Plans to build a block of flats within Pinner Memorial Park have sparked a public outcry within the village.
If passed, the scheme would see the privately owned and listed building West House Lodge, next to the Heath Robinson Museum, demolished and replaced with a block of five flats in a building of two storeys with further flats.
The objections to the scheme are being led by The Pinner Association who say the scheme is completely and utterly inappropriate in the setting.
On its website, the association says the new flats would be much higher and more massive than the existing building and would extend behind the aviary, well beyond the building line of West House and the museum. It goes on to say that the building would be clearly visible from and overlook the Peace Garden, the children’s playground and the lawn terrace of Daisy’s café.
The part of the park that includes West House was purchased by public subscription after the Second World War – but West Lodge is privately owned.
Ruth Boff of the Association explained why.
She said: “It’s an accident the property is in private hands anyway. Unfortunately the house was sold under right to buy when it was not actually in the council’s ownership. The land was part of the Pinner Memorial Park Trust for which the council were trustees.
“The anomalies only came to light when the house was put on the open market when a complaint was made. The Charity Commission resolved the issue by instructing the council that the purchase price must be paid to the trust – but the private ownership remained.”
Councillor Richard Almond, who represents Pinner South, said: “I couldn’t be more opposed to this. The plans are to knock down a listed building which is in keeping with the beautiful park setting. There should be no development in this area. It is completely wrong.
“My expectation is that these plans will be opposed as vigorously as possible.”
Picture Courtesy of Peter Dale