May 21 2013 Latest news:
by Tim Lamden
Monday, July 9, 2012
Owners of a historic tin tabernacle insist they have no alternative but to knock it down after losing two bids to redevelop the site in the face of opposition from residents.
The Samaritans had hoped to convert Shaftesbury Hall, in Herbert Road, Bounds Green, into offices and four two-bedroom flats.
But after Haringey Council’s planning committee rejected the scheme for the second time running last year, in light of opposition from local residents, the charity appealed to the planning inspectorate, which refused the application last month.
Nigel Thorne, chairman of the Enfield, Haringey and Barnet Samaritans, described the latest refusal as “incredibly unfortunate”, explaining that the scheme had been part of a deal with a local developer who had agreed to build the Samaritans’ facilities free of charge.
Mr Thorne said the charity would now have to take on the development themselves and would be submitting a new planning application in the coming months to bulldoze the hall and replace it with a new building covering a “smaller footprint”.
It will have a call centre run by volunteers, a community centre and an office.
He added: “It’s been butchered over the years by what has been done to it. We wanted to refurbish the hall but that is not financially viable.
“No one would be foolish enough to invest in a hall that has little or no value. We have no alternative but to knock down Shaftesbury Hall because it will fall down otherwise – it is in such a bad condition.”
Resident Ian Greenslade, of Richmond Road, said the hall’s neighbours were “pleased” by the planning inspectorate’s latest decision.
He said: “There are five Victorian streets here and if we hadn’t got together and written our objections, we would have been stuck with an eyesore. The Samaratians want to pull the hall down but we hope they will refurbish it and bring it back to its former glory.”