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Protest over new flats in Golders Green

PUBLISHED: 17:13 16 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:31 07 September 2010

Father John Helm with members of the congregation

Father John Helm with members of the congregation

PLANS to build a five-storey block of flats next to a Golders Green church have met with a volley of protest from parishioners and clergy. The building would allow flat owners to look into St Edward the Confessor Church during weddings and funerals and co

PLANS to build a five-storey block of flats next to a Golders Green church have met with a volley of protest from parishioners and clergy.

The building would allow flat owners to look into St Edward the Confessor Church during weddings and funerals and could curtail use of the church organ.

The catholic church in Finchley Road has 800 parishioners - 377 of whom have signed a petition against the plans which are out for consultation.

Parish priest Father John Helm said: "It would be overpowering and totally out of key with the surroundings. We have a lot of music in our church which could be problematic for them. We'd have to keep within certain noise limits.

"They've got balconies looking in on church windows. They want to overdevelop the site. It certainly doesn't fit in with the church architecture. We have light streaming into the church - the flats block will change that."

The application is for 10 flats with eight parking spaces, a car lift and 10 bicycle parking spaces.

Angela Sheehan, 63, of Montpelier Rise, says in a letter to Barnet Council: "Will those who have paid huge sums of money to live in the flats be happy to live so close to the church? Will they share our love of the soaring organ and the sweet sound of the choir - not just on Sunday mornings but virtually every morning and evening? Will they love the laughter of scampering children and the animated chatter of adults making their way to and from the hall?

"Before long they will be asking for the 'noise' to be stopped and for all those peace-loving, law-abiding parishioners (and voters) to forgo their music."

Maida Vale parishioner Tony Padman said "It's a shame as it's one of the most beautiful churches in London. The organ won't be able to be played. It will disturb residents. It's an invasion of privacy.

"There was a proposal to have offices instead - that wouldn't be a problem."

Church parish council member Pat Danaher, 63, of Cleveland Gardens, said: "If we can see into the windows from the church, we may see things we don't want to see.

"People might not be able to get cars in to park due to the width being restricted.

"It's annoying they have come to build here with no consultation with the congregation."

Rob O'Hara architects, who designed the flats, failed to comment despite repeated requests from the Ham&High.

The funeral of Sir Peter Saunders, who produced the play The Mousetrap, was held at the church last year, and was attended by Sir Richard Attenborough.

The church is celebrating its centenary next year.

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