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TOPIC: Redeveloping the Fox: Opportunities and risks

Redeveloping the Fox: Opportunities and risks 20 Dec 2016 01:05 #2589

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When, back in September, we published a short item stating that there were plans to build housing on part of the site occupied by the Fox, the article attracted an unprecedented degree of interest on the website and our Facebook page.  A clear indication that, even though they may not visit the pub very often or at all these days, local people regard the iconic corner building as a central feature of Palmers Green and are concerned about its future.

fox palmers green smallNot far away, in Trent Park, we've seen how it is possible for local people, both as individuals and organised into campaigning groups, to work together with developers to come up with solutions that meet both the commercial requirements of the developers and the desires and concerns of residents and visitors to the park.

It's an excellent sign that just like Berkeley Homes, the developers of Trent Park Mansion, Hard Hat, the consultants engaged by Star Inns, are planning to present their ideas to the public and seek feedback.  The consultation will naturally be on a rather more modest scale than the Trent Park events.

Last week people from around a dozen local community groups and organisations got together to create an initial "framework" that could be  used to stimulate and focus discussion by all concerned parties so that the Fox becomes an every more important and profitable asset both for Star Inns and for the social and cultural life of this part of North London.

The document produced as a result of last week's meeting can be read below.

Redevelopment of The Fox in Palmers Green

These notes aim to help community groups and individuals respond to the proposed redevelopment of The Fox pub on the corner of Green Lanes and Fox Lane N13. They are also offered to the developer and Enfield Council as a preliminary indication of the opportunities and risks in the development of an important building registered as an asset of community value.  

 

Background

In June 2015 Southgate District Civic Trust was successful in registering The Fox as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) - the first ACV anywhere in the borough. The ACV registration notes in particular the importance of the function room to the community.

The Fox is owned by Heineken UK.  Hard Hat, a specialist development consultancy representing Heineken, have organised meetings with a series of groups during October and November. These seem to have been about gathering initial responses about developing The Fox. Heineken “want to invest in the change our colleagues and neighbours believe will make their communities better places to live and to work".

The Fox is currently underused by its local communities. If Heineken can bring new life to this registered asset of community value, it will be welcome. There is an opportunity in the development to create a lively social and cultural hub for Palmers Green and beyond.

The early meetings with Hard Hat broadly suggest the refurbishment of the ground floor of the main building and the re-development of the function room and car park as a combination of commercial on the ground floor and residential above. These early meetings appeared to be unaware of the statements made in the ACV and of the value the community places on the events space.

Following these initial meetings, interested local groups, organisations and individuals felt that it would be helpful to develop a framework for future discussions.

Contributions from the following helped to form this framework:

  • Fox lane Residents Association
  • Lakes Estate Conservation area
  • New River Crescent and Park Road neighbourhood
  • Southgate District Civic Trust
  • Green Lanes Business Association
  • Friends of Broomfield Park
  • ‘Play Streets’ Enfield
  • Other residents from the locality
  • Organisations using The Fox for arts events, including:
    • The Comedy Club
    • Talkies Community Cinema
    • The Vintage Blues Music Association

We hope that this framework is helpful in stimulating informed discussions between local communities, developers and Council to ensure that the proposals create an important and profitable asset both for Heineken and for the social and cultural life of this part of North London.

 

How can the development enhance Palmers Green?

We welcome development ideas that can provide:

  • a well conserved landmark building in a key location on the high street
  • a much needed ‘gastro pub’ serving a choice of good quality food and drinks at reasonable prices.
  • a welcome inclusive atmosphere for all - especially those not attracted to some other pubs in the area-  women, families, community groups etc.
  • ‘open all hours’ a day-long provision from coffee/breakfast to evening
  • a large event space that can generate cultural life of Palmers Green (see below about event space)
  • provide much needed housing

 

How can the event space be developed?

The current function room is underused, but could be enhanced to become a significant part of the business. It is currently successful as a space for comedy, film, dance, parties and public forums.  

