The Lakes Estate Conservation Area was established by Enfield Council in February 2010, and the Lakes Estate Conservation Area Study Group (LCASG) was formed shortly afterwards. However, we now prefer to call ourselves the Friends of the Lakes Estate Conservation Area. We need reinforcing and refreshing and we are looking for new members.
One of the roles of the group is to comment on planning applications in the area, and to keep the relevant council officers aware of planning and development issues which arise. Reductions in council staffing, which will become greater in the next few years, will give the Friends an even greater role in safeguarding the area’s character.
Another role is in sharing suggestions on how residents can modernise their homes whilst also keeping the character of the area.
The Friends are also represented on the Enfield-wide Conservation Advisory Group, which meets monthly, and hence has a voice in wider conservation and heritage issues.
The criteria used in judging changes are whether they preserve or enhance the character of the Conservation Area as set out in the founding Lakes Estate Character Appraisal. Friends of the Lakes Estate work on the basis that these are the criteria on which we make our comments. It is not necessary to have architectural, conservation, construction, planning and design or particular IT skills, though these would be welcomed. The key is a desire to help in preserve and enhance the character of the Conservation Area.
Much of our internal business is done by email, so access to a PC or laptop is essential, though we do meet from time to time. Enfield Council only communicates about planning and conservation electronically so there is no alternative for us but to follow suit.
In addition to these open pages about the Friends and the Conservation Area, there is also a private area of the website which is accessible only to those Friends who have expressed a wish to be involved in the process. This allows us to communicate with one another and exchange documents.
Planning applications are published weekly, though in some weeks there are no relevant applications and in others there may be several. We normally have 21 days to respond, so there may be several cases in hand at any one time. In addition there is a workload associated with enforcement issues where unapproved building work has been done which it is assessed as harming the conservation area or ignoring an opportunity to enhance it. In all this we work closely with council officers and Councillors.