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Topic: Confirmation that Enfield's Green Belt is threatened

Confirmation that Enfield's Green Belt is threatened
03 Jun 2021 00:15 #6042

Basil Clarke Basil Clarke's Avatar Topic Author

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place making areas in enfield map"Placemaking Areas in Enfield" - a map included in the draft Enfield Local Plan earmarked for housebuilding. As well as showing the controversial Green Belt areas, it includes two urban placemaking areas in the south west of the borough - Southgate and New Southgate
Click on the image to enlarge

Documents published on the council website late on Tuesday confirm that the current administration at the Civic Centre wishes for there to be large-scale housebuilding on the borough's Green Belt. A map included in the documents shows 11  "placemaking areas" earmarked for new homes. Three of the areas are in the protected zone that surrounds London, in particular at Crews Hill and to the east of Trent Park (an area which the documents refer to as "Chase Park", largely consisting of land which is currently part of Vicarage Farm).

The documents are included among the papers for an extraordinary full council meeting scheduled for 9th June, called in order to approve a draft of a new Enfield Local Plan covering the period up to 2039. If approved by the council (which seems likely), the draft will go out for public consultation for a period of six weeks.

The draft local plan with its various appendices and supporting documents amounts to a huge volume of documentation and it will be a serious challenge for councillors to read and absorb the content - more than a thousand pages - in a week. especially as, according to one councillor, they will be seeing much of it for the first time.

Not having had time to take stock of it, and lacking any kind of expertise anyway, I'm concentrating here on the fact that it confirms that the fears expressed by the Enfield Society and Enfield RoadWatch about housebuilding on the Green Belt that we reported in last week's article were fully justified.

The draft plan's approach to providing (undoubtedly essential) new homes is summarised in the introduction:

"Provision will be made for at least 25,000 new homes up to 2039 with a large proportion of the Borough’s future development needs provided by the four main placemaking areas of Meridian Water, Southbury, Crews Hill and Chase Park."

James Cracknell, editor of the Enfield Dispatch, has read through the papers and discovered that the plan envisages between six and eight thousand homes being built at Crews Hill and "Chase Park". His report, which also incorporates material from local democracy reporter Simon Allin, includes comments by defenders of Green Belt integrity, but also by council leader Nesil Caliskan, quoted as saying that "to support our economy and provide more homes we need to make difficult choices about where growth can be placed" and that "Ultimately, we need a place that is more equal for all, delivering more housing and better and fairer outcomes across the board."

As we reported last week, local civic sector groups have argued that there is sufficient brownfield land available to satisfy Enfield's housing needs and that loss of Green Belt land will have detrimental effects.

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Confirmation that Enfield's Green Belt is threatened
07 Jun 2021 20:43 #6043

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As Basil says it’s a large volume of paper. It’s perhaps less of an issue for councillors to read in depth now, instead the purpose being to approve the plan’s second cycle of public consultation, two years plus since its first airing.

This is our chance to review and add input now. Housing will inevitably take centre stage for many residents but the plan is hugely broad and impactful in its span.

Here are a few headlines I picked up on a gentle walk through.

On housing, we have the 2nd highest level of households in the UK, 3500 families, living in temporary accommodation and London’s highest eviction rate.

HMG methodology suggests a need for close to 4500 new homes every year; the London Plan sets a figure close to 1250; while this draft plan sets a preferred option of 25,000 over its lifetime to 2039, which seems to be a little higher than the Mayor requires but way short of HMG’s number.

And it’s not only housing which seems to be putting pressure on our finite land but also employment needs in offices and industrial locations, the putting to rest of dead bodies (read Firs Farm), and we can expect the inevitability of such as new schools. So where do all such things go?

