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Planning & Development

Planning & Development

In this section of the website we will be providing background information and reporting the latest news about specific local planning and development issues affecting the Palmers Green Community. 

This page presents all Planning & Development articles in reverse chronological order.  To focus on a particular aspect, use the navigation menu in the left-hand column.or click on a subject tag.

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nppf 2018 croppednppf 2018The planning consultancy Lichfields has published a guide to the new revision of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The NPPF sets out the Government’s planning policies for England and how these should be applied. It provides a framework within which locally prepared plans for housing and other development can be produced.

Lichfields' 6-page Insight Focus summarises the most important aspects of the Government's 73-page document:

This Insight Focus highlights the main areas of policy change affecting housing delivery, from the very start of the planning process (identifying housing need) to councils ensuring a wide-ranging supply of sites and setting out the developer contributions expected to be made on implementing the resulting planning permissions.

It also highlights the different implications that revised national policies will have at the local authority level and beyond, looking in particular at local plan progress around the country, current completions and the scale of developer contributions.

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Following the cabinet meeting on 25th July, Enfield Council has issued a press release about its planned approach to taking forward the Meridian Water project - major redevelopment of land adjacent to the North Circular Road in Edmonton to provide both housing and employment land.

The Council intends to take overall charge of the project, rather than use a Master Developer.  This follows the collapse of negotiations with potential master developers - first Barratt Homes, then Pacific Century Premium Developments (PCPD).

meridian water initial development sitesMeridian Water: The three sites to be developed first

The Council plans to proceed in the near future with construction on three sub-sites, including one - Willoughby Lane - which is immediately adjacent to the new Meridian Water railway station (due to open in 2019).  The council would retain ownership of the land, enabling it to have more control over design and build and prioritise sale of new  homes to local people.

The text of the press release, issued on 26th July, is below, and links to the papers discussed by the cabinet are underneath.

Meridian Water 'back on track'

Published on: 26 July 2018

  • Enfield Council’s Cabinet sets a clear direction for accelerated delivery of Meridian Water with Council control.
  • Development partners will be sought for the first two housing sites, delivering nearly 1,000 new homes, with procurement for the site around the new train station to begin immediately after the summer through the GLA’s London Development Panel.
  • A development partner will also be sought for the first major employment site, with a new employment strategy endorsed to secure jobs and meanwhile uses of Council-owned land.
  • The bid for £120 million of government funding through the Housing Infrastructure Fund will be progressed to connect all parts of Meridian Water to the new train station and improve the frequency of train services.
  • Further land acquisition has also been agreed.

Enfield Council’s Cabinet last night agreed in principle a series of decisions that, subject to call-in, set out a clear way forward for the flagship Meridian Water development, which will see 10,000 new homes and thousands of new jobs delivered.

The decisions mark the end of the procurement process for a single ‘Master Developer’, in favour of the Council taking the lead responsibility for setting strategies, working up the masterplan and deciding the optimal phasing plan for delivery.

Speaking about the decisions, Cllr Nesil Caliskan, Leader of Enfield Council, said:

“Today marks a watershed moment in the delivery of Meridian Water.

“Meridian Water is back on track and the way we are delivering is genuinely new for a local authority.

“Going forward we will be in control and we will be the custodians of the place Meridian Water will become; investing council money and resources to ensure that local people are the principal beneficiaries of the new homes and jobs that will be created.

“We will select development and other partners to work with the Council to bring forward specific parts of the regeneration, whether that is for housing delivery, new employment spaces or meanwhile uses, and we will hold the vision for Meridian Water and oversee its delivery.

“I am pleased to say that we are also ready to accelerate delivery and will bring forward the first housing site, which will see hundreds of private and affordable homes built around the new train station. A second housing site and a site for a major employment hub will then follow.

“Meanwhile, we are progressing our detailed business case for the Housing Infrastructure Fund which, if secured in full, will see £120 million of government funding to connect all parts of Meridian Water to the new train station and improve the frequency of train services.

