Barnet Council tenants left ‘panicked’ over Childs Hill estate demolition

The Graftons in Childs Hil, which are set to be demolished to make way for a new development. Pictur

The Graftons in Childs Hil, which are set to be demolished to make way for a new development. Picture: Sam Volpe - Credit: Archant

Council tenants in Childs Hill are “panicked and scared” after being told their homes could be demolished to make way for new flats.

Barnet Homes, the Barnet Council-owned company that manages social housing in the borough, is consulting more than 80 households on the 1960s-built Hermitage Court estate over the plans.

It is proposing to replace 2 to 10 Hermitage Lane – including the four bungalows known as the Graftons, Eurofoods convenience store, two further residential properties and a lock-up garage – with a five-storey block of flats.

The new building would have 46 flats. 12 of these would be social housing and seven offered for shared ownership.

The remaining 27 will be sold.

Rent for the new social housing would be capped at 65 per cent of market rates – more than tenants in the affected homes pay now. The council would help rehouse those affected, but couldn’t say if they would help existing tenants return to the estate.

Labour councillor Anne Clarke said: “People are really unhappy. They say there’ll be affordable housing in the block, but that’s not going to be affordable for the people being moved out.”

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A neighbour who lives in the adjacent Hermitage Court building told the Ham&High: “These tenants are vulnerable and they depend on each other. Moving them is like splitting up a family. What’s angered us is the council’s approach.” She claimed: “These people were just told their homes are going to be demolished. They were told it’s just going to happen even though they don’t have planning permission. They weren’t told their rights.”

Eurofoods owner Mr Shiva said: “We’ve had a feeling this was in the works for some time. It’ll be the end of this business, which is really a community service.”

A Barnet spokesman said: “Barnet Homes has recently been carrying out a consultation with residents about the proposals for new homes on the site of The Graftons, and is very keen to hear people’s views. This has included a public meeting involving nearby residents from Hermitage Court which neighbours the site.” Open-Door Homes, a subsidary of Barnet Homes, is set to hold a full planning consultation before making a decision.