Objections to “outrageous” plans to bulldoze a historic building and replace it with an 11-storey tower block were ignored.
Barnet Borough Council has sparked fury after officers rubber stamped proposals to demolish the former British Newspaper Library, in Colindale Avenue.
The new buildings will provide 395 flats and a range of blocks between four to 11-storeys tall.
Under the plans, the flats will sit alongside new shops and cafe and parking spaces will be created.
Officers rather than councillors typically take decisions when there are few or no objections to a planning application – even though at least 20 people voiced their concerns in a consultation.
Labour GLA member for Barnet Andrew Dismore believes the scale of the development means councillors should have been given the chance to debate its impact at a planning committee.
Mr Dismore, who is standing for MP in the next general election in Hendon, said: “I am astounded that such an important development has been decided by officers on their own delegated authority and not submitted to the planning committee, as it should have been.
“An application of this magnitude should have gone to elected councillors on the planning committee to decide, where local people may have their voices heard.
“I am gobsmacked. They aren’t playing fair with people at all.”
The newspaper archive contained 750million newspapers spanning more than 300 years, but it was moved to West Yorkshire in November 2013.
The Newspaper Reading Room was officially opened in Colindale Avenue in 1932, although a repository had been based at the site since 1902.
Mr Dismore added: “The overdevelopment of Colindale is a major issue in the community, and this decision, which does not even give residents a minimal opportunity to have their say and councillors the opportunity to represent their residents’ interests to the committee, is an utter disgrace.
“It can only be described as an abuse of delegated authority. It's outrageous.”
The Times Series has attempted to contact both Barnet Borough Council for a comment.