Townsend Yard petition highlights fire safety risk
The Highgate Society has started a Petition relating to the development at Townsend Yard.
Townsend Yard is a narrow access road which runs from Highgate High Street to the Highgate Bowl. In the part nearer to the High Street it provides informal access to Shepherds Cottage.
Shepherds Cottage is one of the oldest buildings in Highgate, a Listed Building tucked away from the main road and reached by a passage between two houses on the High Street. The passage is very narrow – too narrow to be used by the fire brigade for rescue – so the access from the Cottage to Townsend Yard is an essential fire escape route. The London Fire Brigade has reported that the loss of that access would increase the risk of destruction of the Cottage in case of fire, and increase the risk of harm to its occupants (see here)
The developer of Townsend Yard wants to squeeze in 7 housing units, which would close off both the escape route for people living in Shepherds Cottage and fire brigade access to it. Both those problems would disappear if the number of housing units was reduced. We don’t oppose building homes on this site; we oppose squeezing in too many for safety.
Haringey is the planning authority and they granted planning permission for this development in 2020. Councillor Dana Carlin now leads as the planning cabinet member for Haringey and has said that once planning permission is granted it can’t be revoked. But that’s wrong. The Town and Country Planning Act gives local authorities the power to modify any planning permission.
We are asking Haringey to modify the planning permission to leave space for a fire escape route and an access route for fire engines to Shepherds Cottage. This change would also keep open the public views of this historic listed cottage and allow a turning and passing place for vehicles using the narrow road. It would be an easy and practical thing to do and we have provided Haringey with plans of three alternative ways in which it could be done (see here). Surely post Grenfell, the importance of fire safety must be recognised? The current permission increases the risk from fire for residents. Surely Haringey councillors do not want to increase fire safety risks for their residents.
This is urgent as the development is starting, although the fire access is still unresolved. Please sign the petition. (Click here) When signing (i) please add a short comment (ii) make sure your post code is correctly shown and (iii) forward this email to your friends and neighbours asking them to sign.
28 September 2022