Headlines so far - and I have no doubt will continue - is the proposal of housing on the green belt but if not green belt then where? The plan asks for suggestions which require real thought rather than a knee jerk of no / anger. The apparent never ending supply of easy brownfield land as the fall back option always strikes me as something of a mirage yet as well as green belt many such areas have been identified to reach the 25,000 housing figure. HMG’s methodology, call it three times larger, would on the face of it require either pretty much all of the green belt to be given over, or perhaps the borough covered end to end in tower blocks. Even so, Enfield’s much lower figure throws up some surprising housing sites, including:

The large retail park on the A10 covering eg Sainsbury, Morrison's, B&Q (already publicised and well flagged in the London Plan);

TFL car parks at Arnos and Cockfosters, again already widely flagged;

Enfield Town, particularly the large tower block, again widely flagged;

Car parks at Fords Grove, Lodge Drive and Michendon Southgate ;

ASDA and M&S at Southgate, and Sainsburys at Winchmore Hill;

Travis Perkins in PG.

Plus many others less local or which I’m not familiar.

The common reaction seen so far appears to be shock / anger and the list above is unlikely to dampen that.

Densification around transport hubs is a main theme of the London Plan and so no surprise to see the expectation of more flats in areas such as PG.

Tall buildings are another theme, already causing anger in Enfield Town and the A10 retail park, and as far as I can understand potential slated for a part of PG to the east of Green Lanes between the Triangle and the North Circular (the map isn’t clear to me).

So I think it’s fair to say there is no solution to this one which isn’t going to put the odd back up. Supply your alternatives rather than blaming the council / councillors / someone else is my best answer to that. Something has to be done so what would each of us do beyond moaning about it all?

A positive for PG is that growth and investment will be focused on the borough’s five main centres, of which PG is one; and what I also think is a positive - residential spaces will not be allowed on the ground floors of PG’s high street.

The intended move from car parks to housing probably implies as much as is needed but the plan positively reaffirms the intent to follow the London Plan and existing Enfield Transport Strategy. “The Local Plan aims to support delivery of the London Mayor’s Transport Strategy by rebalancing the transport system away from car use and towards more sustainable transport modes.” (13.1.1). As I’ve said a million times, the car-centric world we’ve known and which continues to be defended by many is changing: LTN’s are HMG policy; there's effectively no difference in the direction of travel from the last two London mayors who represented both main parties ; and of course both main local parties fully committed to the original mini Holland principles. The underlying data won’t change so don’t expect the long examined outcomes to do so either.

Enfield’s appalling health gap, reflected in hugely different life expectancy east to west, is worsening and ten eastern areas rank within the 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in England. There is a clear, stated intent in the plan to improve things. I hope so.

And there’s much else including a comment that Whitewebbs golf course has “no/little opportunity to develop” and will instead provide nature recovery uses. I don’t know what that is but hopefully it is somewhere you can walk in nature without the threat from golf balls.

So, much to read and comment on and a full six weeks to do so, albeit easier, if less productive, to wait a few years untll things happen, say you weren’t consulted and blame Ian Barnes / Nesil Caliskan for everything.
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Confirmation that Enfield's Green Belt is threatened
09 Jun 2021 23:06 #6047

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Some sensible comments above from Karl, and also on the useful website On London, where Charles Wright has an article entitled Enfield: Council’s Local Plan proposals for Green Belt homes could be in a for a rough ride.

www.onlondon.co.uk/enfield-councils-new-local-plan-proposals-could-be-in-a-for-a-rough-ride/

The article deals mostly with the arguments about building on the Green Belt being put forward by opposition councillors and groups such as the Enfield Society and Better Homes Enfield. However, their claims that there is enough brownfield lane available run into the problem of proposals to do just that being turned down by the planning committee:

The opposition groups say the council should focus on brownfield sites. But there are difficulties with that too in Enfield as elsewhere. The council’s planning committee recently rejected recent plans for new homes beside Arnos Grove and Southgate stations. Local Labour MPs Bambos Charalambous and Feryal Clark joined forces to oppose plans for 450 homes in Enfield Town, where a proposed 26-storey tower is “out of character”, they say.

So where to build? As Caliskan suggests, there are no easy choices in Enfield or across London as a whole, which continues to miss its housing targets. Around 35,000 homes a year have been delivered London-wide over the past three years compared to a London Plan target of 52,000, an assessment that 66,000 a year are actually needed and the government’s “standard method” target of more than 90,000 a year.

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