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Forum topic: 'Time is running out for meaningful discussions' of Enfield Local Plan

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'Time is running out for meaningful discussions' of Enfield Local Plan

PGC Webmaster

31 Jan 2024 18:18 #7064

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[Original article]

Community groups in Enfield are calling on both parties on the council to fulfil their promise to engage properly with residents before a key vote on an official planning document that will have a decisive impact on the borough's future development.

Action for Enfield's Future, a coalition of civic sector groups, have today published an open letter to the leaders of the Labour and Conservative groups on Enfield Council, expressing disappointment at the failure of the majority of councillors in both parties to hold special meetings to discuss the draft Enfield Local Plan with their constituents.

The letter points out that the new plan, which envisages widespread housebuilding, much of it on land currently allocated as Green Belt, will impact everyone in the borough, for generations.

Action for Enfield's Future point to a promise by the council that "Councillors will communicate with their constituents, discussing aspirations for homes and their environment" and “engage with their constituents on key Local Plan themes and issues before the Full Council meeting", but comment that "This is happening very slowly, if at all": ward forums to discuss the plan have been arranged in only nine out of 25 wards.

The letter calls on the two group leaders to urge their councillors to arrange ward forums. It also asks the council to publish the evidence underpinning the plan, including that relating to housing targets or the exceptional case made for releasing Green Belt land. If this cannot be done quickly enough, "then we request an extension to the Regulation 19 consultation period from 6 to 12 weeks. The extra time allows a thorough examination of the unpublished new evidence, which may be extensive."

Text of the open letter to Cllrs Erbil and Georgiou sent on 31 January 2024

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Dear Councillors Erbil and Georgiou,

Enfield’s Local Plan: Urgent request for ward forums and missing evidence

The new Local Plan will affect everyone in Enfield, and its impact will be felt for generations. The latest plan proposes significant changes, for example with thousands of new homes planned for some wards, and changes to the borough’s greenspaces.

It is vital that councillors engage with the public about the Local Plan. Residents need the help of their elected representatives to understand what the plan means for them and their families, as well as an opportunity to ask you questions and share their opinions with you. Ward forums are ideal for this purpose.

Residents are in the process of requesting their ward councillors to organise ward forums. We welcome and encourage this and hope you do too. We ask that you respond positively to their request and urge you to go further by asking all councillors to act now.

Your commitment.

In October 2022, we presented a petition to Full Council which asked you to commit to a twelve-week community engagement on the revised Local Plan. This was so there would be sufficient time for people to understand the plan, and for councillors to hold meaningful discussions with their constituents before they vote on the plan.

The petition had significant support, with over 4,000 residents expressing their commitment to shaping Enfield’s future.

You were both among the councillors who voted unanimously to support the petition. A welcome decision that created, and sustained, a great deal of good will, especially amongst the 7,000+ residents who participated in the initial, written consultation in 2021.

Furthermore, on publication of the revised plan in December, the Council promised that "Councillors will communicate with their constituents, discussing aspirations for homes and their environment" and “engage with their constituents on key Local Plan themes and issues before the Full Council meeting” . This is happening very slowly, if at all.

Time is running out.

It is now about eight weeks since the Local Plan was published, more than half-way through the Council’s scheduled community engagement period; yet so far just nine of the twenty-five wards have scheduled ward forums, all to the west of the A10, and three after March 6. Time is running out.

As Leaders of Enfield's Labour and Conservative elected representatives, please urge all councillors to engage with residents and hold ward forums within the next few weeks to discuss the plan, as a matter of urgency, and before the March 6th Full Council, when they will vote on the proposed Local Plan.

Missing evidence.

We also ask that Enfield Council publish the evidence that complements the proposed Local Plan, for instance about housing targets or the exceptional case made for releasing Green Belt land. The six weeks formal R19 consultation from March 6 includes Easter, effectively limiting the time available for many families and, in planning terms, it's considered good practice to keep communities informed and involved.

It is not possible for councillors and the public to fully understand the plan without this information.

If it is difficult to publish the evidence before March 6th, then we request an extension to the Regulation 19 consultation period from 6 to 12 weeks. The extra time allows a thorough examination of the unpublished new evidence, which may be extensive.

We hope that you will honour the commitment made in October 2022 and ensure that Enfield’s residents have a voice in shaping our borough’s future.

We look forward to hearing from you. Yours sincerely

Action for Enfield's Future

Action for Enfield’s Future is a non-political community group with members from across Enfield including representatives from The Enfield Society, EnCaf, Better Homes for Enfield and Enfield Roadwatch each with a significant membership.

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'Time is running out for meaningful discussions' of Enfield Local Plan

Neil Littman

01 Feb 2024 11:03 #7065

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The local councillors in Winchmore Hill held a Ward Forum to discuss the Enfield Local Plan a few weeks ago despite it being minus four degrees. They still managed to get an attendance of 12 residents and at least they organised something. I have asked them what they think the commitment is elsewhere in the borough towards interacting with the community.

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