Search

New owner erects hoardings at Highgate Magistrates Court to keep squatters out

17:00 08 May 2014

The former Haringey Magistrates Court being boarded up and fenced in. Picture: Polly Hancock

The former Haringey Magistrates Court being boarded up and fenced in. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Anxious neighbours have been reassured about the future plans for the former Highgate Magistrates’ Court after builders with pneumatic drills erected hoardings around the derelict building this week.

Workers erect the hoardings at the former court house. Picture: Polly HancockWorkers erect the hoardings at the former court house. Picture: Polly Hancock

The former court in Bishops Road closed its doors in December 2012 and has lain empty ever since.

But last week workmen boarded up windows, erected a fence and started drilling, angering residents who were concerned that demolition work was being carried out without their knowledge.

Crime novelist Matthew Baylis, 42, of Bishops Road, said: “I’m not one of those mad nimbys who doesn’t want anything to happen. I can see it’s inevitably going to be turned into flats, it’s what everyone jokes about.

“But obviously there has to be a consultation and that doesn’t seem to have taken place. How tall is it going to be? And from a sheer logistical point of view, how long is it going to take?

“I rather like the building, so if it is demolished I think it’s a shame. It has lots of beautiful green marbling on the windowsills. There’s something quite interesting about it.”

But new owners Bellway Homes, who exchanged contracts on the property on April 28, said the only work carried out was to erect hoardings to secure the court site.

The derelict court has previously been targeted by squatters and the legal process to evict them is understood to have delayed the sale of the building.

A spokesman for Bellway Homes said: “Following recent completion on the sale, we have erected fencing to secure the site.

“Following this, we were informed that there was some concern that we may have began developing on the site prematurely.

“Residents and interest groups can be reassured that we are simply looking to take precautions to safeguard the site and have not begun development work.

“They will be fully consulted during the planning application process where we will welcome all comments and feedback on our proposed plans.”

Bellway Homes is in pre-application talks with Haringey Council about plans for the site, which the local authority suggested could be turned into a hotel following a land assessment in January.

However, it is understood that Bellway Homes developments usually mix residential and commercial units, or are purely residential in nature.

The company is one of the UK’s largest house-builders.

Before preliminary works could take place, the owners would need to apply for conservation area consent as well as planning permission, as the court sits in the Highgate Conservation Area.

Haringey Council enforcement officers visited the site on Friday to check that works were not in breach of the conservation area guidelines.

Michael Hammerson, vice-president of the Highgate Society, said the association was not aware that works had begun.

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 17:00
Alain de Botton. Picture: Vincent Starr

He wrote the book The Architecture of Happiness, but now celebrity philosopher Alain de Botton is making Hampstead residents unhappy with plans to build a modern three-storey hotel in the centre of the village.

Yesterday, 15:50
Pupils at Highgate School celebrate their A-level results last year. Picture: Polly Hancock

A handful of Camden, Barnet and Haringey schools are ranked among the best 100 schools in the country for 2014 A-level results.

Yesterday, 15:10
Charles Salmon QC said it was impossible for mothers with children to park on visits to the Heath.

A top barrister living on the edge of Hampstead Heath has urged Camden Council to re-think parking restrictions.

Yesterday, 13:20
Cllr Theo Blackwell.

Council tax is set to be increased in Camden for the first time in six years.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

The latest North London property news and features straight into your inbox.

Other Emails:
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

The robot is an extension of the surgeon’s arms – it’s not doing anything independently.

The rise is levelling off but we can’t be complacent, say researchers.

The lollipop man has been unable to return to work since the attack.

Finding the jet remains a priority for Malaysia.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder