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‘No answers’ on where new social housing blocks on Highgate’s Hillcrest estate will go

08:00 15 July 2014

Hannah Liptrot, treasurer of the Hillcrest Residents

Hannah Liptrot, treasurer of the Hillcrest Residents' Assocation

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Hannah Liptrot, treasurer of the Hillcrest Residents’ Association, on why desperately-needed social housing should not be built on the Highgate estate.

In January, when Haringey Council wrote to Hillcrest residents and told us that they were planning to build new homes on the estate, we asked ourselves ‘Where?’.

Where in our already densely-packed estate could these new units be built? We really couldn’t see it.

Surely they weren’t thinking of concreting over the kids’ football pitch? Taking away the already inadequate car park? They couldn’t be thinking of building on the nature conservation area, could they?

Last week we sat before the council and their architects as they revealed their development plan for Hillcrest.

They have earmarked four areas on the estate: the football pitch, the car park and two parts of the nature conservation area.

We asked them how they could fit new buildings on any of these areas without destroying the estate for the 300 or so people who already live here, without taking away the space for kids to play, for residents to meet, for people to park, without destroying our treasured green spaces, the only garden we have, and encroaching on the many species of plants and animals?

There were no answers. Despite six months of surveys that will cost some £145,000 once complete, they still have no idea how the new buildings could be fitted in.

New buildings will inevitably change the look and feel of the estate and its historical character and will, of course, take up space where there is none to spare.

Despite the apparent unsuitability of the site, Haringey Council seems determined to press ahead with their plans, and so Hillcrest residents must wait and see what they come up with, to fit the square peg into the round hole.

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