There is an opportunity for Heineken to be even more ambitious with this element of the business, creating a well-designed performance space suitable for comedy, music, film, dance and drama. Making such a venue attractive to a range of arts providers can draw in substantial numbers that would spend on food and drink. Making the space flexible will enable its use for a range of other functions.

The size and format of this space needs to be sufficient to take medium sized audiences (<150>).

Also consider:

  • Acoustic separation between bar and event space
  • Acoustic insulation for residential
  • Avoiding late night nuisance
  • Flexibility for a range of uses.

 

Impact of development

The Fox is an important landmark building commanding a visual prominence in Palmers Green high street. If realised, the current proposal to restore the original Edwardian building, including the reinstatement of the former cupola on the roof, is welcomed.

The redevelopment of the site should ensure that the existing building maintains primacy in appearance and function – a bar and event space with new residential attached, rather than an overdeveloped residential addition which dominates the existing building.

In this regard, careful consideration should be given to:

  • materials used in restoration of the existing building conform to its original design;
  • The Fox Lane residential extension, which should:
  • establish visual and physical separation from The Fox itself. The pub is designed as a stand-alone building which the residential development should respect;
  • reflect the scale and style of residential properties to the west (Lakes Estate), rather than the scale of The Fox building;
    • be set back from the highway
    • use landscaping to soften its appearance
    • use materials that have durability – perhaps brick facing and stone reveals. The intention is not to ape The Fox but to acknowledge the architectural style of the area, which is dominantly Edwardian.
    • provide a good mixture of larger and smaller residential units
    • provide some affordable homes

 

What issues may concern the public locally?

It is likely that a number of issues would arise during the development planning process.

The obvious ones are:

  • Visual impact of the development
  • Parking – for visitors to the pub and for residential
  • Access to site - services and parking
  • Traffic flow
  • Emergency services
  • Loss of privacy for adjoining houses
  • Noise and other nuisance
  • Impact on services – schools, medical, transport etc.
  • Hours of operation

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Redeveloping the Fox: Discussions with local groups 09 Jan 2017 20:21 #2590

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There's an interesting report about the discussions between representatives of the owners of the Fox and the various local community groups in this week's Enfield Gazette - you can read it online at bit.ly/2iU0KWz .

The paper uses the Fox's appearance in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to create an eye-catching headline. But local people will be paying more attention to the news that the revamped pub could have a performance space seating 150 people.



The photo (taken by Anne-Marie Sanderson) shows David Williamson of Talkies Community Cinema. The current function room at the Fox is one of Talkies' main venues, which explains David's involvement in the discussions.

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Redeveloping the Fox: Opportunities and risks 04 May 2017 12:48 #3004

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What's the latest news with the proposed Fox development? Are there any concrete plans/dates yet?

Thank you

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Redeveloping the Fox: Opportunities and risks 04 May 2017 17:04 #3005

As of the Conservation Advisory Group on the 19 April, the developers had not gone beyond seeking pre-application advice from the Planning department and consulting with local groups. Pre-application advice is confidential so we haven't seen either their approach or what the outcome was.

The assumption is that they are re-working their plans in reaction to all this, but will approach the CAG with them in due course. Again the assumption is that they will go ahead with the public consultation when the plans are more settled. I don't know which of these will come first. Both these steps would precede the submission of the formal planning application which will of course be open for public comment to the planning officer dealing with the application.

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Redeveloping the Fox: Opportunities and risks 08 May 2017 09:16 #3010

Love the cultural and mosaic ideas proposed for the Fox Pub. If the plans are accepted then the Fox will certainly help enrich people's lives of all ages and elevate and ennoble PG.

Unbelievable of the concept that such an iconic building that was magical enough to be featured in a Harry Potter film could had been demolished. Such characterful looking buildings add romance to an area and must be treasured.

Parking to be fair should only be reserved for the disabled given that we are all on the good mission of reducing Air and Noise Pollution within our area for the benefit of the whole country. Anyway, we have very good transport links in the area of PG and of course there is always that old fashion way of travelling - 'Walking' for those of us living within the area, and which is highly recommended as part of our well-being, certainly the Fox's promising cultural status will soon be well worth that walk.

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