Campaigners rally to fight ‘prison-like’ tower plans for former Haringey Magistrates’ Court

A 100-strong group of campaigners is rallying to fight plans for a seven-storey tower on the site of the former Highgate Magistrates’ Court, branding proposals “ridiculous” and “like a prison”.

Developer Bellway Homes is bidding to demolish the former court building and former Highgate police station in Bishops Road and build 89 homes.

But neighbours living near the ex-court building have lashed out at proposals for a landmark tower of flats on the corner of Archway Road.

Together they have formed the Highgate Action Group to oppose the plans.

Semi-retired Bunty Schrager, 66, of The Park, said: “If you look at the drawings, it looks like a prison. It’s too high. It’s absolutely not in keeping with anything in the area, and it breaks my heart that our area, which we are very fond of, can be violated like this.

“Obviously something has to happen, but not this!”

Bellway Homes, which has not yet submitted a planning application to Haringey Council, has reassured residents it has reduced the width and bulk of the proposed tower fronting onto Archway Road.

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However, the height has not changed and campaigner Stanley Myint, 49, said: “We are not objecting to the development of the magistrates’ court, we are objecting to this particular proposal. I just think it’s ridiculous. It’s totally going to spoil the nature of the neighbourhood.”

A Bellway Homes spokesman said: “Changes have been made to the proposals which we believe address many of the concerns raised with the evolving design. These changes included a reduction in width and bulk of the landmark element facing Archway Road.

“A detailed transport assessment demonstrates that the proposed residential development will generate less traffic movements than the previous site uses and any impact on other local infrastructure and services will be offset by appropriate financial contributions to both Haringey Council and the Mayor of London. Bellway Homes recognise the quality of the location and surrounding area – which we believe the proposals, to be submitted shortly, address in a sympathetic way to enhance the regeneration of this part of Highgate.”

A public meeting to discuss the plans will take place tonight (Thursday) at 7pm at All Saints Church in Church Road, Highgate.