Theresa Villiers has stepped up her eight year campaign to conserve the agricultural fields at Whalebones in High Barnet. These fields were owned by the noted local landscape artist, the late Gwyneth Cowing, and have formed part of her estate for many years.
After leading a successful fight against a planning application by Hill Residential to build 152 flats and houses on the fields in 2020, Ms Villiers was part of a coalition, including the Barnet Society, which persuaded a planning inspector to turn down an appeal from the developer in 2021.
Hill recently submitted an amended plan for 114 homes which will be considered by Barnet Council planning committee in the next few weeks. Ms Villiers is against this new application and is urging residents to submit their views to the consultation currently underway by Barnet Council.
Commenting on the Hill proposals, Ms Villiers said: “Whalebones has left us some of the very last agricultural fields in the London suburbs. As a local landmark, they are rightly protected by the Wood Street Conservation Area."
"Constructing over 114 new dwellings on these green fields is inconsistent with the character of agricultural land and the leafy, open nature of Whalebones. Reducing the number of units proposed from 152 to 114 is not a big enough change to remedy the problems with character which were an important reason why the council turned down the previous application."
“The scale and density of the proposals are inappropriate for an open greenfield site of this sensitivity and would amount to an overdevelopment. They would mean the loss of wildlife habitats which make an important contribution to local biodiversity. The site, together with neighbouring Whalebones Park, currently supports bats, badgers, and deer. Birdlife includes species on the Red List such as Grey Wagtails.”
“In an era where it is becoming ever more apparent that we must act to prevent the disastrous loss of habitats after a record decline in biodiversity, this is not the time to build over precious fields which have survived London’s expansion for so long. If the council is serious about its declaration of a climate and biodiversity emergency, I hope it will turn down this application.”
"I am encouraging my constituents to join the campaign to save Whalebones by sending objections to this application to Barnet Council. The deadline has been extended to 12th December, so residents have a few more weeks to make their voice heard."
Here's how to have your say over the future of the fields at Whalebones:
- Go to Barnet Council’s website www.barnet.gov.uk
- Click on the ‘Planning and building’
- Click on the ‘View or comment on a planning application’ box
- Click on ‘Basic search’
- At the bottom of the page enter 23/4117/FUL in the box and hit ‘Search’
- You should now see a summary of the planning application
- Click on ‘Comments’
- You can now enter your details, register your objection, and enter your comments.
Or you can write to the Planning Officer, including the application reference number 23/4117/FUL at the start of your letter:
Josh McLean MRTPI, Planning Manager
Planning and Building Control
2 Bristol Avenue
Colindale NW9 4EW