PROPOSALS to build a major rail depot in Hornsey have been put on hold after the Government refused to give them the green light.

The site, off Hampden Road, was earmarked not only because it was large enough to accommodate the structure, rumoured to be 250 metres long and 13 metres high, but because the land is already owned by Network Rail.

It means the company has permitted development rights and has the option to by-pass normal Haringey Council planning procedures, if necessary.

But local Government secretary John Denham MP has blocked the plans following fierce opposition from Haringey councillors.

Haringey Council leader Claire Kober argued the build could damage its Haringey Heartlands regeneration project, destroy a conservation area and negatively effect the quality of life for many residents.

The Heartlands development has been touted as one of the biggest regeneration projects in the borough's history.

It includes a new road linking the east and west of the borough, new homes, shops, a public square and a secondary school.

Approval to deny a company's permitted development rights is almost unprecedented, used only where a development has raised serious concern to the public.

It means that Network Rail must now apply to Haringey for planning permission and have its case heard by its planning committee.

Ms Kober said the council was "very pleased" by the minister's decision.

She said: "We are very pleased we have been listened to. A development like this requires proper consideration by the council and the community and the use of permitted development for this purpose is not acceptable. This would prevent the local community having any say at all.

"I am also extremely concerned to ensure that the long-standing regeneration of Haringey Heartlands is properly considered in any subsequent application for planning permission as a development like this could have grave consequences for the whole community."

Among the councils concern was also a loss of trees to make way for car parking for train staff that would also diminish the aesthetics of the area and put off potential buyers.

There would also be a negative impact on an ecological corridor and on the bio-diversity value of the existing vegetated embankment, the council said.

The proposed depot would house — and act as a repair workshop for — longer, more modern trains as part of a £5.5 billion Thameslink improvement programme to improve rail travel.

It was hoped the depot would become one of just two hubs covering all trains in the South West.

Netork Rail initially jhoped the build would be up and running by 2012, with construction taking 18 months to complete.