8-9-20 Planning Reforms Update
Action is needed! Many environmental, heritage, planning and other organisations have expressed concern about the Government’s proposed overhaul of the planning process, titled Planning for the Future [However, developers seem to like it] There are two main areas of concern:
- While the Green Belt will be nominally protected in the ‘Protected’ category, there will still be enormous pressure on Local Authorities to release Green Belt to meet housing targets. This would happen during the Local Plan revision process, as it does now.
- The proposals front-load all the decision-making and remove several layers of democratic input to the planning process. Planning proposals for land that is put into the ‘Development’ or ‘Growth’ categories will go through an expedited process with little or no public input.
A large number of organisations expressed their shared concerns in a letter to The Telegraph on September 3.
Hasty Planning Reform Signatories
SIR – As a broad coalition of planning, heritage and environmental organisations, we are united in our vision for what is needed to deliver affordable, good-quality homes, while protecting our precious green spaces, and putting local people at the heart of decision-making
The planning system needs careful, sensible reform rather than the major, hurried and untested changes set out in the Government’s planning White Paper, which is akin to demolishing the whole house just to mend the roof.
The planning system may not be perfect, but we urge the Government to rethink its White Paper, as it is not the answer to boosting economic growth post-coronavirus. Nine in 10 applications are already approved by councils, and the 10 biggest developers have more than 400,000 plots in their land banks. Hundreds of thousands of homes that could be built are not.
Ministers should invest in an evidence-led planning system that is empowered to meet the Government’s environmental, social and economic objectives.
CPRE’s Crispin Truman also wrote to The Times on August 24, calling the planning reforms an attack on local democracy and saying that they will achieve the exact opposite of levelling up and building back better. You can read his letter Here
The main ‘Changes to the Planning System’ consultation document is very technical and explains the housing need calculation [you can see it Here]. But the Government has also asked – rather obscurely – for ways to adjust the formulae to account for land constraints, such as the Green Belt. Enfield RoadWatch will make a submission to the Government in line with that of like-minded organisations, such as CPRE and Civic Voice.
How can you help?
- CPRE has started a petition against the planning reforms. Please sign it and share it. Petition
- Civic Voice is also being very proactive on this issue. Visit their website to learn more about the proposed planning reforms, to take a survey [before Sept 14] or to join in one of their activities. Civic Voice
- Write to the Government – once we have submitted our response we will share it here so you can write in yourself. Please check back.
- Write to your MPs expressing your concerns and asking them to work against the proposed changes. Find your MP
This is an important issue that we are monitoring closely, along with the progress of Enfield’s new Local Plan. Please check back for updates. Thanks for your continued support.
19-8-20 Check out the CPRE bulletin for an update on green space issues in London and a good summary of the Government’s proposed planning changes CPRE_London_eBulletin_August_2020
Enfield RoadWatch is now working with Enfield Climate Action Forum [EnCaf] a coalition of over 60 groups from all over the borough who are concerned about many different environmental challenges. Visit the EnCaf site to learn more EnCaf
The first meeting of the new Environment Forum was held yesterday. Enfield RoadWatch does not have an official seat at the table but the Chair, Cllr Chibah, indicated that different groups will be invited to participate depending on the agenda. The Forum has a very ambitious agenda for the year and we remain concerned that Green Belt and other green space issues will not get an adequate hearing. Visit the Council’s site to see the proposed agenda for the year. Environment Forum 18 August 2020
Enfield’s Cabinet has adopted a Climate Action Plan. Link through to the Palmers Green Community newsletter for a review and to read the Plan.
3-7-20 A sad day for democracy in Enfield.
The Council has voted to abolish the Green Belt Forum and two other statutory committees dealing with planning in conservation areas and public transport. The administration sent out the agenda last Friday for a virtual Council meeting on July 1 including a change to the constitution to replace the three committees with one tightly-controlled Environment Forum, which will meet monthly but with restricted participation from outside groups. Only 21 groups and one rep per group. We don’t know yet which the groups are or how badly you have to behave to be excluded. For many groups which rely on specific volunteer expertise in different areas, one representative to cover all these very complex issues is totally inadequate.
It seems to be a blatant move to reduce democracy in the borough and cut out public input. The small Conservative group voted against it but the Labour councillors supported the change and there was no time to get an email-your-councillor campaign going. All very concerning! But it’s never too late to express an opinion. Let your councillors know what you think about this – and anything else. Find Your Councillors
Here is how they justify the constitutional change:
- Environment Forum
Separate Boards deal with issues affecting the environment and local areas under the current structure. To avoid an inconsistent approach to these issues, it is considered that an overarching Board with local interest groups feeding into this Board would be an effective way for all interested parties to liaise and consider issues together. This Board would deal with issues that currently are undertaken separately by Green Belt Forum, Conservation Advisory Group, and Public Transport Consultative Group. Membership of the Forum would consist of 7 Members of the Council with up to 21 representatives from local groups with an interest in the natural and built environment.
Local Green Belt Update [June 2020]
- Enfield Chase Restoration – the Council is moving forwards with an ambitious woodland creation scheme as part of its climate action plan. The project will see up to 170 hectares of new woodland with over 100,000 trees planted over the next few years. At this stage they are waiting for approval of their plans from the Forestry Commission. Exact locations for tree planting this winter are being finalised and a call for volunteers will go out once the first phase has been finalised. You can read more about the project Here
- Enfield Road Fields – The horses have gone and rumours have been swirling, so we called the horse owner for information. He said that tending to them in the present circumstances had become difficult because he lives in Essex so he has sold them. His lease expires in October/November and, if it is renewed, he may replace the horses. The fields remain firmly in the Green Belt and cannot be built on while they are.