“We are also working on a dedicated employment strategy which will bring high quality jobs, life and some exciting uses to Meridian Water, very early in the development.

“The Cabinet and I are absolutely determined to create a legacy to be proud of in the borough, whilst also delivering a return on the Council’s investment, and I look forward to making further announcements as we rapidly secure real benefits from the Meridian Water regeneration.”

Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, James Murray, said:

“Meridian Water is one of the most important regeneration projects in London, with the potential to provide thousands of affordable homes and job opportunities for local people. I am pleased that the Council Leader, Cllr Nesil Caliskan, has expressed her commitment to delivering much needed new and genuinely affordable homes.

“I welcome the new direction Enfield Council has set out for how these benefits will be realised, with direct control and investment by the local authority. We are working, on behalf of the Council, to secure government funding from the Housing Infrastructure Fund for Meridian Water, and with the new train station opening in May 2019, the future looks very promising.”

Enfield Council’s vision is to make Meridian Water and the wider area a new district in London where people want to live, work and visit, and the Council has set itself eight principles to guide how it plans for and delivers the project:

  1. Meridian Water will prioritise the benefits for local people and reduce inequality in the Borough
  2. Meridian Water will create a thriving new economy for the Lee Valley
  3. Meridian Water will be a memorable place bursting with character, bringing the best out of the existing opportunities
  4. Meridian Water will offer a choice of affordable homes for local people
  5. Meridian Water will make the planet better and create new opportunities for growth as a result
  6. Meridian Water will be a vibrant mixed-use environment, incorporating liveable places to be enjoyed by everyone regardless of ability, income, age and cultural background
  7. Meridian Water will be designed to prioritise walking and cycling by choice - almost car free
  8. Meridian Water will proactively engage and empower communities and continue to grow by responding to the changing needs of local people and society

The new Meridian Water Station will open in May 2019, unlocking the area for commuters, taking passengers south to Stratford London and London Liverpool Street and north to Stansted and Cambridge. Train connections from Meridian Water are just 17 minutes direct to Stratford London, 24 minutes to London Liverpool Street, 22 minutes to London City Airport and 43 minutes to Heathrow.

Following the Cabinet decisions, three development sites are being brought forward, with the first site being offered via the GLA’s London Development Panel immediately after the summer. This will allow for a quick procurement process open to all the organisations and joint ventures who secured a place on the panel.

Importantly, these sites will be offered on the basis of a Development Agreement rather than a sale of the land, allowing the Council to retain control, for example to ensure the quality of design and build, and prioritise sales of new homes to local people first.

  • Site 1 is at Willoughby Lane, which has an outline planning consent in place for 725 homes. The site is currently being remediated by the Council and is adjacent to the new Meridian Water Station which opens in May 2019.
  • Site 2 is the Leeside Road Gas Holder site. This site will be included in an outline planning application for the wider area, which the Council is bringing forward, linked with the Council’s bid to the Housing Infrastructure Fund, which will see workspace on the lower floors with around 200 affordable homes above.
  • Site 3 is around 2-3 acres alongside the North Circular where Harbet Road meets Argon Road, which would be suitable for a new employment hub, creating around 900 new jobs.

The Cabinet also endorsed the work programmes to secure £120m of funding from the Housing Infrastructure Fund, which has already been short-listed by Homes England. This funding, if secured in full, will deliver:

  • An increase in train services at the new station, initially to a minimum of four trains per hour but with the capacity for this to increase to six trains per hour.
  • A new central spine road – known as The Causeway – which will link the whole of Meridian Water to the new train station. These works also include flood alleviation measures; three new bridges over Pymmes Brook and the Lee Navigation; pipe works for the Council-owned energy company energetik; new cycle and pedestrian links and junctions; and land remediation to support the early delivery of homes.

