This is the home of Mike Russum, an architect, and his partner Sally Cox. It has been longlisted for the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) House of the Year award, which is the subject of a four-part series on Channel 4; the winner will be announced in the final episode on Nov 28.
It's the sort of house that makes people stop and stare. "If I see someone standing outside looking, I invite them in and give them a tour," says Russum.
If I see someone standing outside looking, I invite them in and give them a tour"I like houses to be a series of unfolding surprises," says Russum. The first is Sally's study on the upper ground floor, with a glazed back wall that opens on to a full-width terrace overlooking the garden and trees beyond. Sally, a retired interior designer, creates designs for her wood sculptures here.
They had to dig into the hillside of the sloping plot to create their fourstorey home. Two en suite bedrooms are "below decks", on the lower ground floor, and the main bedroom is flooded with morning light from sliding doors that lead straight on to the garden.
A floating conservatory is suspended above the living space; it has a circular yellow floor and a curved blue structure that is part seating and part planter filled with tropical foliage. The glazing curves up into a dome ceiling, with views over gardens, trees and the city.
"It's like sitting in a tree canopy up here," says Russum. "It's a great place to come for a sundowner, and at night you can see the moon very clearly. This is a small house – 1,345 sq ft – but I wanted the main living space to be as grand as possible, so we devoted the two upper floors to open-plan living and made it double height."
"This is a great house for summer parties, everyone spreads out onto the terraces and up into the conservatory," says Russum. The final outdoor space is a balcony jutting out from the living space, suspended over the garden like the prow of a ship.
"We call that the Kate Winslet balcony," says Cox, "as in Titanic."
Europe’s biggest urban wetlands opens
• HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is getting tougher on those not paying the right amount of tax across their offshore tax affairs.
• From 2016, HMRC is getting new financial information about our customers from more than 100 jurisdictions – including details about overseas accounts, structures, trusts, and investments.
• HMRC is already using information, supplied by overseas banks, insurers, and wealth and assets managers, to identify the minority who are not paying what they owe.
Are you confident that your UK tax affairs are up-to-date?
You need to regularly check that you have declared all of your UK tax liabilities and, if needed, bring your tax affairs up-to-date.
Personal circumstances change. For example, you may have recently inherited assets overseas.
• If you are confident that your tax affairs are up-to-date and complete, then you don’t need to do anything further.
• If you are unsure, we recommend that you speak to a tax adviser to find out if you need to take action now.
• If you find that you need to bring your tax affairs up-to-date, it can be easier than you think. You can chooseto do this now using HMRC’s straightforward online disclosure facility at www.gov.uk/guidance/worldwide-disclosure-facility-make-a-disclosure
If you have not paid the right amount of tax and choose not to take action now, you need to know that:
• HMRC will find out about your money and assets overseas through new information from more than 100 jurisdictions.
• Penalties are increasing for those who are not paying the right amount of tax on their offshore assets, and you can even face criminal prosecution. Under new rules, you could face further penalties based on the value of the asset as well as the tax due, resulting in potentially life-changing consequences.
If you choose to delay in coming forward, it’s very likely to cost you more and there is also more chance that HMRC will come for you.
Come to us before we come for you
• If you are confident that your tax affairs are up-to-date, and you have declared all of your UK tax liabilities, then you don’t need to do anything further.
We are already using early financial information to identify the minority who are not paying what they owe.
If you need to bring your tax affairs up-to-date, it is your responsibility to do so – act now at
The 'People's Princess'
The iconic royal, Diana Princess of Wales, would be 56 now. Diana was an inspiration to so many, and she was aptly dubbed the 'People's Princess' owing to her kindness and compassion. Although Diana sadly passed away 20 years ago, her legacy continues to live on through her children, William and Harry, and her grandchildren, George and Charlotte, of whom we are sure she would be immensely proud.
Residents say giant new Turkish restaurant on Green Lanes flouts rules to preserve the high street
Sira Vanadokya, which opened at the weekend, takes up three shopfronts along Green Lanes in Harringay, which were knocked into one without full planning consent.
Objectors accuse the owners, who have been refused retrospective planning permission, of flouting rules designed to preserve the balance of the street scene. Fifty have written to Haringey council, saying traditional retailers have been squeezed out of Green Lanes over the past decade, leaving the street a “ghost town” by day.
"But now it seems everyone has the same idea. A lot of the ordinary trading shops are dying. We are at a tipping point.” Council figures show restaurants, pubs and takeaways comprise a quarter of the 142 units on the mile-long strip.
Hugh Flouch, founder of community website Harringay Online, said: “I do use the local restaurants and it’s great we have a vibrant restaurant economy but I don’t want that to be all there is.
"People have talked about wanting a more diverse high street offer including things like a fish shop, a book shop and a stationers.”
