A case of stolen identity has been ruled out in an investigation into a planning application that received an “unusually high number” of positive comments.

Barnet Borough Council received complaints from some residents who believed their names and email addresses had been used to submit fraudulent responses to plans for nine flats in Oakleigh Road North, Whetstone.

It has now emerged that there was a “misunderstanding” and emails were not sent fraudulently – but the council is still investigating the matter.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “We are investigating the unusually high number of positive comments received on this planning application.

“The proposed scheme is considered unacceptable on a number of grounds, including its detrimental impact on the appearance of the local area and the amenities of neighbouring residential occupiers.

“As such, the planning application is being refused under delegated powers.”

The plans proposed to demolish an existing four-storey building to develop the flats as well as a ground floor commercial unit, refuse facilities, a cycle store and basement parking for 14 cars.