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Career Studies College baffled by Barnet Council's planning refusal for student flats in Edgware
Managers at an Edgware college have been left baffled by Barnet Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for new student accommodation.
Career Studies, set up in a former community centre in Manor Park Crescent, wants to convert part of the existing building into 30 new flats.
Despite being recommended for approval by officers, a committee of councillors threw out the proposals at last night’s area planning meeting. The college has already announced plans to appeal the decision.
The controversial application attracted a petition of 106 signatures from angry neighbours who said the development would cause increased traffic, parking problems and nuisance noise.
A college representative, who did not want to be named, was left confused by the council’s decision.
He said: “We thought that local people would be supportive of higher education. We are educators - we take young people and give them professions. We take adults and upgrade their skills - we think this could raise the whole area.
“We don’t see why a business that is doing well would harm the neighbours. We think it would help them.”
College parent company BMI Holdings, based in the British Virgin Isles, took over the former Brady Maccabi Community Centre more than 18 months ago.
The company outbid a community group that wanted to retain the building for local residents.
Last night’s decision was welcomed by Debbie Wells, of Manor Park Crescent, who has led a campaign against the plans.
The 52-year-old former computer programmer said: “It was totally unexpected. We were delighted with the decision but the war is not over – we have to fight the appeal.
“We don’t object to them running a business but we don’t feel they’ve got the community interests at heart.”
Several objectors to the current plans, most of whom live in Grove Road and Manor Park Crescent, remain hopeful that the building will revert back to a community hub, which they feel will be less disruptive.
Career Studies plans to appeal last night’s decision and is refusing to give up its fight to have the development built.
A representative said: “We have opened the building for the community but no one has ever come.
“Students don’t have cars like the community groups did and we are open shorted hours than the community centre was.
“We brought the neighbours in for consultations and took into consideration their worries.
“All we want to do is to run a successful business.”