“The community will continue to provide feedback through the North Finchley Partnership Board, which was set up in 2021 to allow residents to share their views on this site and the wider regeneration scheme. We will continue to work closely with them and listen to their views.”

The council spokesperson said the council was committed to working with its residents to ensure communities benefited from new developments and new buildings took “local character and need” into account.

The added: “We’ve been working with the developer, Regal London, at the pre-application stage, so that proposals for this site and others in North Finchley town centre respond to feedback from the community, including holding consultations, surveys and engagement events.

“Local residents have shared their views on issues such as building height, parking, traffic and sustainability, which has in turn helped to shape the design of the development. More public engagement events will take place.”

They added developer Regal London would be required to engage with the council’s new ‘quality review panel’, a team of planning experts helping ensure developments were built to a “high standard, including design”.

A planning director for Regal London, Steve Harrington, said: “We have been working closely with the local council on the masterplan proposals for North Finchley including our vision for Lodge Lane. We look forward to continuing to discuss the future of the neighbourhood with residents and businesses over the next months.”

This article has been updated to remove a reference to Regal London as being the developer of Arts Depot, which was incorrect, and to add a comment from the company.

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