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green dragonAn application for planning permission submitted by the owners of the former Green Dragon pub in Winchmore Hill envisages some alterations to the existing building and the construction of "town houses" on the car park.  Mike and Sharon McClean, who set up the Save the Green Dragon campaign, are unhappy about the proposed changes and intend to submit formal objections.

The planning application details are available online at this link (NB the link in the McCleans's original email does not work).  The summary description of the proposals is as follows:

Redevelopment of site to provide 7 x 3-bed, 3-storey town houses with sun terraces to front and rear and off street parking at front, conversion of former public house to provide a retail unit (A1) at ground floor with ancillary storage and staff facilities at first floor and 2 x 2-bed self contained flats at second floor involving a part single, part 2-storey rear and single storey side extension, external staircase, vehicular accesses to Vicars Moor lane, car park at rear and associated plant and landscaping.

In an email to their supporters, Mike and Sharon set out their main objections.  They also say that they have not entirely given up hope of seeing the Green Dragon reopen as a pub.

The text of the email message follows.

Dear Friends
 
It has been some time since we last made contact with you regarding our aim to Save The Green Dragon. At that time, despite the massive support of the local residents and the unanimous support of Enfield Councillors, it seemed that all hope was lost and our beloved Green Dragon could not be saved.
 
In all honesty, that situation hasn't changed that much, but we haven't given up, and have over the past couple of months continued talking with Enfield Council, with various local groups and with Enfield Councillors who remain supportive. Whilst, very disappointingly, the most likely outcome remains that the developers will have their way, it is not yet impossible that The Green Dragon could be saved.
 
The reason that we are making contact with you now is that the developers have formally applied to Enfield Council for planning permission to turn The Green Dragon into a supermarket, 7 townhouses and 2 flats.
 
The application can be found by following this link -
 
http://planningandbuildingcontrol.enfield.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=NRMSDCJN28000

We intend to object to this application for planning permission. We feel that the proposed buildings (other than the existing pub building) are ugly and out of keeping with the rest of the area. We think that the fact that the architect has put forward previous projects of modern 'blocky' developments in Lambeth, Brent and Tottenham High Road as 'precedents' shows an absolute failure to understand the wishes and tastes of the people of Winchmore Hill. We feel that the plan to knock down aspects of the pub building in order to replace them with a characterless double height extension is unacceptable. We feel that the area would be better served by a rejuvinated pub than by yet another supermarket and more expensive housing. We feel that aesthetically the area benefits from the reten tion of its traditional character, including a rare and welcome space between buildings rather than with every square inch being built upon. We feel that, particularly with the planned cycle lane in mind, the pub carpark would be better used as parking for the pub and for others using the local shops than for yet more new housing, and, with the shops in mind, we feel that to allow the pub building to be extended to accommodate an even bigger supermarket will have an even more devastating effect on the local shops who sell similar produce.
 
These are our own opinions, we strongly recommend that anybody who cares about this issue should read the details of the application above in order to make their own. If you, like us, wish to object to the planning application, you can do so by following the link above, clicking on the description of the proposed change, then click on the 'Comments' tab, then log in and make a comment.
 
Please, if you do comment, it is very important that you don't submit comments that are based on an incorrect understanding of the application, nor on your own personal wishes. Objections should be based on material planning considerations, for example the visual impact of the development, the impact on light or privacy for those living near enough, the effect on Green Lanes if you think there will be one. etc
 
Ultimately, we would like to see Enfield Council follow the precedent set by South Cambridgeshire council in the case of The Pear Tree pub. In this case, as with The Green Dragon, a developer bought the pub and converted it into a shop using permitted development rights. This, as with The Green Dragon, was a short term plan to prove change of use before applying to develop the site. When the application for planning permission was applied for however, The Council refused it and then rejected a subsequent appeal. As part of his rejection of this appeal, the Council's Planning Inspector stated that conversion of pubs to shops "could be a way to circumvent policy restrictions that seek to prevent the loss of public houses as community facilities" he also said "Given that the appeal property was a public house, and not withstanding the need for planning permission and appropriate investment, there must at least be the p otential for it to be returned to that use"
 
Throughout this process, the developer has pointed to the low turnover of The Green Dragon in recent times as evidence that a pub on this site is not viable. Surely, by the same logic, the negligible turnover of The Big Discount Store since its arrival must be evidence that a shop on this site is also not viable. If the developer can say that a new, better managed, better marketed shop which sells produce more suited to the local population will be successful, then surely this same argument can be made for the pub.
Please, if you wish to object to this planning application, do so as soon as possible. The application is dated 11/09/15 on the council website so we only have limited time remaining to make our voices heard.

Cheers, take courage
Mike and Sharon McClean
On behalf of the Save The Green Dragon campaign

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