Councillors have given the green light to a new residential development – despite fears it could threaten a local business.

More than 200 people objected to plans to build a two-bed flat and commercial space on a yard next to Crescent Hardware – which sells goods ranging from DIY products to Christmas Trees – in Crescent Road, Muswell Hill.

Those opposed to the development feared it would put the shop’s future at risk because it currently uses the yard as storage space.

They also raised concerns about the proposed scheme’s impact on the surrounding Victorian buildings.

But the applicant claimed to have addressed the concerns – and councillors pointed out the borough needed to meet ambitious new housing targets.

The application was heard at a meeting of Haringey Council’s planning sub-committee on Monday (April 8).

Speaking on behalf of local residents, Michael Solomon Williams said councillors were deciding on a “fundamental issue of public health versus private wealth”.

He said the gap provided by the yard presented a “material buffer” between two different styles of building.

Mr Solomon Williams added that the development would lead to more carbon emissions because the hardware store prevented local people from having to travel further afield to buy products like Christmas trees.

Cllr Nick da Costa, Liberal Democrat member for Alexandra ward, added: “The impact of this on the viability of the shopping arcade, neighbouring properties and the local community outweighs the benefit of additional housing.

“While the increase in commercial space is negligible, there are a large number of empty properties nearby.”

Applications to build on the site had previously been turned down – but planning officers said the applicant, Buckthorne Investment, had addressed the previous reasons for refusal

A spokesman for the applicant said: “We carefully designed the scheme so it sits comfortably within the environment and we have respected the gap between the different styles of properties.

“We have taken on board concerns about there being a garage use opposed to the shops on the ground floor.

“We have taken on board the appearance of the upper floors and taken care it does not impact on the privacy or outlook of surrounding residents.

“There is nothing in our proposal that prevents the continued use of the hardware store. He has storage at the back, in the same way as the rest of the terrace have storage at the back of their terraces.”

Council officers said the use of the yard space was a private matter between the owner and lessee of the yard, and one the council could not protect.

Their report states: “Government guidance outlines that the planning system does not exist to protect the private interests of one person against the activities of another.”

John Bevan, Labour member for Northumberland Park, said: “Part of the big picture is there are 3,000 people in Haringey in temporary accommodation, 10,000 families on the housing waiting list and a London Plan that gives us a set number of properties we should build on small sites like this.

“I would like to ask the officers what is the number of properties that we have been instructed to build on small sites like this?”

Planning officers replied that the borough had to build 1,900 new homes every year, with 626 of these on small sites of between one and 25 properties.

Seven members of the committee voted in favour of the application, with one voting against and one abstention.