1,100 join battle to stop lorry invasion of Parkland Walk nature reserve
More than 1,000 people, including Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West, have joined the fight to stop lorries invading a quiet nature reserve.
Heavy-goods vehicles (HGVs) weighing 26 tonnes would drive along a stretch of the Parkland Walk trail under plans to turn a former railway cottage in Highgate into a luxury seven-bedroom home.
The proposal has prompted more than 1,100 people to sign an online petition launched by conservation group the Friends of Parkland Walk (FOTP) to stop delivery lorries from using the walkway as an access route. More than 300 people have also written formal objections to Haringey Council.
Labour MP Ms West wrote to say: “FOTP are understandably concerned at the suggestion that Haringey Council may waive these rights and protections at the expense of the nature reserve and the right to public access.
‘‘There is also a real fear that this would create a precedent for other properties adjoining the walk. FOTP play a vital role standing up for this beautiful nature reserve and I fully support the objections they have raised.”
A historic covenant bans vehicles from accessing the cottage in Francis Place, which does not back onto a street and is surrounded by the woodland reserve. But that agreement could now be broken to allow investment banker Sebastian Eiseler to redevelop the house off Holmesdale Road, and dig a basement underneath.
He has already won planning permission to convert the cottage.
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But he now needs to gain approval from Haringey Council for his construction management plan, which would see lorries drive through the walkway over a four-month period.
Council officers usually refrain from commenting publicly on planning applications until the planning committee is due to rule on an application. But several have raised concerns about the potential threat to the nature reserve.
Nature conservation officer Ian Holt wrote: “[The plan] is inadequate with regard to ecology, public health and safety, public amenity and the possible/probable damage driving 26-tonne lorries across what is essentially a public path and cycleway will cause.”
Mr Eiseler did not respond to a request for comment before the Ham&High went to press.