Responding to the announcement by the owners of Whalebones in High Barnet that they intend to seek planning permission to build new homes on this green field site, Theresa Villiers MP has confirmed her opposition to these plans and is campaigning to protect the land from development.
The 11 acre site between Wood Street A411, Wellhouse Lane and the new Elmbank development is owned by the estate of the late Gwyneth Cowing, who lived there for many years. It has been used mainly as agricultural land since her death. The executors of the estate recently briefed Theresa Villiers and others on an arrangement they have reached with the developer, Hill. The executors intend to seek planning permission for new homes and if this is granted, Hill will buy the land and take forward the development. The Executors have said that their reason for doing so is that the estate no longer has enough money to maintain the land.
Responding to the news, Theresa Villiers said “I am campaigning to protect Whalebones. The loss of these green fields to development would be damaging for our local environment. I have consulted constituents in the roads around Whalebones and there is strong opposition to building on Whalebones.”
“I recognise that the executors are seeking to engage constructively with local people and that they want to try to avoid development which is too dense or obtrusive. They also envisage that their scheme may enable some public access and parkland. While I welcome those indications from the executors, I believe that building on Whalebones, even within the constraints they have outlined, would still be a great loss to our community. So my goal continues to be to save the whole site”
“It is deeply regrettable that the site appears not to be green belt land. It is, however, part of the Wood Street conservation area, which gives it a degree of protection in planning law. There are also a number of measures in place to safeguard trees at Whalebones. I intend to work with local residents to try to save Whalebones and minimise any loss of green space.”
There are two community groups who have premises in Whalebones – the Barnet Guild of Artists and the Barnet Beekeepers. The executors intend that these groups will be given new premises in any development which takes place. They also propose to provide accommodation for the local farmer currently resident at Whalebones.
The Barnet Society have recently reported their views on this issue at: