Friday, 08 June 2018 16:31

Whalebones: up to 180 homes plus green spaces

Written by Nick Jones
The master plan for redeveloping the Whalebones estate indicates the large field to be used for housing and the two smaller fields that would be designated as green spaces open to the public. The master plan for redeveloping the Whalebones estate indicates the large field to be used for housing and the two smaller fields that would be designated as green spaces open to the public.
A development plan for the woods and fields around Whalebones in Wood Street, Barnet, proposes the construction of between 150 and 180 homes to be offset by the creation of two new green spaces and footpaths open to the public.

A development plan for the woods and fields around Whalebones in Wood Street, Barnet, proposes the construction of between 150 and 180 homes to be offset by the creation of two new green spaces and footpaths open to the public.  Local residents were shown the plans at a consultation community workshop (7.6.2018) held by the developers, the Waltham Abbey housebuilders, Hill, and their architects Pollard Thomas Edwards.

Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, (right) who took part in the community workshop, with Mia Scaggiante from planning consultants Savills.Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, (right) who took part in the community workshop, with Mia Scaggiante from planning consultants Savills.Of the three fields that make up the Whalebones estate the largest – 7.6 acres – is opposite the Arkley public house in Wood Street.  It is this land –  extending south towards Barnet Hospital, in Wellhouse Lane – that would be redeveloped for housing with 55 per cent of the new homes in flats and the rest individual houses.

Two other fields, one currently being used as a smallholding, and a third, triangular-shaped field at the junction of Wood Street and Wellhouse Lane would become green spaces open to the public.

 


Two public footpaths would be created across Whalebones – one from the Arkley public house down to Barnet Hospital, and a second from Wood Street direct to the bus terminal at the hospital entrance.

Vehicular access to the new housing would be from Wood Street and the developers are proposing that a roundabout should be installed at the junction of Wood Street and Galley Lane together with a service road to the new estate.

As part of the redevelopment, there will be a new combined community building providing a new studio for the Barnet Guild of Artists and new premises for the Barnet Beekeepers’ Association, as well a safe area for their bee hives.

Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, who attended the workshop, told the Barnet Society that she had no intention of giving up her campaign to try to preserve all the woods and fields that make up the Whalebones estate.

“It is welcome news that the developers intend to create new open spaces and save the hedges and trees, but I would prefer the Whalebones woods and fields to stay as they, and I won’t be abandoning my struggle on behalf of local residents to protect the whole area.”

Whalebones is within the Wood Street conservation and the trees are already protected by tree preservation orders. Whalebones House, a grade II listed building, and its grounds, are privately owned and are not included in the development which is being undertaken by the trustees to the estate of the late Gwyneth Cowing.

Nearby residents were told of plans to redevelop Whalebones at a workshop led by Colin Campbell, head of strategic land, at builders Hill and Alexis Butterfield of architects Pollard Thomas EdwardsNearby residents were told of plans to redevelop Whalebones at a workshop led by Colin Campbell, head of strategic land, at builders Hill and Alexis Butterfield of architects Pollard Thomas EdwardsMany of the residents’ questions at the workshop related to the scale of residential development on the large 7.6 acre (2.2 hectare) field designated for new housing. This land adjoins the 3.9-acre Elmbank development where work by Linden Homes is nearing completion on the construction of 114 new homes in flats and houses.

Alexis Butterfield, of architects Pollard Thomas Edwards, said the plan is to provide between 150 and 180 homes with a split of 55 per cent flats and 45 per cent individual houses.

 


Forty per cent would be affordable housing either through shared ownership or at rates pegged to market rents.  Many of the Whalebones houses would be 2-3 bedrooms rather than the larger 4-5 bedrooms in houses on the Linden Homes estate.

Mr Butterfield said the developers were proposing to retain the established hedge along the Wood Street boundary, together with the trees covered by tree protection orders.  The two areas to be designated as green open spaces were considered to have the best heritage because of the high quality of the trees, and it was the largest of the three fields, opposite the Arkley, which was the least sensitive part of the estate where the new homes would be built.

The two new footpaths would be of value to the community: one from Wood Street through the green space to the bus terminal, and the second providing access directly to the hospital from Wood Street. The new community building would be accessed from Wellhouse Lane and would include a foyer entrance, and separate areas for the artists and beekeepers, kitchen, and toilets. The foyer could be used as a permanent display space by the artists.

In response to questions about the future of the smallholding where Peter Mason keeps poultry, both the architects and builders were adamant that the plot was too small for successful agricultural or horticultural use.  

“If a farmer was required to pay rent for this smallholding, the site would not raise sufficient income to sustain a business, whether it was pig, poultry or soft fruit. It just would not raise enough for a minimum income of £15,000 a year,” said Colin Campbell, head a strategic land for Hill.

Mr Campbell agreed that the late Gwyneth Cowing had left a letter saying the smallholding should continue “as long a reasonably practical”, but this stipulation was not in the will itself and it was no longer “reasonably practical”

To maintain the Whalebones estate exactly as it is at present, because there was not sufficient money to maintain it.

A similar workshop was held last year when Hill and their architects first asked for local input into their planning. A third workshop will be held later this year when Hill and their architects have made further progress with their plans.

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7 comments

  • Comment Link Friday, 08 June 2018 17:00 posted by Stan

    It doesn't look that bad at the end. Two new large public green spaces and housing only on the side near Elmbank development.

  • Comment Link Friday, 08 June 2018 17:49 posted by rob

    This sounds like a good compromise - desperately needed houses within walking distance to the tube - 40% affordable and effectively 2 new parks out of what is currently private, inaccessible land. I think this is well thought through and a good proposal.

  • Comment Link Friday, 08 June 2018 22:40 posted by Rick Osman

    Let’s wait and see how the plans are developed. Plus what Barnet really needs is social housing for rent.

  • Comment Link Saturday, 09 June 2018 06:41 posted by Jackie Massey

    Have these greedy people thought about the effect this will have on Barnet General hospital. It is already struggling trying to accommodate the amount of patients they have to see. It is over subscribed as it is
    Has anybody considered Peter and Jill who will loose their home ????
    I think it is a disgrace

  • Comment Link Saturday, 09 June 2018 11:11 posted by David King

    So what happens to the whalebones themselves?

  • Comment Link Monday, 11 June 2018 13:17 posted by Geraldine ODriscoll

    Does anyone really believe these properties will be affordable and for whom?

  • Comment Link Saturday, 16 June 2018 11:35 posted by James

    The Whale Bones to Barnet Museum !
    In my lifetime they have always been of interest to both residents and visitors .

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