Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

  Harringay Gardens is a small cul-de-sac with 17 houses, at the Turnpike Lane end of Green Lanes.  Towards the Green Lanes end of this road, built into the back garden of a large house that fronts onto Green Lanes, was an old dental surgery, unoccupied for years.  The dental surgery(basically a one storey prefab) has a front door that opens straight on to the pavement in Harringay Gardens. It has no garden, back or front.  A few months ago, the building was sold and suddenly there was a lot of building activity in the dental surgery, sometimes going on well into the evening and near neighbours were complaining about the noise, contacting the council.  Residents discovered that the dental surgery was being turned into five bedsits with NO PLANNING PERMISSION.

    Residents sent in a jointly signed letter, asking the council to put a stop to this illegal conversion, and raising health and safety concerns about the number of people who would be living there, in this back extension and pointing out there was nowhere to put refuse.  The planning department sent somebody round who confirmed there was no permission and said something would be done about it -- no timescale of course.

     After a few weeks, building work stopped, only because it had been completed.  The next thing we knew was that tenants had clearly moved in.  Then about 10 days ago, a resident who lives close to this conversion complained to the council about street rubbish. They said WOULD the person BE WILLING TO ALLOW AN EXTRA BIN  IN THEIR FRONT GARDEN [ie.FOR THESE NEW TENANTS] The man across the street, was also asked.   

NO THEY WOULD NOT BE WILLING TO HAVE OTHER PEOPLE'S REFUSE FROM AN ILLEGAL CONVERSION FOR FIVE PEOPLE TO BE PLACED IN THEIR PRIVATE FRONT GARDENS.

     Today, I came home from work to find heaps of shopping bags of rubbish tied at the top and black bin bags, some gutted by foxes and strewn about, next to two trees on the opposite side to the front door of the old dental surgery.  Also, the single bin at the front of the vets opposite this property (normally little used) is also full and overflowing.  I wonder where all this came from?

    Residents in this quiet residential street are very angry and frustrated that this has been allowed to carry on and the council is apparently doing nothing to put a stop to it.

     Our MP David Lammy's office has been contacted.

 SECONDLY, another conversion at No 8 (also illegal) has apparently opened up a hairdressers in this small residential street.  Equipment was seen being brought in and since then over the last few days women seem to be sitting under those big hairdryers with their hair in rollers(in the front room) and then standing outside sometimes smoking.  There is a lot of activity there today.  A further illegal HMO is at No 13.  That is subject to enforcement proceedings due to residents' complaints.

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What's the address?

Have you put a complaint in writing to Enforcement? Have they responded?

Have you got a name of someone in enforcement who is in charge? Have you hassled them every week about what action they are taking?

Have you contacted Planning to see if they've checked it complied with Building Regulations (unlikely but there's only 1 year for them to take action)?

Have you spoken to the SNT to get them to look into taking action over the litter?

Have you contacted your local councillor?

Unfortunately, from bitter experience, you are in for a long fight and you need to constantly harangue and hassle every person you can to continue to take action.

Good luck.

You can't always blame incompetence by the council. The planning laws in this country are extremely torturous and allow savvy developers to string out the enforcement process for years. There are also set time frames for e.g. issuing notices of enforcement, allowing time for the owner to comply, serving a notice of proceedings, allowing a defence etc. etc.
A single breach by the council of these rules allows the developer to string things out even further or, even worse, to get away with it completely. The council are also very risk-averse because of the risk of costs being awarded against them if they lose a case (particularly on a technicality).

If you want an example, look how long it took the council to get the art shop in Muswell Hill to remove that illegal Dali-esque frontage.

Thanks for loads of advice.Some of its been done. But,more to do certainly -its SO time consuming and frustrating though. Watch this space..
I share your pain. Out of interest, what's the number Harringay Gardens? I'm keen to see if it's one of the serial offenders a few of us have been tracking. It's not 3 Siani Mews by any chance is it?
636a Green Lanes - only recently sold and bought by current developer

See my story here - yes it's hard work.

See also this post and weep.

I undoubtedly have an overly-simplistic view of things, but in general, don’t you normally ask for permission *before* you do something? Where else in life do you apply for permission retrospectively? Why should planning applications be any different? If there were punitive fines levied for anyone carrying out major building works who hadn’t first obtained the requisite planning permission wouldn’t this add some sanity to the situation? People wouldn’t be crammed into tiny units, neighbours wouldn’t suffer from degradation in the quality of their lives, desperately required family homes wouldn’t be divided up into multiple, low-occupancy units, Local authorities would be empowered, and Landlords would be less able/likely to exploit the current shambolic situation. How do they do things in other countries?

 

 

It is entirely possible to prevent these things happening.  In 2000 the Home Office were giving large contracts to private housing providers to accommodate asylum seekers in areas away from the South East.  Towns with cheap empty accommodation such as Barnsley, Oldham and Sunderland were targetted by these landlords who bought up rows of disused terraced houses, old hotels and empty tower blocks for as little as a few pounds, slapped some paint on the walls and made themselves millions. I visited accommodation which was filled with rats, where the front door was missing, where 8 strangers were crammed into a tiny house with one mouldy bathroom.   The tenants were traumatised people who had fled war zones, didn't know a soul locally and spoke no English so complaints were zero.  Manchester City council noticed this was happening and decided not to allow it on their patch. They engaged a couple of Environmental Health Officers to scour the planning applications for anything that looked likely and immediately begin investigations and interventions to prevent these shoddy landlords moving into low cost areas of the city.  It worked brilliantly and asylum seekers sent to live in Manchester (they don't get to choose where they live) had a much better accommodation. 

 

The experience has taught me to love and respect the power of Environmental Health Officers.  How about getting in touch with our lot in Harringay?

 

 

The fire dept may be useful, they will be onto it (quicker than Planning?) if there is any risk to tenants re no clear exits etc. (Plus it would be good not to put these relatively powerless people at risk.)
Update/correction  from a neighbour....'They did not ask if she would be willing to, they offered to give her another bin when she complained about them throwing rubbish in the street, which I guess is the same as asking if she would be willing to have a bin in her front for these tenants.
Have not yet asked Nora, David Lammy's PA if he would come to a meeting. He may be too busy. So guess best chance would be for Karen Alexander, one of our councillors who does attend meetings.  But we will try Lammy first.
You should also add about the hairdressers! they said.  Oh YES the hairdressers.  The house opposite was recently cleared out and redecorated, skips etc.  A neighbour saw hairdressing salon equipment  going in and being set up  (apparently) in the front room, overlooking the pavement.  S/he asked about it - Oh no - just a temporary storing of equipment.  Fine.  Today clients going in and out and blatantly big hairdryers in the front room with clients underneath - saw it on the way home again.  Apparently clients had been standing in the front garden smoking earlier - a few doors down from the old surgery, very close to my flat. So a double whammy...
Blimey, you're really in the wars down there. I see you've also got an illegal conversion and fraudulent certificate of lawfulness (now revoked) at no.13 (by a notorious illegal developer) plus what appears to a long-standing illegal conversion at no.8 which is also trying to sneak in planning permission by the back door. Stay strong!
You have done your homework - yes we have been fighting those too!  The fraudulent certificate one at no 13 - they faked gas bills etc I am led to believe to try and prove mult-occupancy had extended back more than (is it?) 4 years.  Local residents alerted the council to that one. no 8 is another long story.

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