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!