objections to St Vincent School field application


Andrew Dismore AM

London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden

City Hall

The Queen’s Walk






Objection to planning application for St Vincent’s Catholic Primary School,

The Ridgeway, London NW7 1EJ, Ref: 18/1518/FUL


Dear Sir or Madam,




I am writing to object to the above application in my capacity as London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden. I also request to speak at the planning committee.


Loss of natural wildlife habitat


The current field is a haven for natural wildlife, all of which would be lost were this application to proceed. This is totally unacceptable, and runs contrary to both the London Plan and the local planning guidance, which seeks to preserve natural habitats, especially those in the green belt.


Development on the green belt


This application would develop on the green belt. The use of dumped aggregate material would undermine the natural field contours, and therefore comprise unacceptable development.


Impact on neighbours


Whilst the current gradient of the slope is high, there is enough distance between the field and neighbouring properties, especially on Woodcote Avenue. The impact of the multi-sport area will be to make the gradient even steeper, and bring the height of the hill closer to residents of Woodcote Avenue. They will be left with a feeling of enclosure, as well as considerable overlooking.


Gas main


A National Grid Gas Main pipe runs parallel to the boundary of a neighbouring property. The official plans claim that the pipe is 10 metres from the boundary fence. Local residents have measured from the markers for the gas main and in fact the main runs 6.7 metres from the boundary. In addition the National Grid guidelines state that if a gas main is located less than 100 metres from a landfill site then formal advice needs to be sought from National Grid on the suitability of the works. This has not happened in this case.




This is a 300mm diameter drain and in fact the drain is partially broken in the field. As I understand it, this drain will remain in place, however even now it is currently inadequate. Given the extremely steep gradient of the main field, it is likely surface runoff will flow much quicker and is likely to flood neighbouring properties much more than it does now.


Ground conditions


The field was never built on for the simple reason that it is marshy. There are a number of animal made paths through the field. Deer prints, badger prints and muntjac prints on the ground have recently been observed. The land is generally a wetland and supports a wide diversity of species.




There are several mature oak trees in the adjoining field, which are estimated to be 200 years old and ought to be subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). According to Dianne Murphy of the London Wildlife Trust, all the trees are in the Mill Hill Conservation Area they have the same protection as if they had a TPO in place. She stated; “Despite the applicant’s claims, the site was designated primarily for its traditional pasture, not a habitat that can be simply recreated, so burying it under landfill will result in a total destruction of the Site of Importance for Nature Conservation.”


Proposed Footpaths


The plan listed on the planning application shows a number of circular access paths around the site. However, the Flood Risk assessment that is attached to the current planning application dated March 2018 shows an additional footpath that allows direct access to the field from the top of Woodcote Avenue. This will have a very significant impact on the residents of Woodcote Avenue as it would allow visitors to the facility to park or drop off in Woodcote Avenue. This will cause significant congestion and disruption to residents.




Noise from the site will be disruptive for both local residents and would be a significant threat to wildlife. This is an unwelcome change to the generally quiet natural habitat currently in existence.


Light pollution


The site for the football pitch overlooks the roofs of the houses at the top of Woodcote Avenue. If floodlit, there will be significant light pollution that will severely and negatively impact the local residents.


Transportation plan


A new transportation plan is in place proposing that lorries access the site from the Ridgeway via Bittacy Hill and Holders Hill Road between the hours of 9.30am and 3.30pm. However the proposed alternative route is via Highwood Hill and the sharp bend next to the Old Forge. This is not acceptable or practicable.




Only immediate neighbours were consulted by letter regarding the latest planning application for the site. It was considered that this was wholly inadequate for consultation given the severe detrimental impact on neighbours.




The scheme should have been designed ‘the other way round’, with the games pitch where the nature and pond areas are, and vice versa. This would not cause such problems.


For the reasons outlined above, I would therefore request officers and Councillors to refuse this application.


Yours sincerely,



Andrew Dismore AM

London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden

City Hall

The Queen’s Walk