Freedom of Information Request

217 - 223 High Road, East Finchley, N2

Received: 3 May 2024

BackgroundRe: 217 - 223 High Road, London N2 8ANOn 22 November 2019, Barnet council gave Leopold Properties, who own the land at 217 - 223 High Road, East Finchley, permission to build 20 flats, with a statutory requirement that building work should begin within three years of this date.A few days before the statutory deadline on 22 November 2022, a small hole was dug in one corner of the site and some of the litter cleared away. Nothing has happened since then. Leopold Properties applied to vary the design of the housing on 4 April 2022, with draft planning permission for the variation drawn up a few days later. The deed of variation was finally approved on 5 April 2023 and stipulated that work must begin within 3 years of the original permission, i.e. by 22 November 2022. No construction work of any kind had been started on the site by 5 April 2023, nor since..As of May 3 2024 no construction work has yet been started on the site even though planning permission was given four and a half years ago. It is a desolate wasteland, as depicted in the photograph taken in April 2024 illustrating an article in the May 2024 edition of The Archer. response to a query last month, a council spokesperson informed us that the 'Enforcement team has not received any claims that works relating to the development have commenced or any correspondence from the applicant stating that they have implemented the permission. As such, there is no need for the Enforcement team to inspect the site'.The spokesperson also said that if a 'random hole was dug into the ground then the view would most likely be that this does not constitute implementation'.Queries1. Does the council have a procedure to check that approved construction work has started by the end of the statutory three years after the date that planning permission was given? 2. If there is a procedure in place, could you please send a copy of it?3. If there is a procedure in place, do you have any records of any action taken after the 22 November 2022 deadline was missed that we could have sight of ?4. Even though no construction work had started when the deed of variation was finally approved on 5 April 2023, the council stipulated that it should be begun by 22 November 2022, the deadline for the initial permission. What is the legal status of this deed given that no construction work had started by 22 November 2-22 and has still not been started?5. Will you visit the site now that you have been made aware that construction work has still not started?6. In what circumstances, if any, can the duration of a planning permission be extended?7. We understand from the council that the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 covers situations when a site is 'adversely affecting the amenity of an area', which the spokesperson considered was a 'relatively subjective assessment and a matter of fact and degree depending on circumstances'. What evidence would you need and from whom in order to consider using this power?

Outcome / Documents

  • Response (some not held) - application/pdf - Download