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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

A discussion between some Gardens residents & GRA members:


Contributor 1

Retaining family houses especially at the headers of the Gardens (where they have become a minority) is crucial to the regeneration of the Green Lanes area [**of course they mean Harringay** ;o)].
I hear all the time from families who are looking to buy a WHOLE house in the Gardens but can't find one. There are none on the market and there has not been any for years.

The reason is people will make more money out of selling/letting 2 bad homes than out of 1 good one.

In the Gardens where the houses were built for small families with no servants, conversions into flats make bad homes and together with HMOs are responsible for many of the issues that plague the area. The Council would save a lot of time and money by putting a ban on conversions and HMOs in the Gardens. This would make more houses available for families seeking to move to the area and who are much more likely to make a positive contribution to our neighbourhood.

Contributor 2

When I bought my Gardens house in 2006 I feel sure my solicitor told me there was either a planning rule or a restrictive covenant stating that it could not be converted into two flats, but I cannot find this written down anywhere. However, looking on the Land Registry entry for my house I find the words:
"A transfer dated 4 March 1960 between (1) Provident Life Association of London Limited and (2) Emily Margaretta Bye contains restrictive covenants. Note: Original filed".

Remembering my local history walk, I believe that the Provident Life Association of London Limited might have been the original freeholders of the Gardens houses. Can anyone find anything in the legal documents relating to their house which could throw light on this?

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Posting the following excerpt from an old copy of the transfer of title here for info, in case anyone can do anything with it:

‘and the Purchaser to the intent and so as to bind the Purchaser and his assigns and the land hereby transferred into whosesoever hands the same may come and to benefit and protect the remainder of the Vendor’s Harringay Park Estate hereby covenants with the Vendor to observe and perform the conditions and stipulations contained in the Second Schedule hereto

and it is hereby agreed and declared that the Purchaser and the persons deriving title under him shall not become entitled to any right of light or air which would in any way prejudicially affect the free and unrestricted user by the Vendor and the persons deriving title under it of any adjoining or neighbouring property for building or other purposes.

And the parties hereto hereby apply to the Registrar to enter a note of the said exceptions reservations conditions and stipulations on the title of the land hereby transferred.

The second schedule above referred to. Conditions and Stipulations.
1. Neither the said premises hereby transferred nor any erection or building which may be erected thereon shall be used for the purpose of carrying on any trade manufacture or business whatsoever nor for the purpose of exhibiting advertisements nor for any purpose other than as a private dwelling-house nor shall anything be done or permitted on the said land which shall be noxious dangerous or offensive or a nuisance or annoyance to the neighbourhood or to the Vendor its successors in title or assigns or its other tenants or to the owners or occupiers of adjoining or neighbouring property or which shall be in any wise injurious to the same.”

There is a section in Haringey's Unitary Development Plan restricting conversions.  This is the borough-wide planning policy.  You can find this at:




The relevant part is in the Housing section, at HSG11.  This defines restricted conversion areas (the Ladder is one) and states that conversions will not be permitted where 20% of the existing stock has been converted to flats or HMOs.


Hope this helps...

I was wondering what exactly contributor 1 means by:

'families seeking to move to the area and who are much more likely to make a positive contribution to our neighbourhood' and 'HMOs are responsible for many of the issues that plague the area'

The implication is that HMO residents are not families and don't make a positive contribution to the area.  This comes across as more than a little discriminatory.  There is a shocking housing crisis in this area and this city at large.  HMOs are the only type of housing that many people around here can afford.  The forthcoming cuts to housing benefit will force many more families and all single claimants under 35 into HMOs. 

Before you urge the council to ban HMOs, which they appear to be considering in Harringay Ward (so that this area can become an enclave of people that have access to the money to buy a house) may I suggest that you have a think about where the HMO residents will live.  We all need somewhere secure, genuinely-affordable and decent to live. 

Obviously HMOs, typically let on insecure contracts and often containing many health and safety risks to residents - many of whom are children - fall far short of providing decent homes.  But I don't feel it makes a positive contribution to our neighbourhood to demand that people who live in them should be driven out by a ban.  We should all stick together in making sure we all have access to a decent home - not just the wealthy. 

Fight against the housing benefit cuts, threats to homeless people's and council tenants' rights to a secure home, and proposed cuts to legal aid to get advice to deal with a bad landlord.  Fight against cuts to the council's environment health and tenancy relations services, that work to improve housing conditions. Fight to create a fairer housing system for all.  It's much easier to make a positive contribution when you have a secure, affordable and decent home.  Join Housing Emergency: http://falseeconomy.org.uk/campaigns/event/housing-emergency-mass-l...

There is nothing discriminatory in acknowledging that the already considerable number of HMOs and houses converted into flats have a negative impact on the Gardens. The blame is not on the people unfortunate enough to live in the dire conditions of a divided house but on those who have allowed this terrible situation to happen;

- the landlords and their agents who choose to make more money out of dividing small houses

- the Council which has let this situation arise and worsen 

- the banks which have encouraged the buy to let speculation frenzy and have helped many individuals to become incompetent, let alone rogue landlords.


Owning or renting your house in the Gardens is not a sign of wealth. Most people struggle with their mortgage or rent to be able to live in conditions that are proper for their family and with this come obligations of care for their building, neighbours and the environment. 


Our houses were designed and built for the occupation by one average sized family. There are not fit for multiple occupation or conversion into decent flats. To allow this to happen is to promote the consequences of poor housing and the Council should not be in the business of promoting poor housing. 


There is a demand for family houses in the Gardens which is currently not met by the market and has not been for some years now, because vendors prefer to split their property in smaller units in order to make more money. Some landlords are unscrupulous, others are just taking advantage of a situation which could be easily corrected by putting a ban on HMOs and conversions into flats.


The ban will not solve the deeply rooted housing crisis but it will help with regenerating this part of the borough and free Council resources ideally to invest in decent social housing.


Following Geoff's very useful link revealed one other major point to me.  Haringey housing core policy states (HSG1c) 'if converting a single dwelling house the existing internal floor area is more than 120 sqm and has at least 5 habitable rooms'. 


The houses in the Gardens are fairly standardized.  Taking even the most generous reading of our (recently-measured, unextended) house, plus an extra 100 square feet for good measure, revealed that we fall short of the 120 sqm by a good 20 square metres. Does this mean conversion of all unextended terraces of this type is contrary to core policy? Am I missing some exception clause somewhere?


I notice the sketch plan of the most recent application under discussion, amazingly, doesn't need to include the total square footage/meterage, so doesn't reveal this problem unless it is investigated. Incidentally, that plan reveals the house already has two kitchens and two tiny bathrooms so perhaps it is already informally subdivided.

I think the quote you've given refers to HMOs. Conversion from houses to flats & HMOs are different things. This unfinished page on the HoL Wiki might help.
Hmmm, I got that quote from the section headed 'New Housing Developments' in the 'housing' pdf (the rest in this part referred to new housing construction). The HMO rules were a different section... but it's certainly not very clear.  Wiki much clearer! Am reading with interest...
Hmmm, looks like you're right if you take that page at face value. Suggest you call planning on Monday.



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