Together, these measures will increase access to Meridian Water, unlock currently landlocked and inaccessible parcels of land, attract inward investment, increase land values and facilitate the levels of new homes and jobs desired by the Council at Meridian Water.

Finally, the Cabinet also endorsed the principles of a major new Employment Strategy for Meridian Water, which will now be developed further.

Speaking about the potential for new jobs at Meridian Water, Cllr Nesil Caliskan, Leader of Enfield Council, said:

“We have seen major occupiers recently take space at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Battersea Power Station and White City and our long-term strategy includes attracting strategic occupiers to relocate to Meridian Water, where we have the potential to offer the attributes required by growth sectors in a better location than many parts of London.

“The scale of the Council’s control, vacant land and existing industrial buildings offers a significant opportunity for the Council to start to deliver on our employment vision from the outset by creating the right conditions for existing and new enterprises to be established, nurtured and grown rather than waiting for the long-term development.

“We are therefore developing a series of offers across our land ownership at Meridian Water, including bringing in some exciting meanwhile uses, the development of a cluster for fashion manufacturing and the creation of London’s largest open workspace for makers, creators and artists.”

As part of this approach, a further land acquisition was approved at 4 Anthony Way, part of which is occupied by Building Bloqs, who are potential partners of the Council for the open workshop.

Since April 2014, the Council has acquired 87 acres (35 hectares) of land at Meridian Water. It currently owns 64% of all developable land within the red line boundary of the site and has to date committed £157m to land acquisition.


Agenda and papers for Enfield Cabinet meeting on 25 July 2018

Meridian Water programme update

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one fox lane brochure screenshot

fox and pure gym cgi

The retail unit taking up part of the original pub has been let to Pure Gyms for a period of 20 years

The Fox and its car park are (or were) up for sale.  The estate agents Knight Frank, under instruction from the current owners of the site, have been inviting potential developers to bid to purchase the freehold of  "One Fox Lane", the final date for bidding being Wednesday 11th June.

The brochure issued by Knight Frank reveals that the part of the pub building designated for retail use has been let to Pure Gyms for a period of 20 years.  This will take up the area which was once a theatre plus the existing retail premises to its left - its floorspace is actually larger than the new Fox pub, on the ground floor at least.

The refurbished pub has been leased to Star Pubs & Bars (a subsidiary of Heineken) for 125 years at a peppercorn rent.  Star will operate is as a "high-quality food / gastro pub (similar to The Kings Head in Winchmore Hill)".

The Fox has now closed and the car park has been blocked off by large concrete obstacles.  However, there is still a van in the car park - presumably one that was abandoned here and is now trapped.

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Adrian Day's Avatar
Adrian Day posted a reply #3983 18 Jul 2018 22:54
Surprised to see they claim the River Lea is 500 meters away :)......think they mean the New River
Colin Younger's Avatar
Colin Younger posted a reply #3984 18 Jul 2018 23:47
The image of the new development is as overpowering as I feared. Really respects the Fox and the surrounding area. For some reason I can't open the brochure; censorship?
PGC Webmaster's Avatar
PGC Webmaster posted a reply #3985 19 Jul 2018 00:26
Sorry about the problem with the link to the brochure. It's now fixed, but you may have to clear your browser cache (Ctrl+F5).
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #3989 19 Jul 2018 09:49
Fantastic news about PureGym, really super, just what the high street needs (see earlier comments about the need for greater variety beyond A1-A3 retail for local high streets to prosper).

Pity the council wanted an extra level for more affordable housing, looks super otherwise.
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #3990 19 Jul 2018 09:54
Quick check though - I thought retention of the function room (albeit smaller than some wanted) was meant to be a condition of the planning? Is this now totally absorbed by the PureGym??

Bit naughty if so and allowed by the Council without going back to planning.
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #3992 19 Jul 2018 14:33
Best and final bids are in....
Colin Younger's Avatar
Colin Younger posted a reply #3993 19 Jul 2018 14:38
The old function room disappeared as part of the plan long ago - that's one reason why there was so much opposition. There is a small space tucked in to the side of interior of the pub space supposedly with movable doors with sound proofing which is said to allow a space to be used for various purposes at suitable times. What's the community equivalent of "greenwash"?

The other main complaint was that the development buried the Fox and was inappropriate to the area. I think that the brochure illustration proves we were right.
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #3994 19 Jul 2018 15:03
Oh so the flexible function room/area for Talkies etc is still there then, as proposed. Phew, thought we'd lost that. When discussed previously it was clear it offered sufficient capacity for the majority of (infrequent) uses.

As for burying the Fox, not quite, though would be better with the extra level requested by the Council.

Still a lot better than the dingy car park that's been there the 10 years I've lived in the area. Looking forward to the pub and gym opening.

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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

Original application

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.

New application

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

To view the new application, visit and enter 17/03634/FUL in the search box.

An additional storey added to the new blocks

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.

green lanes elevation new fox

As regards the design and aesthetics of the new blocks, despite the trenchant criticism of members of the Conservation Advisory Group, these are little changed from the proposals that were exhibited last year, as is clear from these artist's impressions.

new fox from corner of fox lane

new fox from fox lane

Reconfigured pub and function room

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.

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Colin Younger's Avatar
Colin Younger posted a reply #3669 06 Mar 2018 16:15
So we have a new proposal with only 14 days to commen from the date of the letter (2 March). See 17/03634/FUL

We surely can't let this go by after all the dicussion of the earlier proposals?
Colin Younger's Avatar
Colin Younger posted a reply #3672 06 Mar 2018 19:29
N Morris's Avatar
N Morris posted a reply #3673 06 Mar 2018 19:48
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.
Sue Beard's Avatar
Sue Beard posted a reply #3684 07 Mar 2018 07:47
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
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #3690 07 Mar 2018 14:02
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.
Colin Younger's Avatar
Colin Younger posted a reply #3695 07 Mar 2018 17:40
The revised deadline is 23 March
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #3712 15 Mar 2018 12:24
I don't think I've ever agreed word for word more with any comment on this site than the above posted by N Morris.

Hits the nail on the head from every single possible angle and is why I voiced my support last time round and will again this.
PGC Webmaster's Avatar
PGC Webmaster posted a reply #3728 22 Mar 2018 00:04
A group of people drawn from the local stakeholder groups that have been involved in dialogue with Lateral, the firm which will be redeveloping the Fox pub and its car park, have released details of the objections that they will be submitting to Enfield Council.

They have issued two documents, one relating to the Fox's status as an Asset of Community Value and the future of its function room, the other to the architectural design of the housing blocks proposed for the car park area.

The Fox as an Asset of Community Value (ACV)

Comments on the revised proposals for the redevelopment of the Fox PH

You can submit comments via the Enfield Planning Portal

The deadline for submitting comments to the planning application is this Friday, 23rd March (a week later than the original deadline).

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The following is a brief outline of some of the points raised at the Palmers Green Ward Forum on 8th February.

There is another summary, by Sarah Dodgson, on the Enfield Voices Facebook page, produced as part of the Enfield Voices Citizen Journalism initiative.  There is also a video recording of the meeting made by Francis Sealey that he live streamed on Facebook (which not everyone can view - I'm one of those who can't, so I'm relying entirely on the notes I made at the meeting).


  • Councillors Ahmet Oykener and Mary Maguire were at the meeting, along with three of the four members of the Palmers Green Safer Neighbourhoods Team (Metropolitan Police Service)
  • There were around 15 members of the public (not all from Palmers Green ward).

Safer Neighbourhood Team briefing

  • Burglaries up, robberies down.
  • Weapons sweeps carried out in Tatem Park.
  • Use of Criminal Behaviour Orders has been effective in reducing drug dealing associated with particular retail premises near Green Lanes.

