The Lateral Property Group have submitted an amended version of their planning application to develop the Fox pub and its car park. Following public consultation and discussions with Enfield planning officers, the new application is for an increased number of flats (54 rather than 44), of which 30 per cent would be classified as "affordable" (compared with a target set by the Mayor of London at 50 per cent).
Planning application summaries compared
17/03634/FUL | Redevelopment of site involving partial demolition of existing buildings to provide refurbished public house (A4) and commercial unit (A1-A5, D2) on the ground floor together with erection of 44 residential units comprising (25 x 1 bed, 14 x 2 bed and 4 x 3 bed, 1 x studio) involving Part 3, Part 4 storey side and rear extensions with associated car parking plant, hard/soft landscaping and amenity space at first floor. | Public House 413 Green Lanes London N13 4JD.
17/03634/FUL | Redevelopment of site involving partial demolition of existing buildings to provide refurbished public house (A4) and commercial unit (A1-A5, D2) on the ground floor together with erection of 54 residential units comprising (31 x 1 bed, 22 x 2 bed and 1 x studio) and Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5 storey side and rear extensions with associated car parking, cycle parking, plant, hard/soft landscaping and amenity space at first floor (as amended by revised plans received). | Public House 413 Green Lanes London N13 4JD
A significant change to the design is the addition of an additional fifth storey/fourth floor to the new blocks behind the pub, taking up the area currently occupied by the car park and function room. This is set back to reduce its visibility somewhat. The elevation below gives an impression of the size of this new building.
In contrast to last year's documentation, the new application is short on information about the restructured pub, especially as regards its interior floor plan and the location of the "flexible" function room. However, the Planning Statement Addendum includes arguments to justify the chosen size of the function room, its importance to Palmers Green and the relevance of the Fox's status as an Asset of Community Value. See the extracts below.
The original Edwardian pub building that features at the junction of Green Lanes and Fox Lane would be retained and refurbished as part of the proposals with the newer extensions demolished. The new pub would extend to 364 sq. m at ground floor level, 153 sq. m at basement level and an 89 sq. m manager’s flat above. The pub would include an 82 sq. m flexible function space (excluding the 13 sq. m private function room access corridor) which is intended to accommodate the existing groups that currently use the Fox’s function room. This represents a reduction of 58 sq. m based on the current function room size of 140 sq. m (please see section 6.4-6.13 for further detail on the function room). The new function space would offer the ability to be integrated into the remainder of the pub when not being used by groups through the use of removable furniture and bi-folding doors. The new pub building will extend to a width of 40m curving around the junction of Green Lanes and Fox Lane and will include a new build extension to the pub along Fox Lane for 17m. In addition to the Manager’s flat, the refurbished pub building will accommodate residential accommodation at first and second floor level. The refurbished pub building will accommodate the reintroduction of the original bell tower that was lost through historic alterations to the pub.
10.6.4 The Fox’s designation as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) is a material consideration to be taken into account in the determination of the Planning Application. However, as established in relevant appeal decisions, the weight to be attached to the designation is a matter for the Decision Maker based on the circumstances of the case as the principal purpose of the Asset of Community Value legislation is to provide communities with the right to bid for a designated site should it be put up for sale. The ACV legislation does not give the community a right to buy an asset and from a planning perspective, the purpose of the legislation does not seek to prevent otherwise acceptable alternative forms of development being delivered.
10.6.5 The application seeks to retain the original Fox building and the pub use on site. Although recent changes to permitted development rights have removed the ability for pubs to change to retail (A1), financial and professional services (A2) and restaurant (A3) uses without the need for planning permission, it is proposed to attach a Planning Condition to the permission requiring that the pub only be used for A4 (pub) or AA (drinking establishment with expanded food provision) purposes. This would mean that the use of the pub would be protected even if there were future changes to permitted development rights. 10.6.6 The Fox was listed as an ACV due to its use by the local community as a public house. It is understood that in recent years the use of pub has declined, and its state of repair has deteriorated materially reducing its attractiveness further. This applies particularly to the function room which over the twelve-month period between October 2016 and October 2017, was used an average of 1.3 times per week or 5.7 times per month for an average of 3.3 hours per event. This results in the room being used for less than four and a half hours per week and it therefore is unused for the vast majority of the time.
10.6.6 The layout of the function room with a separate bar at the rear requires an additional member of staff for busier events or requires customers to pass through the pub’s back of house and kitchen to purchase drinks from the main bar. This results in an inefficient or sub-standard operation. The only level access to the function room also requires passing through the pub’s kitchen and back of house areas. Despite the infrequent use of the function room, many of the costs such as business rates, insurance and utilities are fixed. As the function room is a later, more modern edition to the original pub building it also cannot be used as an extension of the main pub area when not in use and is therefore redundant for the vast majority of the time. Star Pubs and Bars and the current landlord consider that the function room is not suitable or viable in its current form.
10.6.7 As noted above, the weight to be attached to an ACV listing is a matter for the Decision Maker. There are a number of relevant appeal decisions that cover pubs in London including The Alexandra, Fortis Green, London, N2 9EY (CR/2015/0010 and APP/Y5420/W/14/3001921), where the Inspector gave some weight to the ACV listing although did not consider that that local community in that instance had demonstrated that the loss of the pub would prevent the community from meeting its day to day needs. Furthermore, The Ship in South Norwood, Croydon, APP/L5240/C/16/3145967 considered that the pub’s designation as an ACV did not outweigh the advantages of providing much needed housing and securing a viable use for the building. These Decisions were made prior to the publication of the draft London Plan in December 2017 which as will be detailed further below, is considered to increase the weight to be attached to the provision of housing.
