Barnet Post

Barnet Post

Affordable homes approved despite school's objections

Barnet Homes wins permission to build 15 new homes on site in Muswell Hill

Hero for Affordable homes approved despite school's objections
A computer-generated image of the proposed development (credit RCKa/Atelier Permain/Studio ONB)

Plans for a new affordable housing scheme in Muswell Hill have won approval despite concerns over its impact on a nearby school.Plans for a new affordable housing scheme in Muswell Hill have won approval despite concerns over its impact on a nearby school.

Barnet Homes, the council’s housing arm, has been given the go-ahead to build nine flats and six terraced houses on land next to 114 Coppetts Road.Barnet Homes, the council’s housing arm, has been given the go-ahead to build nine flats and six terraced houses on land next to 114 Coppetts Road.

Council planning chiefs recommended the scheme for approval, stating in a report that it would provide “much-needed affordable housing and make a more efficient use of a brownfield site”.Council planning chiefs recommended the scheme for approval, stating in a report that it would provide “much-needed affordable housing and make a more efficient use of a brownfield site”.

But Bruce McGill, chair of governors at Coppetts Wood Primary School, claimed plans for a four-storey block of flats would have an impact on the education and prospects of the 280 children who attend the school.But Bruce McGill, chair of governors at Coppetts Wood Primary School, claimed plans for a four-storey block of flats would have an impact on the education and prospects of the 280 children who attend the school.

Speaking at a meeting of the council’s strategic planning committee on Thursday, he said the scheme would worsen staff retention problems by building on land that had been used as a school car park for 40 years.Speaking at a meeting of the council’s strategic planning committee on Thursday, he said the scheme would worsen staff retention problems by building on land that had been used as a school car park for 40 years.

He also warned the “noise, dust and vibrations” caused by construction would be “incredibly disruptive” for children with autism and other special educational needs.He also warned the “noise, dust and vibrations” caused by construction would be “incredibly disruptive” for children with autism and other special educational needs.

Bruce added: “We need more social housing in Barnet, but that should not come at the expense of the education and life chances of some of the most vulnerable children in Barnet.”Bruce added: “We need more social housing in Barnet, but that should not come at the expense of the education and life chances of some of the most vulnerable children in Barnet.”

Meera Bedi, head of new build at council-owned company The Barnet Group, told the committee that a “robust demolition and construction logistics management plan” would reduce any impact on the school.Meera Bedi, head of new build at council-owned company The Barnet Group, told the committee that a “robust demolition and construction logistics management plan” would reduce any impact on the school.

She added: “Barnet Council would like to partner with this school and add social value, including a programme of education on the built and natural environment.”She added: “Barnet Council would like to partner with this school and add social value, including a programme of education on the built and natural environment.”

Under questioning from councillors, Meera said The Barnet Group would consider building an acoustic wall to lessen the impact of construction work. She added that the group had talked to the school about ways of reducing disturbance, such as carrying out the noisiest work during the holidays.Under questioning from councillors, Meera said The Barnet Group would consider building an acoustic wall to lessen the impact of construction work. She added that the group had talked to the school about ways of reducing disturbance, such as carrying out the noisiest work during the holidays.

Meera said that because the scheme was designated for 100% affordable housing, the development could not also provide replacement school car parking. But she added that a previous planning application had identified a playing field next to the school as being able to accommodate parking spaces and suggested the school could raise funds to develop the land.Meera said that because the scheme was designated for 100% affordable housing, the development could not also provide replacement school car parking. But she added that a previous planning application had identified a playing field next to the school as being able to accommodate parking spaces and suggested the school could raise funds to develop the land.

Council officers told the meeting a noise assessment would be carried out to decide what actions would be needed to protect the school and other properties. Councillors agreed to add an informative suggesting an acoustic wall should be considered before unanimously approving the application.Council officers told the meeting a noise assessment would be carried out to decide what actions would be needed to protect the school and other properties. Councillors agreed to add an informative suggesting an acoustic wall should be considered before unanimously approving the application.