Councillors opose early plans to build social housing on green land

Opposition councillors have turned the heat on Camden Council by unanimously voicing their opposition to the possibility of more homes being squeezed on to green land on a council estate.

A small patch of grass on the Broadfield Estate in Broadhurst Gardens, West Hampstead, could be earmarked by the council as an area to develop under its community investment programme.

Despite the proposals not yet having reached the stage of seeking planning permission, local Conservative councillors Roger Freeman, Andrew Marshall and Don Williams have all voiced their concerns.

The council promised this week to have more discussions with ward councillors and residents as a result of the feedback from its recent consultation.

Cllr Freeman said: “The council has reviewed all council owned properties to see whether there is space to build more homes and this is one area they have identified as having potential for development.

“It is a valuable and essential amenity space for the local residents and one of the few green spaces that our community can enjoy.”

Residents were asked for their input during a consultation last year, but according to Cllr Freeman “the overwhelming response was negative”.

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But not everyone is opposed to the prospect of green space being sacrificed for more homes.

Teofanana Andovo, a 30-year-old ex-resident of Broadfield Estate and a care worker, thinks that further housing would be beneficial to the local community.

She said: “I have clients who live here, some of whom have serious brain injuries and cannot find homes for themselves. There is a real housing shortage and more properties would be a good idea.”

A feasibility study is currently being undertaken by the council’s property service team to assess the future potential for development.

If the site is deemed suitable, further local consultation could take place before the proposals go to the council’s cabinet for a decision as early as July.

The often lengthy planning stage would only kick in if the proposals are passed by Camden’s Labour controlled cabinet.

A spokesman for Camden Council said: “We carried out consultation with residents and neighbours about this small site in May-June 2011. As a result of resident feedback from this consultation we are taking a more detailed look at the site and will be holding discussions with ward councillors and neighbouring residents shortly.”