A plan to build 130 homes on an area of green space near a hospital has been recommended for approval.

Councillors will decide this week whether to give the green light to Community Health Partnerships’ plan for four blocks of flats at Finchley Memorial Hospital, North Finchley.

Barnet Council received 677 objections to the proposals from residents, according to a planning report. A key concern was that they would lead to the loss of a “heavily used open green space which is a valuable amenity resource for the local community”.

But the council’s planning officers claim in the report that the benefits of the scheme would outweigh the harm caused by the loss of the open space.

The four and five-storey development - planned for land south of Granville Road and east of Bow Lane - is designed to be used by NHS staff and healthcare workers, including those on lower pay bands.

The planning report admits that as part of the hospital development that won approval in 2010, the area to the north of the hospital buildings was to be retained as a publicly accessible open space.

It also states that the proposals run contrary to a council planning policy protecting open space from development.

But the report adds that a planning brief for the site adopted in 2007 included a “clear policy acceptance” that the space to the north of the hospital site “could have been developed to enable the public and health related clinical benefits arising from new hospital”.

Officers claim this “established the acceptability of built form on this part of the site at that time (albeit low rise)”.

The report says officers “have taken into account the exceptional circumstances associated with the need to ensure the health service is able to retain staff to ensure adequate healthcare in the local area”.

The application for outline permission will be considered at a meeting of Barnet Council’s strategic planning committee on Thursday.

More details are available here: https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=703&MId=10826