Tufnell Park hut in middle of planning row
A park hut sold for £10,000 creates policy confusion
12 March, 2018 — By Emily Finch
A PARK-KEEPERS’ hut has landed in the middle of a huge planning row with residents furious that the council sold-off public land.
The hut, at the entrance of Dalmeny Park in Tufnell Park, was sold by the council for £10,000 two years ago to a family who live next to it.
Then in July last year Town Hall planners threw out the new owner’s plans to convert the hut into a garden room because it would “result in the loss of designated public open space”.
But last month, a Whitehall planning inspector overruled Islington Council and said the hut can be used privately. Chris Forrett said the council had sold the hut “in the full knowledge that the appellant wished to use the building as a domestic garden room and that the land was defined as open space”.
“I am absolutely furious,” said local Liz Case, who started a petition to reverse the sale of the hut. She added that she would speak to some of the 700-odd people who backed her petition to see whether there was an appetite to take the case to the High Court for a judicial review.
Questions are now being asked by residents as to who in the council authorised the original sale. The Town Hall have said they are disappointed with the inspectorate’s decision and they would never allow green and open spaces to be developed.
Cllr Claudia Webbe, executive member for environment and transport, said: “The council at the time agreed that selling the hut was the most practical solution, given that significant investment would have been needed to bring the hut back into use. The alternative of demolition and reinstating the park boundary would have added very little usable public space to the park, and it was decided this was not a wise use of public money.”