Plans to build more than 150 homes on farmland near a listed building have been recommended for approval. 

Barnet Council’s planning chiefs say the benefits of the development planned for Whalebones Estate in High Barnet would outweigh the harm caused to heritage assets such as the Grade II-listed house known as The Whalebones. 

If approved, the Hill Residential scheme will provide 53 houses and 99 flats ranging from two to four storeys high, with 40 per cent classed as affordable by habitable room. 

The council received 830 letters objecting to the development and just eight in support. 

Opponents warned the scheme would be out of character, contrary to planning policies and have an impact on The Whalebones, among a range of other concerns. 

Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers wrote that the development would be “a serious breach of conservation area policy” and cause “unacceptable loss of wildlife habitats and biodiversity”. 

The Barnet Society and Hertfordshire and Middlesex Wildlife Trust also wrote to object to the plans in their current form. 

According to a report submitted by the applicant, the site – currently used for keeping poultry and growing hay – “is not an agriculturally viable unit and as a standalone unit, the site would not generate sufficient income”. 

Planning officers write in their report that “the package of public benefits is of considerable importance and would outweigh the harm that would arise through the impact on the setting of the designated heritage assets”. 

The benefits of the scheme include 1.7 hectares of new, publicly accessible open space, 165 additional trees and a purpose-built studio for artists and beekeepers. 

Officers add that the proposed development “accords with the relevant development plan policies”. 

Councillors will decide whether to give the scheme the green light at a meeting of the planning committee on Tuesday, October 13. The online meeting starts at 7pm. More information is available here.