A debate on whether to allow a developer to add basements to homes planned for a row of garages has ended in deadlock.

M Yoav, of Rundell Partnership Ltd, wants to build two semi-detached houses on land currently occupied by garages to the rear of Rundell Crescent, Hendon.

The homes would be accessed via Alderton Way – a narrow road running behind a row of shops.

Barnet Council received more than 100 objections to the plans, including a petition with 92 signatures.

Opponents warned there was a risk of flooding, traffic congestion on the service road and “parking chaos”.

The plans were discussed at a meeting of Hendon area planning committee on Monday (November 18).

But despite one councillor speaking out strongly against the proposals, the committee could not reach a decision on the development – and chose to defer the item to the next meeting.

One local shopkeeper told the committee: “The alleyway where the proposed houses are being built – there is a Sainsbury’s, a post office, other shops and my shop.

“It is only 3m wide. The design of the alleyway dips where the houses are proposed and is constantly flooded. I have been there for 35 years – it is almost always flooded.

“Building a basement is shocking – I don’t know if people will be able to get insurance for these houses. It will not be fair on the people living there.

“This is a service road where vans come and go. There is no footpath. Even the rubbish lorries have to reverse back – they can’t turn around.”

The developer’s planning agent said an application for a practically identical scheme had been agreed by the committee in 2018.

He added that the current application involved adding a basement to be used as a “media room” and for “utilities and storage”.

The agent said: “The use of the site as two residential dwellings has already been approved, including access and ingress arrangements. Parking layout has already been approved by the council highways team.

“As identified in the planning officer’s report, the site is in an area that is not susceptible to sewer, groundwater or flood risk. It has been identified that the potential risk is very low.

“The proposal makes efficient use of the site without harming the amenities of adjoining occupiers.”

But Cllr Helene Richman (Conservative, West Hendon) said: “This is a hugely busy area, and there are constantly lorries trying to squeeze their way – they can barely get by.

“This is a slip road. There is no parking there; there is no stopping there, even. The lorries are going all day long. You can’t even walk there.

“There are two small garages, and there was an approval for them to be turned into tiny houses two years ago, and nothing has been done. Now there is an application to allow basements. I think this is entirely inappropriate as a development.

“There is a flooding issue – I am very familiar with that. We have constant trouble with the flooding in the area. To then have basements allowed into it can only exacerbate it.”

Two councillors voted in favour of the plans and two against, with the remaining three members abstaining.

As one of those abstaining was chairman Cllr Brian Gordon (Conservative, Edgware), the committee was faced with a choice of refusing permission or deferring it to the next meeting. Five members voted to defer, with two voting against.