Crime/Anti-Social Behaviour

  • Gun incident at Marina restaurant - many police officers in attendance (Safer Neighbourhood Team unaware of this)
  • Fly tipping
    • Oakthorpe Road a particular blackspot. 
    • Rubbish in some mews alleys is blocking fire exits from flats above shops.
    • Council usually remove fly tipping quickly when notified
  • Several fires deliberately started in Broomfield Park.
  • Question: Have later opening hours of Lodge Drive car park resulted in any problems?
  • Promised additional street lighting near MacDonalds was never installed, so that the route from the car park is poorly lit.

Controlled parking zones

  • Residents in Windsor Road and Elmdale Road are organising petitions for CPZs. When they have gathered enough signatures, the petitions will be submitted to the Council, after which the consultation process will begin [This point was corrected on 15 February using information provided by Cllr Mary Maguire]
  • The Council will consult residents in neighbouring streets before any decisions.

Cycle Enfield/Green Lanes road layout changes

  • Bus stop boarders:
    • Do passengers have priority over cyclilsts?
    • Potential risk for partially sighted passengers
    • Signing for cyclists is inadequate
    • Mary Maguire undertook to investigate these questions.
  • At least one stop line for cyclists missing
  • Hazelwood Lane junction with Green Lanes
    • Complaint that the narrowed end of Hazelwood Lane is causing congestion
    • Counter argument that the narrowing has reduced danger to pedestrians walking along Green Lanes
    • Under the original Cycle Enfield proposals Hazelwood Lane would have been entry only*, but this iShe dea was abandoned because of objections from members of the public
    • Council considering removing some parking spaces to ease congestion
  • Pedestrian lights near Lodge Drive junction take too long to turn green
  • Complaint that no pedestrian phase planned for the Green Lanes/Hedge Lane/Bourne Hill junction
  • Give Way lines on side roads set too far back, meaning that motorists can't see when it will be safe to enter Green Lanes**
  • Oversized vehicles delivering to Sainsburys were persistently parking in the cycle lanes.  The point was made that it is not appropriate to use such large lorries to deliver to small shops.
  • Cars were persistently parking in the cycle lane near Ruth Winston Centre.
  • Funding has now been made available and the main carriageway between Barrowell Green and Hedge Lane will be resurfaced
  • Some discussion about the scope for planting more trees or other greenery.

Redevelopment of the Fox

  • Mary Maguire said that the Fox developers were due to meet LBE planning officers that day
  • She suggested that discussions had focussed on the amount of affordable housing to be built
  • A new planning application likely before the end of February, followed by another public consultation
  • The Fox would probably go before the planning committee on 11th April.

Shopping parades in Green Lanes

  • A general discussion took place about empty shops, poor choice of shops and the failure of shopkeepers and landlords to maintain the appearance of retail units and the flats above them.
  • Ahmet Oykener said that some thought was being given as to how to improve the high street economy and its appearance in Palmers Green.  He was hoping to set up a meeting with Peter George, Assistant Director for Regeneration.  It was suggested that they should walk along Green Lanes to appreciate the problems.

 "Meeting the Housing Challenge in Enfield"

  • The title of a briefing that Ahmet Oykener had given to the over 50s Forum in the morning.
  • Print-offs of PowerPoint slides provided
  • More than 50% of council housing lost through right to buy
  • 3387 homeless households/10,000 homeless people in Enfield
  • LBE has restarted building new council flats after a 30-year gap
  • Landlords charging extortionate rents for emergency overnight accommodation
  • LBE has set up its own fully-owned company to buy up properties to house homeless families (Housing Gateway) - this saved £2.5 million in 2016/17
  • Meridian Water: Barratts deal fell through because they didn't want to uphold the position they had stated when bidding - affordable housing the main issue.  Now hopeful that talks with a second bidder will succeed.  Meridian Water can't be compared to the Haringey Development Vehicles as it involves new housing, not large scale redevelopment of former council estates.


