Plans to build flats on land next to a hospital have sparked opposition from residents fearing the loss of “invaluable” green space.

A petition against proposals by Community Health Partnerships to build 130 homes at Finchley Memorial Hospital, North Finchley, has gained nearly 1,500 signatures.

If approved by councillors, the development will see four blocks between three and six storeys high built on publicly accessible open space between Granville Road, Bow Lane and the hospital road.

Opponents claim the plans go against an earlier pledge to retain the land for the community, pointing out there are few parks and other areas of space nearby for residents to enjoy.

Jennie Arthur, who lives in Bow Lane, said: “It would be a catastrophic loss of green space for this neighbourhood.

“I have two children, and we have used the space almost every day through the pandemic, and we used it before.

“We used it to try and get residents together – we have had drinks on there and a residents’ picnic. People travel to come here – it is quite good to ride bikes and scooters.

“My dad was an inpatient at the hospital last year. He was wheelchair-bound, and we used that space every day to take him out. It made such a difference to him. A lot of people on those wards have dementia, and it is helpful for them.”

Times Series: A site plan of the proposed housing schemeA site plan of the proposed housing scheme

North Finchley was identified as “an area of open space deficiency” in a supplementary planning document published by Barnet Council in 2018. The document states that improved access to open spaces is required in the area.

“Victoria Park is quite a distance, and there is not that much beyond that,” Ms Arthur said. “On the other side, there is Friary Park – but it is about a 40-minute walk away.”

When plans for the redevelopment of the hospital were submitted in 2009, a landscape and public realm strategy stated: “the grounds of the existing Finchley Memorial Hospital will be retained as a green space for the local community”.

Ms Arthur said that the development would increase traffic while removing green space that could mitigate air pollution. She added that while the developer claims the plans will increase biodiversity, this could be done without building on the site – for example, by planting trees.

A spokesperson from Community Health Partnerships said: “CHP has submitted an outline planning application to Barnet Council for up to 130 homes for NHS staff, on land that was previously occupied by Finchley Memorial Hospital. The proposals have been designed to directly support the NHS’s recruitment and retention strategy, which is why they are supported by several NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups. Each has confirmed strong demand exists for new, affordable homes among NHS staff.

“We recognise that this space has been used by the local community since the hospital moved. That is why we have pursued a landscape-led approach to this project, which retains improved green space for the community to enjoy, with pedestrian and cycling linkages retained. We have also focused on how to make the site more biodiverse, as it can make a much bigger contribution in the future. Our approach ensures NHS staff who move to the site can enjoy a high-quality environment to live in, and the existing community can continue to use the space as they do now. Everyone who uses the site today will be able to do so in the future.

“Ultimately, these proposals strike a balance between the need to deliver much-needed, high-quality homes for NHS staff alongside the need to deliver a scheme that is sensitive to the existing community. Should Barnet Council grant consent for this outline planning application, CHP will be undertaking further engagement with the local community as the planning process evolves.”

More than 660 objections and six letters of support have been sent to the council during the period of public consultation on the plans, which can be viewed by accessing Barnet’s planning portal and entering reference: 20/4343/OUT

The planning portal is available here:

The petition against the proposals is here: