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HomeBusinessCouncil approves planning for amalgamation of historic shops in Northwood

Council approves planning for amalgamation of historic shops in Northwood

Hillingdon Council has approved a planning request to allow the amalgamation of three historic shops on Green Lane in Northwood.

The application will see the combination of 34, 36 and 38 Green Lane in a single carpenter workshop.

However, the move has faced opposition from local residents with 66 people signing a petition opposing the granting of the application and a representative of the Northwood Residents Association (NRA) speaking at the planning meeting where the shops’ fates were to be decided. In a presentation to the Hillingdon Council planning committee, officers told councillors that the move would lead to the loss of 129m of retail space.

The officer also explained that although there would be internal changes to the building but not be changes to the external shop front. He added that there was “no policy direction against shop amalgamation,” and he had found no solid reason why the council should refuse the move.

The three shops sit on a historic part of Green Lane’s retail parade known as The Pavement. They were some of the first retail spaces built in the area and are 100 years old.

It was for this reason Trevor Sherling from the NRA argued that the plan should be rejected. He told the council in his representation that “this proposal does not enhance the retail offering in Green Lane and damages a heritage asset and so planning permission should be refused”.

He argued that the workshop did not fit with the rest of the retail offerings on the road and said that the plan “fails on every count to protect the heritage asset.” Losing three established shops, including a charity shop, opticians and pizzeria, would also be detrimental to the area as a whole, he continued.

Finally, Mr Sherling said that residents believed approving the application could set a bad precedent for the rest of the street. His principal concern was centred around the applicant’s ownership of the rest of the shopping block from 24-38 Green Lane.

Approval could lead to similar applications in the future which could have a cumulative effect on the area as a whole. Although councillors expressed sympathy for the NRA’s position the council’s legal advisors said they did not have the power to reject an application based on speculation.

The application had previously been rejected due to concerns around fire safety with the historic site not having enough space in the rear for fire engines to reach the buildings.

However, council officers said that firefighters could access the shops within a two-metre margin of the limit and that was judged to be an acceptable discrepancy.

The application was carried with 6 voting for approval and 1 against.