£250million Bishops Avenue development approved via premium planning pilot scheme

The Bishops Avenue was temporarily put on a heritage risk register. Picture: Polly Hancock

The Bishops Avenue was temporarily put on a heritage risk register. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

A Bishops Avenue development is the first project to be approved using Barnet’s controversial new fast track planning rules.

Aerial view of the proposed new development

Aerial view of the proposed new development - Credit: Archant

The development will consist of three super-prime residential blocks containing 43 flats on north London’s ‘Billionaires’ Row’ with an estimated value of £250 million.

The borough introduced the premium planning service, whereby applicants can pay additional charges to get their planning applications expedited, in April this year on a 12-month trial.

Householders and other applicants can pay a range of fees to speed the application process, including £350 to have their application registered and neighbours consulted within one working day and receive an officer’s recommendation within five weeks. Barnet’s tariff sheet also includes reference to “Additional and faster services” for an unspecified fee.

Critics have warned that the new scheme, which is run as a joint venture between the council and a private company, will create a two-tier planning system and marks a return to Barnet’s controversial easyCouncil days, allowing people to pay to jump the queue.

Six existing dwellings will be demolished to make way for the new development, which will contain two three-storey blocks and one four-storey block set in landscaped gardens.

Facilities will include reception and concierge services; residents lounge and bar; conference facilities; swimming pool; spa and gym facilities; residents cinema/ screening room; tennis court and pavilion; residents’ and visitor parking.

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Andy Goodchild, director of Wolff Architects, who are working on the project with developer Harrison Varma, said “The Bishops Avenue is one of the most prestigious roads in London and we are delighted to have designed and gained permission for a development of this size and quality.

“Having taken the project through planning services and achieved the consent, we are proud to have successfully offered this service to our client.

“This project is of great significance due to the scale and complexity of the brief and the process which was the first of its kind to be undertaken with the Local Authority.”

Wolff Architects have previously worked on several substantial mansions in north London, including one on nearby Winnington Road, which is on the market for £32 million. The multi-bedroom property has an indoor pool, spa, steam room, treatment rooms, underground parking, games room, gymnasium and cinema and is part of a development of three houses by the architect on the same plot.