Flats bid casts shadow over future of studio and Crouch Hill homes

Potter fears that plans for ‘monolithic’ block mean that ‘I won’t be able to live and work here’

Friday, 14th June 2019 — By Emily Finch

Cornelia Maynard Smith Romilly Graham and Rik Lewis

Neighbours Cornelia Maynard Smith, Romilly Graham and Rik Lewis

POTTERY students have joined forces with neighbours to demand that plans for a “monolithic” block of flats are thrown out by the Town Hall.

Residents living in Japan Crescent, Crouch Hill, say proposals for the four-storey block just yards from their homes will have a “huge negative impact” on their lives.

As previously reported in the Tribune, the architects behind the redevelopment of the Victorian stationmaster’s house and garden at Crouch Hill Station have promised a “sensitive refurbishment”.

But Romilly Graham, who began running pottery classes from the ground floor of her home after moving in 15 years ago, said that the proposed new development would be too close to her property.

“There’s going to be a wall just 1.5 metres away from my building,” she said. “I won’t be able to live and work here.

“This will have a huge negative impact. The sun will be gone and we need natural light in the pottery studio, and the bedrooms and bathroom will not get any light.”

Crouch Hill Station and what the new flats will look like 

She said her converted home, previously a stable, has no foundations. She worries that any development nearby would cause it to collapse.

Ms Graham, who has two children, fears that she would be “displaced”.

Rosie Jenkins, a pottery student who plays the oboe with the London Symphony Orchestra, said the space was a “place of calm” for her.

Rosie Jenkins: This place is so special 

She said: “This place is so special and important. If it wasn’t here it would be shattering.”

Retired doctor Jonathan Riddell said: “You need three places in your life – work, home and a third place which centres you. This is a community and a supportive environment.”

Seventeen residents living in Japan Crescent signed a letter to the Tribune last week calling for the rejection of plans which will see the empty station buildings converted into a café and six new homes built.

Cornelia Maynard Smith, who lives in Japan Crescent, said: “There’s something fundamentally rotten that developers want to use a domestic garden for some flats. If the council allows this it can happen anywhere.”

Rik Lewis, who also lives in the road, said: “The developers are taking it beyond something that is reasonable.”

Developer MBBK Dev­elopment argues in its planning application to the council that “good daylight distribution is retained internally” in the homes surrounding the proposed buildings.

Town Hall planners are expected to make a decision on the proposals in the coming weeks.

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