*At the meeting it was stated that Hazelwood Lane was to be one-way, but I think this is incorrect - only the junction with Green Lanes would have been one-way.

**My view is that having the lines set back is good, showing that pedestrians and cyclists travelling along Green Lanes have precedence over cars emerging from side roads.  When a driver sees there are no pedestrians or bicycles coming, they can then move forward to the end of the road and wait there.

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Joe Mark O'Connor's Avatar
Joe Mark O'Connor posted a reply #3619 12 Feb 2018 14:59
I just like to say a huge Thank-you to Councillors Ahmet Oykener and Mary Maguire for discussing and taking a interest in my suggestions and views on reviving PG and Green Lanes Shopping parades and planting more trees or other greenery in the area. This will give it a uplifting and more approachable feel for shoppers then it does at this present moment, we need more added greenery not only to be surrounded by beauty but more importantly to combat air pollution which will be beneficial to our health and we must also keep our community shops booming by giving them TLC...
David Hughes's Avatar
David Hughes posted a reply #3620 12 Feb 2018 18:07
At the foot his notes of the February 8th February 2018 meeting of the Palmers Green Ward Forum Basil Clarke wrote this:

"My view is that having the lines set back is good, showing that pedestrians and cyclists travelling along Green Lanes have precedence over cars emerging from side roads. When a driver sees there are no pedestrians or bicycles coming, they can then move forward to the end of the road and wait there."

I agree with him, and at first that was how it was. But during my most recent two or three rides the tendency has seemed to be driving straight up to the point where the driver can see the traffic (though steadily), which can be a car's width into the carriageway. I suspect that this change has arisen because there are few cyclists so far, and hopefully things will improve as increasing numbers of people cycle. In the meantime cyclist would do well to keep a sharp look out.

Commenting on drivers' approach to cyclists generally I'd say that most pass too closely, especially where room is tight, for example on narrow side roads with continuous lines of parked vehicles on both sides of the road. Feels like impatience to me, and I understand the attitude of mind given the freedom drivers have had to make their own rules, but times 'they are a changing'. On the assumption that the cycle lanes do become a success there will be a need for much more driver patience/care on o road generally.

And finally: I happened to be cycling when the rain came down hard last Saturday morning, and subjectively it seemed that drivers were driving more quickly, and by and large , closer to me. Almost as if , like me, they would be happy to get there.
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #3622 13 Feb 2018 16:23
Collaboration inevitable beats conflict, as with communicating vs shouting. Good news, well done. (Green) Fingers crossed.
Mary Maguire's Avatar
Mary Maguire posted a reply #3628 15 Feb 2018 08:31
A minor correction to the notes:

Under the item CPZ (Controlled Parking Zones): it should read that residents in Windsor Road and Elmdale Road are organising petitions for CPZs. When they have gathered enough signatures, the petitions will be submitted to the Council, after which the consultation process will begin.

Thanks Mary. I've corrected the original article. Basil

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london plan graphic

Public consultation on the draft of a new London Plan (more formally, the Spatial Development Strategy for Greater London) will run from 1 December this year until 2 March 2018. There will be a consultation event at Enfield Civic Centre on 12th January, and other events in central London.  These will take the form of briefings followed by question and answer sessions.  For full information about how to comment and about the subsequent Examination in Public see

The new plan, once it comes into effect in two years time, will be extremely important in guiding the city's future development and how it copes with the forecast increase in its population:

As the overall strategic plan for London, the new London Plan sets out an integrated economic, environmental, transport and social framework for the development of London over the next 20-25 years. It puts good growth at the heart of planning, seeking to improve the health and quality of life for all Londoners, reducing inequalities by tackling disadvantage and discrimination and ensuring that the city is a more pleasant place for all its citizens to live, work and visit. It seeks to use the continued growth of the city as a positive asset to accommodate the various challenges that London will face in the future to ensure all Londoners can share in the benefits and successes of London..

