The land now known as The Glebe Fields or ‘the land South of Enfield Road’ has a rich and deep history. Here you can follow its story through maps and quotes from official documents up to today. We hope the story won’t end with houses and/or a school on the site and that future generations will also enjoy its beauty and the many benefits it brings.
1777 Enfield Chase divided. Field goes to church as Tithe Lands
1934 Included in the ‘green girdle’ proposed by Middlesex County Council.
[Note: this is referenced in Middlesex: Old and New by Briggs 1934 as “a large tract of farmland SW of The Ridgeway”.]
1938 Green Belt [London & Home Counties] Act.
This empowered Local Authorities to buy land to keep it open as Green Belt. Some of the Green Belt we know today is land acquired under the 1938 Act. An important feature of the Act is the provision that Local Authorities may not sell land acquired under the Act without permission of the Secretary of State. The 1938 Act also made provision for landowners to enter into covenants that their land would be treated as part of the Green Belt. Compensatory payment or other arrangements may be made.
1944 The church submitted plans for a development on the fields consisting of 1373 houses, 12 shops and 1 church. On 9/10/44 the plans were discussed [no details in the Council Minutes] and the Engineer was authorised to negotiate ‘along the lines indicated.’ On 24/10/44 an amendment was proposed to buy some of the land for ‘working class housing’. This was defeated.
1945 Planning permission was evidently granted on 27/3/45 but the application # 2881 is not in the archives and probably no longer exists in the planning department. For some reason [aftermath of WW2? the pending legislation?] nothing happened for 2 years, then …
1947 [i] The Town & Country Planning Act came into effect, leaving the 1938 Green Belt Act unchanged.
[ii] The Development Plan created by Enfield Local Planning Authority that year designated all open land north and west of Enfield as ‘Metropolitan Green Belt’. They ignored the alternative Local Green Belt category.
[iii] At some point that year, however, Enfield applied to the Minister of Health [responsible for housing issues] for permission to purchase the field compulsorily for housing. The Minister refused because the field was shown as open space on the Enfield Development Plan and therefore already protected.
[iv] Planning permission for the church development was revoked on 12/5/47.
1948 [i] The Vicar of Enfield went after compensation, there was a public enquiry and the case rumbled on into 1951.
[ii] Tree Preservation Orders were instituted in accordance with the 1947 Town & Country Planning Act. In the Council Minutes, the Engineer refers to a map of affected trees but that no longer exists.
1950 The Engineer stated that the approximately 34.25 acres had always been considered by the Council for use as open space. He suggested that the new Development Plan should so designate it. The Council recommended so considering.
1951 [i] In a written statement, Enfield voiced strong support of the Green Belt concept and its intention to preclude any development incompatible with the overall principles.
[ii] The official Development Plan lists the 34 acres of agricultural land South of Enfield Road as a Proposed Acquisition between 1952 and 1956. [No reason found why it did not happen.]
1962 Enfield reiterated its strong support of the Green Belt. The Enfield plan was approved by the Minister in March 1965.
1975 Enfield’s Development Plan targets the field as an area that does ‘not contribute to the Green Belt and where the issue is whether it should remain in the Green Belt’. It is described as grazing land, isolated from the rest of the Green Belt by Enfield Road and by the slope of the land. A decision was required on its future use. However, this opinion did not hold sway and the borough continued to value and protect the field within the Green Belt.
The fields remain an important part of the Green Belt. In November 2014, when the borough’s current Development Management Document was adopted, the fields were included in the Merryhills Brook Valley section of Enfield’s Green Belt, which was described as “an important area of high quality open landscape with a special character which is highly valued.”
Enfield Characterisation Study | Final Report | February 2011 15
Despite that, the threat of development has been hanging over the fields for many years. Our campaign began in August 2015, when Fairview New Homes asked the London Borough of Enfield [LBE] for a scoping opinion for an Environmental Impact Assessment for the erection of an 8-form entry secondary free school with a 4-form entry sixth form college on the fields at Enfield Road EN2 7HX.
Fairview soon identified Wren Academy as their school provider. Wren is a Church of England school based in Finchley. www.wrenenfield.org/
Over 100 people met in Cotswold Way to protest this proposed encroachment on Enfield’s Green Belt. [See our Enfield Independent news page.] After some intense lobbying of politicians in all the parties and keeping the issue in the public eye, the new Wren Academy will be built on the old Chase Farm Hospital site instead.
But the battle is not over. During the Regulation 18 Local Plan Consultation, which ran from December 2018 until the end of February 2019, Fairview made submissions offering developments of various kinds on ‘the land south of Enfield Road’ no fewer than 23 times. What is going on now behind closed doors?
Fortunately our ranks have grown exponentially and we will not give up on the fields easily. More than 29,000 people have signed our petition, mostly online at www.change.org and nearly 2,000 have signed up for our email updates. We hope we can count you among them. If not, please join us! Also the press have repeatedly picked up on our campaign activities.
And we are not alone. Enfield RoadWatch is supported by Western Enfield Residents’ Association [WERA], The Enfield Society [TES], Federation of Enfield Residents’ and Allied Associations [FERAA] and many other organisations and individuals (see our Supporting The Campaign page). We are all totally opposed to any development on this or any other Green Belt land in the borough.
Some key events in the campaign so far:
November 11, 2015 Our petition was presented to the Full Council in front of over 200 residents who took the time to come out and support us. It’s not too late to sign the petition! www.change.org Search for ‘Protect Enfield’.
February 3, 2016 The Conservative Councillors group sent out a press release stating that the Greater London Authority [GLA] had advised that there are no special circumstances to justify building homes on this Green Belt Land. Conservative Group Press Release about Enfield Road Green Belt 3-1-16
February 5, 2016 The proposed school, Wren – Enfield was approved by the Department for Education to move into its pre-planning phase. This involves working with the Education Funding Agency [EFA] to secure a site. Wren – Enfield’s preferred site was the Enfield Road fields and housing development was still on the table.
February 12, 2016 Enfield’s preliminary consultation for a new Local Plan closed. Thanks to efforts by Enfield RoadWatch supporters and other civic organisations, more people responded than ever before. 82% of responders were strongly opposed to building on the Green Belt.
December 2018 – February 2019 Enfield’s Regulation 18 Local Plan Issues and Options consultation was open to the public. The underlying draft local plan suggested de-designation and development of Crews Hill Land grab in Crews Hill! and a full Green Belt Boundary survey to determine if other parts of the Green Belt could also be released for development. The consultation, which was not designed for the faint of heart, did not reflect these intentions and the Council did not publicise the consultation very well – so Enfield RoadWatch swung into action. We took out ads in the local paper, had nearly 25,000 fliers delivered, sent out information via email and social media, were out on the street in The Town and at Crews Hill and provided explanations of the consultation documents and suggested responses on our website. The Mayor of London agreed with us Is the Council cruising for a bruising from the Mayor of London? We now await the results of the consultation. A second consultation is due at the end of 2019 or early 2020.
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