Backlands and Infill Development
One of the characteristic features of the Highgate area is its recognisably suburban aspect. Many of the houses are set in relatively large, leafy plots which provide an open and natural quality to the streetscape. Short views into rear garden spaces and long vistas across undeveloped landscapes are vitally important to the overall impression of the area as one that has escaped some of the more intense building pressures of recent times. The Village, too, has a uniquely rural feel for a London locality. Its High Street is low scale and largely original, and the elevated setting allows panoramic outlooks across the city below, reinforcing the sense that one is further away from the built-up, urban centre than is actually the case.
However, London-wide housing stresses combined with the increasing drive to maximise profits from land ownership have the potential to ruin Highgate’s special charm and attributes, through the implementation of backlands and infill development schemes. Specifically, these take the form of partitioning previously undeveloped rear and side gardens into significantly smaller areas for new-build properties, and subsequently imposing much higher build-to-plot ratios than are acceptable or beneficial within the wider context of the community. The Society will oppose any of these if they are seen to threaten the spacious and verdant environment which distinguishes and exemplifies the Highgate Conservation Area. Both Haringey and Camden Councils will also be following Neighbourhood Plan Policy DH11, which opposes infill development of rear and side gardens, and Haringey has its own further Policy DM7 which severely restricts this practice.