Neighbours have threatened legal action after plans to redevelop a health centre to include private flats were approved "unlawfully".

Barnet Council’s planning committee waved through plans to demolish and rebuild Temple Fortune Health Centre at a meeting last month.

Objectors had warned that the new four-storey block in Temple Fortune Lane, which would include 11 flats, would overlook homes and block out daylight.

One objector, Zahava Shore, has now instructed a solicitor to send a pre-action letter to Barnet Council, demanding that the application return to committee.

Ms Shore told the Ham & High that she was speaking on behalf of affected neighbours in Finchley Road, which is immediately behind the proposed development.

She said: “The solicitor found a legal point where in the planning officer’s report, he did not address the question of outlook.

“The ground floor, which is the health centre, is right on my boundary and because of the lie of the land, which slopes at the rear, what was a four-storey block of flats to Temple Fortune Lane is in fact five storeys to us at the rear.

“We will be very enclosed, so this is the reason we’ve gone to a solicitor because this was not addressed at the meeting, and it is a material point in planning.”

Ham & High: Temple Fortune Health Centre in Temple Fortune Lane will be redeveloped. Photo: GoogleTemple Fortune Health Centre in Temple Fortune Lane will be redeveloped. Photo: Google (Image: Google)

Questioned by committee members at the meeting, planning officers admitted the distances between the development and some neighbouring homes were shorter than those in the council’s guidance.

But they claimed that measures taken to protect privacy, such as windows glazed with obscure glass, meant the scheme was considered “acceptable”.

They added that an assessment showed the impact on light levels to neighbouring homes was “acceptable”.

But the pre-action letter to the council warns that these considerations do not directly address the issue of "outlook".

It claims that any decision to issue planning permission “will be unlawful and open to a successful judicial review” as a result.

Ms Shore said that objectors were waiting on the council’s response before making any final decision on judicial review.

Some objectors also plan to write to Barnet Council directly to express their dissatisfaction with the decision to approve planning permission.

At the meeting, two planning committee members had to leave the meeting due to their connection to the health centre, while one councillor was substituted in to replace a member who could not attend. Four members passed the scheme.

Ms Shore said: “How the meeting was conducted was unbelievable for something of this magnitude – it’s not a little extension or house.

“You’d expect a well-informed, full committee. It’s not that the committee wasn’t quorum, it was.

“They’re allowed to vote but they were not in our opinion qualified because they didn’t visit [the site]. It was democratic – but you’d expect more.”

Four councillors ultimately voted unanimously in favour of the scheme.

Barnet Council declined to comment on the latest developments, citing potential legal proceedings.