High quality homes approved

By Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

A “high-quality” housing scheme has been approved by councillors – but none of the homes will be classed as affordable under current plans.

Property firm Montagu Evans has won permission to build 13 flats in a block ranging from three to six storeys in Ferry Lane.

Haringey Council planning chiefs said the development, on a small strip of land between Pymmes Brook and the River Lea Navigation, would provide “high-quality living accommodation” and “enhance” the river environment. But all the homes are likely to be sold at market rates after an assessment submitted by the developer found that even without any affordable housing, the scheme was not “financially viable”.

The plans drew 35 objections from members of the public, when discussed at a meeting of the council’s planning sub-committee on Thursday 9th July.

Speaking against the application, Cllr Ruth Gordon (Labour, Tottenham Hale) said: “As far as local residents are concerned, they must be sick to the back teeth of being surrounded by concrete towers going up all over the place. They need a bit of open space.

“On Hale Wharf, those flats were advertised in the South China Morning Post. They are being built for an investment, not for local residents. The same would apply to this.”

Laurie Elks, speaking on behalf of Save Lea Marshes, claimed the building would “ruin” views of nearby green space, calling it an “over development” and “bad urban planning”.

But Tom Cole, planning consultant at Montagu Evans, defended the proposals.

Mr Cole told councillors: “The development is of high-quality architecture that has been developed in close consultation with the council’s planning design officers, quality review panel and the local community.

“It will deliver around 60 jobs, which will include a new office for the Lee Valley Estate, in addition to the creation of space for small businesses and start-ups.”

Cllr Reg Rice (Labour, Tottenham Hale) asked why the developer was not planning to provide affordable homes.

Mr Cole said it was because of “the build costs of the scheme – as a result of its small and constrained nature, meaning it’s a complex build – the modest size of the site itself and the use value of the two residential units that are existing”.

But he added a review mechanism was in place, so if there is “an uplift in sales values, the surplus affordable housing could be secured”.

Under further questioning, Mr Cole said even a contribution towards affordable housing on another site would not be possible.

The developer agreed to pay around £123,000 towards other local improvements, including £50,000 on The Paddock open space.

When it came to the vote, four committee members voted to refuse and four to approve, with one abstention. Committee chair Cllr Sarah Williams (Labour, West Green) used her casting vote to approve the development.

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