Conservation Area Advisory Committee

John Crompton continues to be the Association representative on the CAAC.

The CAAC is keen to recruit new (and hopefully younger) members so if anyone is interested please contact. Most of the business of the Committee is conducted by email so there is very little commitment in terms of evening meetings.

Shops and town centre generally

Muswell Hill seems to have bucked the national trend in the last couple of years because although we have lost some shops and restaurants, many new ones – and of a high quality – have taken their place. This is clearly an anxious time for the high street for several reasons and the advice from the Association is clear – we urge everyone to use our local businesses or risk losing them.

New residential developments

The past year has probably been characterised by most of the planning applications being for small scale extensions to existing properties rather than the provision of new residential units.

An exception to this were two applications to add a storey onto the roof of Whitehall Lodge, the much admired 1930s block in Pages Lane, to provide additional flats. Objections to the applications were made by the Association and many individual members and other local residents. What was notable however was the fact that there were also objections from many other parts of the country and around the world. Some contained an enormous amount of well researched detail about the architectural significance of Whitehall Lodge and how this would be ruined by building on the roof. It is good to be able to report that both applications were refused by the Council. However, an appeal has been lodged against the more recent decision. When the appeal is formally set up the planning inspector will automatically be supplied with all the objections which were made earlier.

The Association objected to two applications to build properties in back gardens in Tetherdown and Shakespeare Gardens. Both were refused permission by the Council. Back garden development is inevitably intrusive and unwelcome and the Association has advised the Council that we would like to see the Council to continue to have the necessary powers to turn down such applications in the new local plan.

Other schemes

During the year we became aware of a proposal by Highways England to demolish the disused railway bridge at the Dukes Avenue entrance to Alexandra Park. This is one of over 130 disused railway bridges and tunnels in the country which Highways England has earmarked for demolition or infilling on the grounds that they are unsafe. Haringey Council has yet to receive the details of what is proposed in the Dukes Avenue case. When the application is received it will be subject to scrutiny by the Association and other interested groups who will be looking for a detailed account of the defects in the structure and what alternatives have been considered to demolition in whole or part and also the proposals for landscaping .

Planning policy

Haringey is working on the first draft of its new local plan and this should be published for consultation at the end of the year or early next. This is later than expected which is due to the fact that there was a delay in the publication of the London Plan –the master planning document for the capital-so that relevant policies could be adjusted to ensure that these took account of the needs of a post-pandemic London.

Nationally there have been a number of tweaks to the planning system in recent months (indeed it can be difficult to keep track of all the changes) and there are more to come. Examples of the changes already made are to the system of use classes where the revisions are designed in particular to make it easier for uses to change in high streets. This now includes changes to residential.

John Crompton, Secretary/CAAC/Alexandra Palace Statutory Advisory Committee