Barnsbury residents’ anger at “ugly” aerial boxes with no permission

People on a Barnsbury estate are furious about “ugly” aerial boxes that have been put up on their homes – even though the company that did it had no planning permission.

Residents of Thornhill Houses, off Thornhill Road, in the Barnsbury Conservation Area, are angry they were not consulted about the work, which they say has defaced the 1900s building.

Homes for Islington (HfI), the soon-to-be-defunct management company who look after Thornhill Houses, started putting up the boxes in August in preparation for the digital switchover, despite their planning application being deemed invalid due to a lack of information.

They have now applied for retrospective permission, but work is still ongoing and residents say taxpayers’ money is being spent on a project that might not be legal.

Peter Cain, chair of the residents’ association, said: “I haven’t spoken to one person who is happy about it. It’s a nice building and these boxes are an eyesore. And to find out they didn’t even have permission to put them up – HfI don’t know what they are doing.

“They should have asked us what we thought before they put them up. But now if they take them down it will cost thousands of pounds more. We will end up paying either way.”

The council’s planning team are considering the retrospective application.

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A spokesman for HfI said: “To make sure residents can receive digital TV signals after the switchover next year, HfI has undertaken a number of installation projects of this sort.

“There are a small number of blocks, including Thornhill Houses, where planning approval has yet to be obtained. HfI is applying for retrospective planning permission for this block.

“All the work is being done at the contractor’s risk, and any remedial work due would be at their own expense and at no cost to residents.”