An eight-storey block of flats will be built at the site of a former department store.

Haringey councillors have approved a development that will bring 197 new homes to High Road, Wood Green, along with a hotel, shops and a public courtyard.

It will replace the ageing concrete building that was home to a BHS store before the chain went out of business in 2016.

Haringey Council will be given the chance to buy the affordable homes – which make up 40 per cent of the development – before they are offered to other buyers.

There will be a mix of one, two, three and four-bed units, with a third of the affordable homes classed as suitable for families.

Social rented homes, which make up 64 per cent of the affordable housing, will start at £105 per week for a one-bedroom flat.

A council officer at Thursday’s (May 9) planning sub-committee said the “attractive mixed-use development would “enliven the street front” and recommended the plans for approval.

But some councillors raised concerns that putting the affordable homes at the front of the building would expose people on lower incomes to air pollution.

Cllr Luke Cawley-Harrison, Liberal Democrat member for Crouch End, said: “Are you aware the High Road is one of the most polluted roads in Haringey?

“Why are the social rented flats on the High Road when we know air quality disproportionately affects people on low incomes and minorities?”

Dan Burr, architect at Sheppard Robson, said the flats would also have access to the courtyard at the rear of the building, where air quality would be better.

Enfield Independent:

Emma Williamson, the council’s assistant director of planning, added: “We thought about this long and hard.

“We felt the design of the units at the front was better than the other units, and it would make more sense to have the social housing at the front of the scheme with better accessibility.

“With the design mitigation to make it double-sided, we felt it was much better to have affordable housing on the High Road.”

The design of the block of flats also divided opinion, with some criticising the front of the building, which will overlook High Road.

Cllr Reg Rice, Labour member for Tottenham Hale, said: “Tottenham is littered with these buildings – there is no imagination in the design.

“Where are the brains in this? It is all the same every time.”

Mr Burr said: “We deployed as much imagination as possible on this, right from the outset.

“We think the scheme will be really attractive and something we can be really proud of.”

Labour member for West Green Cllr Sarah Williams spoke in favour of the design.

She said: “I really like the look of the place and the hotel on the corner.

“I was a resident on Whymark Avenue for a number of years and think it would be a good addition to the street.”

After councillors raised fears over a lack of play space on the development, the applicant agreed to look into expanding a nearby outdoor gym to provide facilities for youngsters.

Cllr Cawley-Harrison moved to reject the plans, saying: “As a council, we should not be putting people who can’t afford private rented homes into an area that will impact public health.”

His motion was defeated by six votes to four.

The plans were then approved, with six committee members voting in favour and four against.