Renewed fight to save Highgate Bowl green space from developers
Determined Highgate residents have vowed to see off a renewed attempt to construct three luxury homes on a prized piece of green space.
Developers have lodged an appeal against Haringey Council’s decision to reject an application to build on the sloping site known as Highgate Bowl, at the back of the High Street.
Under the proposals, which sparked protests last year, Highgate Garden Centre would be bulldozed and three modern, five-bedroom homes would be built on the 11 acre site.
Former Highgate Society chairman Gordon Forbes said: “This valuable piece of open land is essential to the landscape of Highgate and any building on it has been consistently opposed by the people of Highgate.
“A change to residential use of this piece of land will destroy its open and accessible character forever.”
The landowner’s agents have argued that the garden centre is no longer viable and the site’s use must be changed.
But residents fear the development will set a precedent which will inevitably see more buildings erected on the valuable grassland.
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“The problem for the owner of the garden centre is that the land is very steep sloping and is almost invisible from the High Street,” said Mr Forbes.
“We sympathise with him about that, but as far as we know the geography and topography are the same as when he bought the land.
“The Highgate bowl since 1957 has been under attack as various developers try to build on it. This is the tenth application.”
The appeal comes as the government debates controversial plans to reform planning controls by introducing a presumption in favour of development.
Mr Forbes added: “It is not clear whether the current debate going on in Parliament about the national policy framework might affect this particular battle. But we are inclined to believe the official advice that it will have no affect at this stage.”
Agents for the development did not wish to comment.