Campaigners are planning to take Barnet Council to court over a decision to allow flats to be built on a "precious" area of green space.

Finchley Memorial Action Group are unhappy after plans for 130 homes on land in North Finchley that had been earmarked for public use were approved.

The council granted Department of Health and Social Care-owned Community Health Partnerships (CHP) outline planning permission last June for the scheme at Finchley Memorial Hospital.

Designed to provide homes for NHS workers, it will see four blocks ranging from four to five storeys built on green space south of Granville Road and east of Bow Lane

The approval came despite 677 written objections from local; many of whom stated the land is well used and lies in an area already lacking in green space. A further key objection was that the scheme would break a pledge made when the hospital redevelopment was approved in 2010 to retain the area as a publicly accessible open space.

Now, campaigners are mounting a legal challenge to the plans. Finchley Memorial Action Group claims the council failed to take into account national policies which state open space should not be built on unless it is surplus to requirements or would be replaced by equivalent or better provision.

The group also claims the affordable housing does not comply with government, London or Barnet policies, accusing the authority of misleading councillors and the public by claiming the homes would only be available to low-paid workers and households.

According to the council planning report, the homes would be affordable to NHS staff earning up to salary band eight, which it shows as ranging from £45,753 to £51,668. But band eight salaries can go up to £90,387, according to information published on the NHS website.

Campaigners seeking the judicial review add that although the homes are intended to be for NHS workers, staff who bought a home initially could then sell it on to any buyer.

Responding to the claims, a council spokesperson said the planning committee report "fully acknowledged that the scheme would not be compliant with open space policy" but stated this was outweighed by the "pressing need" for NHS staff accommodation and other benefits of the scheme.

The council added the exact tenure and occupation of the residential units, including the banding, would be finalised and secured as part of a reserved matters application.

It said a residential management plan submitted at the reserved matters stage would include details on the tenure and terms of occupation for the residential units, adding: "As well as the overarching provision that the units be retained for NHS staff, the assessment and approval of this further document would allow an extra layer of control to ensure that the accommodation cannot be occupied as open market housing."

A spokesperson for CHP said the company had signed a legal agreement with the council to ensure the housing scheme delivered affordable homes for NHS staff, which would support the health service’s recruitment and retention strategy.

They added: "The consented proposal maintains a balance between the need to deliver much-needed, high-quality, affordable homes for NHS staff while also being sensitive to the need to retain green space for the whole community to enjoy."