- Whitewebbs Park – Again there are lots of rumours about a purchaser of the lease but nothing verified yet. We will post something definite as soon as we hear it.
- Crews Hill – We understand that there is still a desire in the Council to develop part of the area for housing. This can happen only if the land is removed from Green Belt protection, which would happen in the Local Plan revision process. It has been hard to monitor the process during lockdown but another consultation should happen in the next few months. We will let you know when that happens so you can voice your opinions. Here is a March article from The Independent with an update Green Belt in Enfield facing major threat
- Jubilee Cottage planning application – Update – the application was refused! This is the white house on the North side of Enfield Road opposite the Enfield Road fields. An application has been submitted to demolish the existing buildings to build a day nursery. An earlier application was rejected as being inappropriate development in the Green Belt. There are many other issues too, including road access and loss of housing. The Enfield Society has submitted an objection.
Thanks to everyone who wrote to the Mayor earlier this year asking him to stand firm on his commitment to preserving the Green Belt. He listened and he has responded very firmly to the Planning Inspectors. Thank you, Mayor Khan!
- This article has a good synopsis of his response, which also includes reducing the housing targets and removing the presumption in favour of development in town centres and around transport hubs. onlondon article
- If you’d like more in depth information, go here Official documents Of particular interest is ‘Response to the Panel Recommendations’ which gives specific statements relating to Green Belt protection.
The All Party Parliamentary Group has released a blueprint for protecting and respecting the Green Belt. This should inform the Government’s policies!
Crews Hill update. The garden centre currently run by Wyevale has had a temporary reprieve. The site was purchased last year by a subsidiary of Berkeley Homes but development cannot move forwards while the site still has Green Belt protection. A 2-year lease has been signed with British Garden Centres who will take over the site later this year. This does not mean that the site has been saved. We still need to fight for its Green Belt protection to remain in place!
Thanks to everyone who visited our stall at the Palmers Green Festival and at Canine Capers in Arnos Park in September. They were both lovely events and we were happy to talk to so many people who support our Green Belt campaign and wanted to join our email list. Please read our latest update Here Together we are stronger!
Make sure you are receiving updates from Enfield’s Local Plan Team. Enfield’s Local Plan Newsletter
There are many ways you can contribute our campaign, from volunteering to making a donation. Find out more at Supporting the campaign Or click on How Can I Help? where the most current needs will be highlighted in red.
Check out our new social media awareness campaign which highlights the many benefits of the Green Belt. Please share it widely! I’m not just a Pretty Place!
Please sign our petition at change.org.uk
We are up to 22,772 and counting . . . .!
Have you signed yet?
Our Campaign – a Snapshot – Enfield’s Green Belt and Open Spaces are under attack in the Local Plan Revision process. The Council would like to remove 7% or more of the Green Belt, including Crew’s Hill, for development. This is an area equivalent to more than Trent Park or Forty Hall, two Durants Parks or ten Jubilees or Oakwoods! Developers are working hard to make this happen, despite the fact that there is sufficient brownfield and previously-developed land for housing and infrastructure. [Read more about that here: Space to Build in Enfield] Enfield RoadWatch is fighting to protect the Green Belt for current and future generations because of its many benefits. [Click here to learn about them Why is the Green Belt important?] Please add your voice to the campaign.
What is the Local Plan Revision Process? The Local Plan is Enfield Council’s vision for the future. The revision process includes pubic consultations when you can have your say. The first consultation closed at the end of February, 2019 and we hope the Council received a loud and clear message that Enfield’s residents want to keep all the borough’s Green Belt and Open Spaces. [You can see more information about the first consultation under the Consultations tab.] The next consultation will happen late this year or early in 2020 but we need to keep up the pressure while decisions are being made behind closed doors. Please help us! Click through here to find out how: How Can I Help?
About Enfield RoadWatch
Enfield RoadWatch began life in 2015 to protest the potential development of an important area of Green Belt South of Enfield Road – but because of the importance and many benefits of the borough’s entire network of Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land [MOL] the action group now has a broader focus. Please help us to save the Green Belt for the community and future generations!
Enfield RoadWatch is not alone, please visit Supporting the campaign for a list of people and associations who are also concerned and wish to save the Green Belt.
- To raise awareness of the five main purposes of the Green Belt according to the 2012 National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the wider benefits it provides including improving air quality, supporting ecosystems and biodiversity, assisting the reduction of flood threats, creating opportunities for local food production, and providing areas for recreation and sport.
- To identify any threats to the Green Belt, including any changes to Green Belt designations and pressure from inappropriate development proposals, and to share these with validated evidence with supporters on a regular basis.
- To highlight the need for developers/bodies/authorities to comply with national policies and Mayoral commitment to first develop/ regenerate existing Brownfield sites and to discourage tactics such as land banking, which cause unnecessary pressures on protected green space to meet housing targets.
- To campaign against and challenge any proposals to threaten the Green Belt in collaboration with community partners/associations, groups and volunteers, both locally and nationally by highlighting threats, gaining support and furthering our aims of protecting the Green Belt.
- To securely keep and maintain a database of members so updates can be circulated.
- To create and maintain appropriate communication channels with supporters, through the development of a user-friendly and functional website, regular news updates, and the use of social media to highlight both the benefits of and threats to Green Belt, locally and elsewhere, and to arrange meetings as appropriate.
- To raise funds to further our aims through donations, grants, contributions, fund raising activities and any other lawful means.
- The Action group is made up of residents who represent the community opposed to any development on Enfield’s Green Belt. Ian D’Souza is the Chair, Carol Fisk is the Vice Chair.