Green Belt appeal for 400 new homes
St Joseph's Missionary Society has appealed to Barnet Council to take part of its site out of the Green Belt to pave the way for a massive housing development in Mill Hill.
Planning consultants argued at the public inquiry for the council's Unitary Development Plan (UDP) that around seven hectares of land, which make up the lower field of the college site in Lawrence Street, should not be subject to Green Belt restrictions.
The inquiry heard that the field, currently used for grazing horses, could accommodate around 400 properties if planning permission was ever obtained.
But John Turtle, chairman of the Mill Hill Preservation Society, said: "This would be a really severe blow, not only to Government Green Belt policy but Mill Hill because I reckon they could get two or three streets of housing in there."
Mr Turtle added: "It is an important part of the Green Belt and very important to Mill Hill's character. The college is saying it should never have been in Green Belt because it is a finger of land that sticks out and that it is not very good quality Green Belt. We say that's nonsense."
John Gould, consultant surveyor working for St Joseph's, said: "The main object of the exercise appearing before the UDP inquiry was to have an area of land taken out of the Green Belt. Anything beyond that is not in any way specific at the moment."
The missionaries are already considering leaving the Grade II-listed college unless permission is granted to build luxury flats on Green Belt land on the site to fund the college's re-development. A planning application for 44 flats will go to a public inquiry later in the year. The college has submitted another application for a 35-flat development.
BBC News, 07.04.2004