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Plans to build 149 homes on site of former Homebase store in Barnet approved

Plans to build 149 homes on the site of a former Homebase store in North Finchley have been approved – after two previous proposals were refused.

Developer Taylor Wimpey had originally submitted plans for 307 homes at 679 High Road, and then for 250, but both schemes were refused because of their scale.

After being modified a second time to improve “daylight, sunlight and overshadowing” issues, the latest plan comprises four blocks of up to four-storeys in height, with 112 flats, and 37 mews and town houses of up to three storeys.

The flats include 53 one-beds and 59 two-beds, while the houses consist of 27 three-bed homes and ten four-beds.

There will be 38 car parking spaces and private amenity space across the site totalling just over 2,400 square metres.

The plan states that each dwelling will be provided with private outdoor amenity space of either a balcony or garden.

The proposal put forward two options for affordable housing, with either 22 shared ownership units and a payment of £265,000 towards more affordable housing elsewhere in the borough, or a payment of £2million but with no on-site provision.

Upon approving the scheme councillors on a planning committee chose the £2m option, as they said they were not assured 22 shared ownership homes was an adequate provision of affordable housing.

According to Barnet Council policy, new developments of ten or more homes should provide a minimum of 35% affordable units whenever possible.

Case officer Josh McLean, who presented the proposal to the committee, said the option councillors chose equated to “34 social-rented units” being provided elsewhere. This represents a provision of 22%.

Committee member Claire Farrier was also concerned about the proximity of the homes, with some having between 15 metres and 20m between them.

Cllr Farrier said: “The distance between the houses is quite a lot less than our recommended 21m.”

Jon Murch, the planning agent for the application, said this was due to one the roads the site faced, Rosemont Avenue, gradually curving inwards, meaning one side of the plan was narrowed.

Committee chair Nigel Young asked for the 3m-high boundary walls between some of the homes to remain in perpetuity at this height to prevent future owners of the properties changing this aspect.

Cllr Young said: “That 3m wall is going to be quite a crucial element in ensuring privacy is maintained given that properties at ground floor will be quite close.”

Jon said they would be “perfectly happy” to make this “additional condition”.

When it came to the vote, the development was unanimously approved.