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Campaigners against the housing development at Cat Hill vow to fight on despite approval from Mayor of London Boris Johnson
Protesters have vowed to fight on against the redevelopment of a former university campus - despite the project being signed off by the Mayor of London.
Boris Johnson last week approved the plans from housing association London & Quadrant (L&Q) to turn Cat Hill campus into more than 230 homes.
Campaigner Kim Coleman of Mansfield Avenue, Barnet, said: “I am absolutely devastated by the news. We have been campaigning for nearly three years now and we managed to get the first proposal rejected but we didn’t succeed second time round."
Initially rejected in 2012, Enfield Borough Council approved the proposals in March this year as campaigners fought for the former university campus to stay in educational use and slow the borough's swelling population.
Mrs Coleman said: “We put forward a very clear objection to Mr Johnson, outlining all the clear reasons why this should not go ahead. I would not say I was really optimistic; however there was a sound basis to refuse this application. I feel very bitter.”
Andy Rowland, L&Q’s land and projects director, said: “We are delighted that the Mayor of London has allowed our proposals for the Cat Hill site. We now look forward to beginning work as soon as we can, subject to meeting the remaining conditions in the planning process.
“We plan to build well-designed homes that match the character of the local area. As long-term stewards of the Cat Hill ponds, we would implement a 25-year woodland management plan to conserve valuable mature and veteran oak trees across the site and encourage native woodland species, further improving the diversity and value of the woodland habitat for wildlife.”
Despite the assurances, the campaigner says new housing is not the only aspect of the redevelopment that will damage the local area and said she will continue to fight the plans.
She said: “There are two protected animals on this site as well as an English Heritage Roman well and I really fear for their future. We sent more than 500 objections to the mayor and I know that only one letter of agreement was sent.
“This will add to our already growing population and there just aren’t the services to support these people, school spaces are at a minimum and hospital services are being closed. We are pursuing legal action and we are trying to raise £20,000 to cover the costs, there is no way after years of fighting that we will sit back and let this happen, we will carry on fighting.”
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