What developers do in Highgate

Stomped around three developments in Highgate with the top team from Haringey planning department earlier today. After weeks of correspondence and rows – today’s walkabout perhaps clarified a few things – but not anything that should make anyone feel happy. For it would seem that unless a developer adds another floor / administers monstrous harm in terms of impact on neighbours – there is very little that Haringey can do that will deal with developers who given an inch take a mile.

Having looked at one development in Sheldon Avenue which looms large over its neighbours – the height the house has been built to is definitely not the height that they expected from the planning permission – or width or depth for that matter. On close examination – and with use of a scale – you might just detect that the proposed house would be higher but the earlier streetscapes show that the proposed house has the same height of eaves as the next door neighbour. I don’t know – but it seems that Haringey didn’t intervene when first called to see the increase in footprint, then didn’t act on other bits and pieces notified to them and now say that the ‘harmful impact’ isn’t great enough to win any appeal that the developer would make if they enforced.

Game, set and match to developer. Albeit they have issued a formal warning and are going to ask this particularly developer to come in for a ‘chat’. That might help for future – but not for the current situation there.

We, Cllr Rachel Alison and myself, will be asking for a range of actions to be taken – one of which will be to ask that Haringey get height specifications on proper drawings. Any decent architect would put on their drawing – do not scale off of this. I am not sure whether there is any liability on Haringey or not – but we will be enquiring further. Otherwise – I can’t see what there is to stop any developer expanding on plans regardless of planning permission. Of course, the officers are right in that the developer can always apply retrospectively for permission – but I think the harm is done because local residents expect Haringey to have a duty of care to ensure that what gets permission is that which gets built – and nothing more!

0 thoughts on “What developers do in Highgate

  1. I have just received the September issue of “the local magazine for local people” – the HIGHGATE HANDBOOK. On page 20 under the heading “Community News” Lynne comments yet once again on”Haringey Council’s – almost non-existent – enforcement on planning issues”. She writes “It’s the feeling of despair and hopelessness that gets me ..from the cases that are brought to my attention I would say that there are frequent cases where something is built which was NOT was given permission for. Once built the odds appear stacked in favour of the developer either winning a retrospective planning application – or it being decided that breaking the rules doesn’t really matter – and so no action is taken. It is only in the most extreme cases that breaking the rules actually results in the rules being enforced….”. Our MP and the Official Opposition – our Lib Dem Councillors – have repeatedly highlighted residents’ and council tax payers’ lack of confidence and growing cynicism about Haringey’s planning process.. even in designated conservation areas. As Lynne emphasises “.. clearly once something is built – it is much harder to put right breaches of planning permission… all the more important therefore that during the building process a close eye is kept on the work – and if worried neighbours express alarm at what is actually being built on their doorsteps, the enforcing authority acts fast and acts strongly. But sadly, from the anguished calls from local people, however many times Haringey is called to tell them that some developer is not sticking to the plan, their action is neither timely nor strong”.

    The democratic process is, increasingly, under threat … executive power – nationally and locally – is held in the hands of a “Cabinet” – its members drawn from the majority party. The official opposition in Haringey – our local ward councillors and our MP Lynne Featherstone – elected by their constituents to represent them – are all too often “stonewalled”, brushed aside or ignored. Local government by dictat .. no wonder there is a prevailing mood of despondency and hopelessness….

  2. Dear Lynne .. I am now 6,000 miles away .. and just wonder whether you or Bob or Rachel have had a chance to catch up with your day to day caseload .. I know the Conference (and I managed to catch some sessions on TV and on your website) was the focus of your attention last week … I sent you a copy of the “response” I received on Friday 25th from Mr Harris …per pro Niall … it was dated 14th September … it is yet another example of obfuscation, prevarication and defensiveness … some of it totally irrelevant or plainly wrong .. it is suggested that “if any further assistance is required” contact should be made with either Paul Tomkins or Myles Joyce – two of the very several other team leaders or middle management who have not been able to answer specific questions (e.g. the measurements, the actual size of the footprint of 1A and why it is bigger than the 70.5 sq metres specified on the plans passed by Mr Tomkins in November 2007 … and other similar factual queries.

    I believe the developer is quite confident of the outcome of the Public Inquiry on 6th October re unauthorised change of user. I believe Bob and Rachel hope to attend this. Please do let me know the outcome, together with any other comments whilst I am away. Quo vadis?

    Elizabeth Gromyko

  3. Lynne thanks for acknowledging my comments re enforcement (?) in Highgate.
    Look forward to your response by email. Thank you for your good wishes.
    Greetings to you and Bob and Rachel Elizabeth

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