Roger Blows attended the initial consultation event about plans by Transport for London (TfL) to build housing on both car parks at Arnos Grove station, which was held at Bowes Road Library on 19th June. He provided the following report back to the Broomfield Home Owners & Residents Association (BHORA) and to PGC.
I braved the appropriately wet weather and went to this event this afternoon. There were quite a number of (vocal) people there and very little in the way of detail. I gleaned the following:
This is (I was told) deliberately a preliminary consultation to see how locals react. A further consultation will take place later in the year, supposedly when more flesh will be on the bones.
A similar event was held last night about similar plans for Cockfosters.
Housing comprising 150 units is envisaged for the two Arnos car parks.
The developer is Grainger plc, a long-established builder and rental landlord.
TfL is a not-for-profit organisation and of course the returns from this development will not make a few people very rich but will be ploughed into making public transport even more pleasurable than it currently is.
All units will be rentals with a proportion (40%) reserved for key workers paying affordable rents.
They will be “car free” (i.e. no parking provision) and tenants will not be able to secure off-site parking eligibility.
As for aesthetics, I was assured that heritage sensitivity would be of course paramount, with the listed tube station fully respected. Finding an architect of the quality of Charles Holden (or the recently deceased I. M. Pei) might stretch the budget.
To the West of the station (Site A) a public square is envisaged, so on that side at least the housing blocks of unspecified height will lie some way back from the station building.
Site A stretches downhill and ends in a tree’d area - I was assured that these and other track-side wildlife habitats would not be damaged.
A reorganised set down/cab catching/bus stopping space in front of the station is planned (as is a lift in the station).
The development if it proceeds via planning consent might complete by 2023.
The TfL representative I spoke to made reference to CIL/Section 106 resources perhaps being directed to strengthening the Arnos medical centre.
Comments noted focused chiefly on the parking issues which BHORA highlighted three or more years ago, but the remorseless march of the district into urban status as distinct from suburban was also a source of grief.
Excerpt from display boards at initial consultation
At Arnos Grove Station Car Parks we believe there is the opportunity to:
Utilise brownfield, public sector land to help deliver around 150 new private and affordable homes for rent;
Preserve and enhance the setting of the Grade II star listed London Underground station;
Through quality design, create a positive relationship between the new development and the local area;
To create a new public square to the immediate west of the station;
To encourage a shift to more sustainable modes of public transport and reduce the need to travel by car in the local area; and
To deliver a car-free development, with the exception of disabled car parking for both station users and new residents.
I am not sure that it will reduce vehicular congestion in the area. We may find that it simply pushes pick-ups and drop-offs to the surrounding streets. TfL should look at the proportion and number of cars entering the parking area that are simply picking-up or dropping-off.
This is what will happen if there is no allocated parking for these proposed dwellings. Most families have cars in London, the residents of the proposed housing will need to put their cars somewhere, probably in the surrounding streets. Anyone who has tried to park in Arnos grove will know it is a nightmare at the best of times. Especially since the land behind the shops has been sold off to private parking companies. Then we have the matter of commuters who won't have a car park to use, they will drive to the next station ie Bounds Green which doesn't have a controlled parking zone, so they can effectively park for free further congesting the likes of Warwick Road, which already is a rat run thanks to the incompetence of previous TFL traffic measures surrounding the widening of the A406 in the Bounds Green quadrant. This area is supposed to be the boundary for ULEZ, I would like to know how building flats would do anything but worsen the air quality in the area. It beggars belief it really does. There are parts of Enfield where the density of property is nowhere near the south of the Borough, yet the council/TFL seems hell-bent on putting as many flats in our area as possible.
Talking at a local RA AGM last evening, Bambos MP highlighted that 21 tube station car parks across London are currently slated for such housing development. What he didn’t say in a short, wide ranging, and therefore necessarily detail-lite talk, was that the intent was clearly flagged in the draft London Plan as, amongst other things, being another step away from the dominance of space hungry cars and encouraging more of us towards active travel. No doubt there’s going to be many a toe trodden on that particular journey but the long term direction of travel is more than clear: private cars are now at the very bottom of London’s travel hierarchy –officially.
The contrast between Sanjay Merchant's and Karl Brown's recent contribution to this topic are stark, and the 'dyed-in-the wool' petrol-head contributors to this website would do well to note that even the Government now seems to understand that driving around London in family cars, often with only the driver on board, is not sustainable. After all few places worldwide can boast better public transport that our city, and far too many Londoners are currently under-exercised, and would do well to walk or cycle more often.
And bear in mind that the parental school run for their children can also deprive children of needed exercise. Finally I was struck by the fact that Sanjay M. seems to assume that, because may families have cars, they have a right to a parking place; I don't think that assumption holds water.
David, firstly where do you get London has better public transport than many other comparable cities in the world? In terms of value for money versus reliability, London has been found to be firmly towards the bottom of any league tables that compare our city against others.
I am also not sure were your petrol head reference comes from, I am specifically playing devil's advocate at the ramifications of putting housing in a totally inappropriate place, and the knock-on effect in the surrounding areas. Don't forget that business suffers as much as anything else when local parking becomes prohibitive.
With regards to the school run, I used to walk 2 miles each way to and from Minchenden School in the 80s. But what is the relevance of that to people possibly keyworkers who might need cars to travel to work? Does a hospital porter in chase farm travelling from Arnos Grove, want to hop on 2 or more modes of transport to make a journey that takes 15 minutes by car? When we have a world class transport system yes open the debate, but we don't especially in the Enfield Area. It serves a purpose, nothing more.
With regards to public transport being underutilised, have you ever been on the train into Moorgate during the rush hour, or the Picadilly Line into King Cross?