Councillors have thrown out plans for “high-quality” flats over concerns the development would not provide enough affordable homes.

Plans to build flats of up to nine storeys on the site of the former Marks and Spencer store in High Road, Wood Green, were considered by Haringey Council’s planning committee on Monday (October 8).

The development would have provided 121 homes – mostly one-bed flats – along with a children’s play area and ground-floor retail space.

Planning officers had given the green light to the proposals, claiming the “high-quality contemporary design” would “improve the visual quality of the local built environment”.

But councillors complained that the proportion of affordable homes – a quarter of the total – would be less than the borough’s target of 40 per cent.

Cllr Reg Rice, Labour member for Tottenham Hale, said: “In Haringey, we have a policy of 40 per cent affordable homes.

“Developers must understand when you come to Haringey now you must come much closer to, if not beyond, 40 per cent.”

Cllr John Bevan, Labour member for Northumberland park, objected to the size of the development, which he feared could lead to similar buildings being constructed along High Road.

But Emma Williamson, Haringey Council’s assistant director of planning, warned the Government’s Planning Inspectorate was likely to overrule the councillors.

She said: “Haringey policy (for 40 per cent affordable homes) is borough-wide, not on a site-by-site basis.

“My view is that reason would not hold up at appeal. I think you have already heard that we think this is a well-designed scheme.”


An independent review of the plans had concluded the 25 per cent level of affordable housing was acceptable.

The developer originally planned to provide just 9 per cent affordable homes but agreed to increase the amount despite the likely drop in profits this would cause.

Cllr Luke Cawley Harrison, Liberal Democrat member for Crouch End, pointed out that an unusual number of letters of support had been received from members of the public – 59 – compared to just seven objections.

He said: “I note there are 59 comments in support of this application, which does not normally happen. Most are the same supporting comment.

“I am wondering whether this is an orchestrated attempt to put in comments in support?”

Seven councillors voted to refuse the plans, with four members voting in favour of the development.