An “Update on the draft Local Plan” from Nesil Caliskan, Leader of Enfield Council has recently been pushed through many letterboxes . The letter from Nesil Caliskan, Leader of Enfield Council makes a number of very misleading statements about the draft Local Plan. Here are a few examples:
- “Enfield Council has a statutory duty to provide 1,246 dwellings each year, but the Government would actually like us to deliver 4,397 per year.” There is no statutory duty to provide any fixed number of homes each year. The London Plan sets out a figure of 1,246 new homes per year for Enfield but the actual number of homes to be provided needs to take account of constraints and opportunities, as well as the implications for the character of local areas. Enfield Council is trying to blame others for decisions that are their own but will have long-lasting negative impacts on the borough.
- “We also need a sound Local Plan to protect the majority of our Green Belt from the proposed national planning changes and the risk of uncontrolled development.” The Planning White Paper in 2020 mooted the idea creating ‘protect’ zones with identical levels of control to Green Belt. Unless the Council releases Green Belt through its Local Plan there will remain tight controls on any development in the Green Belt. The Government’s position is set out clearly in this email received from the Department for Communities and Local Government.
- “The draft Local Plan proposes development on just 7% of the Green Belt in Enfield to meet our housing need.” The statistic of 7% is irrelevant. What matters is the contribution that Green Belt makes in terms of preventing urban sprawl and protecting the countryside. The ‘Chase Park’ and ‘Crews Hill’ developments proposes in the Local Plan would be particularly damaging and would undermine the special character and identity of the western and northern parts of Enfield. Those areas are traversed by popular Rights of Way that would be spoiled by development.
- “Our plan also guards against the development of skyscrapers being built in inappropriate locations across our borough, so that we can continue to enhance Enfield’s historic heritage.” What the Council’s plan actually contains is proposals for a 23 storey skyscraper at Edmonton Green, 17 storeys at Enfield Town Station, 15 storeys at Southgate and Cockfosters station. Perhaps most damagingly, it also encourages 13-storey towers (the same height as the Civic Centre) at Palace Gardens with the Enfield Town Conservation Area, that would overshadow the historic market place and St Andrews Church. Because the Council made the calamitous mistake of permitting a skyscraper at Enfield Town (New River House), firm Local Plan policies are now required to stop that from becoming a precedent, rather than introducing new policies that encourage more towers.
- “The Local Plan was recently discussed at a Council meeting on 9 June”. The meeting on 9 June was in no way a discussion or meaningful debate. It comprised a number of pre-prepared soap-box speeches in a highly polarised and politicised pantomime. The decision to proceed with the Local Plan was carried only by dint of a Labour majority on Enfield Council. For the Labour party the Plan strategy is convenient because it provides cover for them to lump unpopular development into the most beautiful parts of Conservative-voting areas of the Borough.
Like everywhere in London and the south-east of England, housing affordability is a serious issue. But other authorities in London are taking a much more creative approach to maximising the opportunities for a mix of uses at industrial land. If Enfield Council were to take the lead from other authorities it would be possible to accommodate more high-quality development without wrecking the beautiful countryside that residents cherish.