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Fury at plans for historic Highgate hostel

PUBLISHED: 16:05 09 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:28 07 September 2010

Campaigners have slammed a decision that will see a much-loved Edwardian hostel in Highgate turned into a block of luxury flats. Furnival House in Cholmeley Park was built in 1916 to house women during the First World War and has since been used as a host

Campaigners have slammed a decision that will see a much-loved Edwardian hostel in Highgate turned into a block of luxury flats.

Furnival House in Cholmeley Park was built in 1916 to house women during the First World War and has since been used as a hostel for around 100 medical staff and students.

Now planning bosses at Haringey Council have given the green light for developer Rozbelle Ltd to transform the site into 15 luxury homes.

Highgate's Liberal Democrat councillor Rachel Allison said: "We are very disappointed with the decision.

"Residents are unhappy with the huge basement excavations and the plans do not fit with Haringey's unitary development plans which require these kinds of developments to supply a measure of affordable homes.

"The Whittington Hospital, which is just down the road, is crying out for accommodation for its staff.

"Why can't the developers provide homes for key workers?"

She also said the development of the luxury apartments would deepen the divide between Highgate and the rest of Haringey, making the village even more expensive and exclusive.

Residents who have campaigned against the development are concerned with the scale of excavations under the building, the over-development of the site, traffic congestion and the loss of light and privacy to neighbouring properties.

Barry Cohen, who lives in Parklands, said: "The Highgate Bowl, where our homes and Furnival House are located, is known to have subterranean streams.

"The planned excavations could lead to severe, or even disastrous, effects on its geological stability.

"We fear that this over-ambitious development will lead to massive congestion both during and after construction.

"This road is used by parents who pick up children at the two nearby schools every day."

The Highgate Society gave its consent for the proposals on the grounds they would not increase the ground level 'footprint' of the building.

The two-storey basement and top-floor extension would increase internal space by more than two thirds. Rozbelle were unable to comment at the time of going to press.

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