Public inquiry is held into development in Gondar Gardens resevoir in West Hampstead

Members of the Gondar & Agamamnon Residents Association oppose development of the reservoir on Gonda

Members of the Gondar & Agamamnon Residents Association oppose development of the reservoir on Gondar Gardens. (From left) David Yass, Clare Durwood, Peter Sprinz, Hugh and Christine McCormick, and Abigail Poulard. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

A public inquiry has been held into the future of a West Hampstead green space that is a haven for slow worms and birds.

Residents have been campaigning for more than three years to stop the area, between Gondar Gardens and Agamemnon Road, from being turned into a development of 16 luxury houses.

In December, developer Linden Wates won an appeal against Camden Council’s decision to refuse planning permission to build on the reservoir site.

Linden Wates has now launched a second appeal against the council’s decision to ban building on Gondar Gardens, in front of the green space, which it is argued would further disrupt views. The scheme includes 28 flats and houses.

The three-day inquiry took place last week when a top barrister represented Linden Wates.

Evidence was also heard from Gondar and Agamemnon Residents’ Association (GARA).

David Yass, chairman of GARA, said: “The developer has used the planning appeal system to overturn refusal of the first scheme and they’ve established the right to build on the protected land.

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“If they win a second appeal, that would also establish that they can block views from homes and thereby destroy the openness from the street.”

He added: “Each party gave evidence at the inquiry. The developer used the same very aggressive barrister that they have used before.

“We are not in a position to use additional funds for a barrister again so we represented ourselves and cross-examined the developer ourselves.”

A final decision is expected in the coming weeks.

A spokesman for Linden Wates Developments said: “Clearly while the outcome of the inquiry into the frontage scheme at the Gondar Gardens site is still not known, we cannot really comment, other than to say we believe that the plan has real merit, which we have been highlighting through the inquiry process.

“We put together two alternative planning proposals after listening to issues raised. While consent has been granted on one, we really can’t speculate on the outcome of the inquiry and consequently can’t comment ast this stage on how development will go forward.”