10.6.8 The proposed development seeks to retain the ACV listed pub use on the site. The matters to be considered in considering the proposed development are therefore the extent to which the changes to the pub will affect the benefit provided by the facility to the local community and following the changes, if any, whether the local community will continue to be able to meet its day to day needs. It is also relevant to note that even if the proposed development were considered to reduce the benefit provided to the local community to the degree that the community was no longer able to meet its day to day needs, it would still be possible for the overall benefits of the development to outweigh this, as identified in the appeal decisions identified.
10.6.9 The new function room represents a reduction of 58 sq. m compared to the existing function room. Notwithstanding this, the new room will have level access, will be better integrated with the remainder of the newly refurbished pub and will have a dedicated entrance from Green Lanes. Level access to the new function space is also provided directly from the pub’s entrances along Fox Lane without the need to travel through back of house areas and accessible toilet facilities will be included within the newly refurbished pub. Layouts have also demonstrated that the function room will be able to accommodate each of the two main groups that currently use the space with the weekly Salsa classes and Talkies events held once every two months. The room will have a capacity of up to 144 (120 in cinema layout). In addition to this, the refurbishment of the pub itself into a higher quality family pub providing food and open for longer periods of the day provides an opportunity for increased non-function room community use of the building along with the potential for greater use of the function room itself.
10.6.10 Indeed, it is evident from the large number of representations in support of the proposals, that a refurbished pub would be likely to be well-used by the local members of the community including a number who do not currently visit The Fox. Indeed, a number of the objections to the application also mention in-principle support for the refurbishment and retention of the pub. It is therefore considered that the overall community benefit currently provided by The Fox will not reduce as part of the application proposals and has the potential to increase.
10.6.11 In respect of the community’s ability to meet its day to day needs, there are 15 other function and community rooms with 1.25 miles of the site (roughly a 10-minute walk) at an average distance of 0.85 miles and with a range of capacities between 10 and 450 (average 141). It is difficult to see on this basis how a smaller but better-quality function room as part of the new Fox would prevent the community from meeting its day to day needs.
10.6.12 On the basis of the above, the changes to the designated ACV would be positive in that they would provide for the ongoing viability of a facility currently used by the community and provide the potential for extended use of the facility by a wider cross section of the local community. As a result, there is no negative impact associated with the loss or reduction in quality of the ACV that need to be outweighed by other benefits. Notwithstanding this, the benefits and impacts of the proposed development are considered at the end of this Section of the Statement.
10.6.13 In summary, it is considered that the ACV listing can be given some weight in the consideration of the subject planning application. Overall, the proposals result in a smaller but higher quality function space with the refurbished pub offering the potential for more frequent and varied community use. It is therefore considered that the retention and refurbishment of the ACV listed pub is a positive weighing in favour of the proposed development.
The deadline for commenting on the application is 16th March, but might possibly be extended.
We cannot object to this proposal on the basis of the size of a community room - not when it will provide genuinely needed affordable housing, genuinely needed residential housing, genuinely needed refurbishment of the local pub and genuinely needed investment and regeneration of the high street. As a combination, this redevelopment benefits vastly more people than can possibly be offended by its height or the dimensions of the community room.
We must also consider whether our objections to size and height and lack of trees is actually just because of a feeling that the Edwardian character of the area must be preserved at all costs - even though the immediate area surrounding the site is not actually Edwardian at all. You need to get over the bridge for that.
The Council will not approve an application that reduces the sunlight/daylight of the surrounding residences, especially those on Devonshire Close, so how does this application actually harm anyone?
I can't say the architectural style is the kind that sets my heart soaring, but I like it a whole lot more than that grotty car park and the dilapidated state of the Fox. Red brick is an expensive material and Im thrilled they design does not use ugly cladding of the kind used elsewhere and it's actually brick all the way round the development, not just the bits visible from the high street. Natural materials like the timber soffits do not go out of style. I daresay the perforated metal grills will look naff at some point but they can be easily replaced. And all that aside, my opinion of whether I like the building or not is way down the list of priorities of whether it is giving more to the community than it is taking away.
It's never going to be perfect, it's a question of whether it is good enough in exchange for all the other benefits. For me, it is.
I do think that as Natasha says we need to be careful of letting the great be the enemy of the good. For me it’s all about whether we get a refurbished Edwardian pub to announce pg and help us regenerate. The Fox is dying in front of our eyes.
What if they just walk away? sell it to a developer who then wants to make it residential and is prepared to close it and board it up until they get what they want, which they might eventually given the housing crisis.We could end up with an eyesore indefinitely. I am not trying to detract from the community use especially as I put in the ACV but there are risks so we need to decide when we have got a deal as good as we can reasonably expect. Conversation topic!
That said the new build in the car park is enormous
Sue raises a good point – is there a desire for another “Bromfield House”, where the option of a restored G2 building to house a Toby carvery plus horticultural and artistic use of the stableyard may well now be seen as a reasonable shot compared to three decades of scaffolding, huge levels of sunk resource for no benefit, and a very uncertain but probably unpromising future.
One thing is certain, we’re going to see more large, and tall, housing sites locally over the coming years; it’s either that or we all die much earlier or build on the green belt; and neither alternate seems to carry much support.
On the sale to a developer issue: the ACV would give the community a prior window to bid in any sale proposal. Someone would however need to take on that lead.
As an aside, input which includes, “Fox Lane still has the air of a quiet country lane”, rather than the 6000 vehicle per day pseudo A Road it actually is, does risk undermining a document.