An application by EPR Architects for 652 homes in New Barnet has received over 900 objections on the local council’s planning portal
EPR is proposing 15 buildings between one and 10 storeys tall on the site of a former British Gas facility on Albert Road.
The Victoria Quarter scheme is being developed by Fairview New Homes and One Housing and would contain 35 per cent affordable housing, as well as 330m² of retail space, 110m² of community space and 392 car parking spaces.
Barnet Council consented a 305-home scheme by DLA Design for the site back in 2015, with amendments by Levitt Bernstein later being approved in 2017.
But EPR’s plans to ramp up the number of homes on the site have received 909 comments from people objecting to the plans, and just 23 comments in support of the proposals.
Criticism of the scheme has been led by local residents’ groups and taken up by Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers.
Objections have focused on the scheme’s height and bulk, its concentration of one and two-bedroom flats at the expense of three and four-bedroom homes, its alleged insufficient provision of outdoor space and the pressure extra residents would put on local services.
The Barnet Society, a local residents’ group which previously supported plans for 305 homes on the site, said the proposed scheme was a ‘massive overdevelopment of the site and not a design of quality’ in a blog post earlier this month.
‘Given that the green belt is 450m away, this will make the edge of New Barnet like a fortress, rather than a predominantly low-rise and permeable fringe,’ it added.
Last week, Villiers used a parliamentary session for questions to the housing secretary to ask whether ‘rejecting overdevelopment on brownfield sites like Victoria Quarter’ was important for ‘protecting the suburban environment’, however the minister declined to comment on the specific application.
But James Everitt, main board director at EPR Architects, hit back at the suggestion of overdevelopment. ‘Given the acute shortage of affordable housing across London, the site and its proposed development provide a much-needed and meaningful contribution towards London’s housing needs,’ he said.
‘Surrounded by a railway embankment, a gasworks site and the Victoria Recreation Ground, the scheme’s height and massing has been carefully considered in conjunction with officers at Barnet Council to ensure there is little impact on the surrounding residential areas.
‘With landscaping at its heart, our vision for a new suburban neighbourhood provides a coherent and legible network of green pedestrian routes, streets and public spaces of varying character,’ he added.
‘A series of courtyard blocks, pavilion buildings and formal mansion blocks are centred around a beautifully landscaped public square, which seamlessly unites the neighbourhood with the surrounding parkland to create a community-focused space for both new and wider residents.’
Fairview New Homes and One Housing have been invited to comment.