The Sira is made up of three units which the owners successfully applied to convert into three individual restaurants one by one over the past 12 months.
However, an overall application to permanently combine them into a single diner of 5,000 square feet, open from 7am until 2am daily, was refused last week. Objectors have complained about noise, cooking smells and public disorder from the bigger outlet, equivalent to the size of two tennis courts.
One wrote: “We have no need of any further huge restaurants on this stretch of Green Lanes. To grant retrospective planning permission would send the message that local planning law is to be flouted by simply ignoring it.” In another objection sent to the council, Ian Sygrave, of residents’ group the Ladder Community Safety Partnership, accused the owners of using “dubious and murky” tactics in their attempt to change the building’s use. He added: “Every new loss of a shop undermines the viability of existing outlets and helps to reduce daytime footfall in favour of the night-time economy.”
In their council application, the owners said the venue was part of a cultural tradition of Turkish and Cypriot restaurants in Green Lanes which “will enhance the vibrancy and vitality of the town centre, particularly during festival times”. In a letter backing the new restaurant, Shefik Mehmet, chairman of Harringay Traders Association, said: “We like to draw similarities with Chinatown and Southall. Green Lanes is the Turkish equivalent.”
Councillor Ali Ozbek said: “The exciting restaurants have not only added economic improvement but also helped neighbouring units to benefit.”
Haringey council said: “We are aware the site has started trading as a restaurant without planning permission and have passed this on to our enforcement team who are investigating further.”
LANDLORDS - Are you aware from April 2018 you will be required to report to HMRC quarterly?
Hmrc has confirmed the timetable for the rollout of quarterly reporting and a year end reconciliation under Making Tax Digital with the first tranche of taxpayers, including buy-to-let landlords and the self-employed, set to kick in from April 2018
- April 2018 if profits chargeable to income tax and pay Class 4 national insurance contributions (NICs);
- April 2019 onwards VAT falls under Making Tax Digital, so anyone registered for VAT will report and pay this through the new system; and
- April 2020 for corporation tax payers.
Haringey Council blames cuts for changes
to waste collection
Haringey Council has defended its approval of changes to the collection service given to residents.
Haringey Council approved changes to Veolia’s waste collection system on June 30.
These changes include charging £25 for four bulky items from July 24; charging £30 for replacement bins from July 31; and, charging £75 for garden waste from October 23 and distributing wheelie bins to those who subscribe.
Councillor Peray Ahmet, Haringey Council cabinet member for the environment, said: “After years of council funding reductions, we still need to find another £20 million of savings across the borough, which unfortunately means making some tough decisions.
A 12-year-old boy from north London has been named Child Genius 2017
Cheered on by competitive father Minesh and pharmacist mother Komal, Rahul impressed host Richard Osman with his specialist knowledge of the work of English scientist Edward Jenner in the semi-final.
LOVE WOOD GREEN FESTIVAL
Under the scheme, public assets will be transferred into a new company, the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV), owned 50/50 by Haringey council and private firm Lendlease, in a deal set to last 20 years.
On Monday evening, the Labour-run council will vote on the largest sell-off of its kind ever undertaken by a UK local authority. But earlier in the day, two local north London MPs sent the council’s leader, Claire Kober, a strongly worded letter.
David Lammy, for Tottenham, and Catherine West, for Hornsey and Wood Green, reiterated concerns that include the affordability of the homes, the bidding process, the financial risks to the council and the lack of oversight.
The letter reads: “In addition to reiterating these concerns, in light of the fire at Grenfell Tower we write today with the utmost urgency to urge caution and call on the cabinet to pause and reflect further on whether entering into a public-private partnership is the correct decision for the borough and its residents.
“In our view no decision should be taken on the HDV until a fully updated business case is evaluated and further work is carried out by an external adviser or auditor to analyse and review the risks relating to the HDV.”
Kober said the issues raised by the disaster at Grenfell Tower did not justify “reneging” on the local manifesto pledges to build new homes. “The Haringey Development Vehicle – a 50/50 partnership between the council and developers Lendlease – is an innovative approach to regeneration that will deliver change local people can benefit from,” she added.
The council plans to demolish whole streets of publicly owned buildings as part of a vast regeneration project in which 6,400 new homes will be built.
Local councillors estimate that up to 20 Labour councillors, out of 49 in total, oppose the scheme, as well as all Lib Dem members, the two constituency Labour parties, plus trade unions and a number of local activist groups. The council’s scrutiny committee has twice in the past six months called for an immediate pause to the plans.
The MPs urged the council to consider a recommendation by the authority’s overview and scrutiny committee to use a wholly council-owned housing company to purchase and manage the HDV social and affordable homes “to ensure that there will be no overall reduction in the number of homes in the borough that are wholly owned and managed by the council”.
Public-private partnerships have come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks in the wake of the Grenfell Tower blaze.