The aspects that have attracted the most attention so far are housing and transport.  On housing, faced with a target of 65,000 new homes a year, the emphasis is on increased density and more "genuinely affordable" housing.  The call to build much new housing close to public transport hubs and to provide few or no parking spaces slots into the main theme with regard to transport - a marked reduction in reliance on cars and a switch to walking, cycling and public transport.

The draft plan also places emphasis on the provision of affordable workspace, protection for the green belt, support for the night-time economy and protection for London's pubs.

The two videos here provide a quick introduction to some aspects of the draft plan.

But no short summary can possibly capture everything of importance in this 500+ page document, so I would recommend reading or at least skimming through it - it's actually quite readable.

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Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #3539 15 Jan 2018 00:11
Karl posted these comments to the Active Travel discussion thread , but because he also writes about non-travel related aspects of the draft London Plan, I've copied it across to here as well. Basil

The London Plan is an incredibly important document for us all and is now out for consultation. This is rather long in the hope of getting that message through.

Yesterday, along with about 60 others from north and north east London, I attended an open consultation session led by the Deputy Mayor, supported by about eight of his planning team and a at least one industry specialist. This is life changing stuff and I would strongly suggest people cast an eye over it, at least summary text (the body itself is 600+ pages before appendices and supporting documents) and input any thoughts - there is a link towards the top left of the PGC site.

All written comments will be available to the appointed independent Inspector who will then decide who and what will be called forward as part of the EIP (Evidence in Public – a rather serious cross examination of disputed aspects), expected Autumn this year, ultimately leading to the plans formal adoption, which is expected in Autumn 2019. In the meantime the current London Plan, with its Mini Hollands and more, will continue to stand.

There are major strands affecting pretty much all aspects of our life be they housing, transport, leisure or work. One theme ripping through its heart and affecting everything is pressure on London’s finite space: there is only so much London but forecasts are for an awful lot more Londoners and each will seek housing, education, jobs, travel options and so on. Where to put it all?

The Mayor has developed something called “Good Growth” to meet this challenge which spans sustainable, inclusive growth (think more housing and public spaces accessible to all) and a also a big slug of environmental care (think health and wellbeing, a commitment to 50% green cover to make London a national park city, and a modal shift so that 80% of all journeys are not made by car).

We heard that the Viability Assessment of all this has been passed successfully.

Transport, and specifically a cycling element, has obviously been a local hot topic for the last few years. There was not a glimmer that this is actually seen as “hot”, rather that the plan’s focus on discouraging what is highlighted as the space hungry car in a space stressed city will be a theme noticeably affecting change in Londoners lives for future decades. The local stretch of the north circular did get a mention and with some hope that there will be efforts to ease the impact on its neighbours in particular, but also that future focus for the A406 will be to prioritise freight, cycling and walking, not other.

Housing, specifically the shortage of it and what was termed the “crisis of affordability”, received much focus. (We heard that 80% of the private homes currently being built in London are affordable by only 8% of its population.) The density matrix has gone, in its place a design led approach which will look at a proposal in the wider round, eg does it fit rather than stick out like a sore thumb and does it have the wrap around infrastructure, such as schools, to be a viable addition to its local community? Individual size requirements for people to live in will remain, so perhaps think more “up” rather than out for many future developments.

The draft plan seeks 66,000 new London homes pa, although we heard of an independent report claiming this needs to be 95,000 to meet actual needs. We’re currently at about 35,000 pa. Enfield is currently targeted at 798 new homes pa, achieves 600-650, and will be called to meet roughly 1900pa under the new plan. That’s a big, big ongoing uplift.

There will be a strong presumption in favour of smaller sites (that’s 1 to 25 homes) which are expected to pick up 50% of the overall total. (Readers may recall the recent London press comment about new homes in back gardens.)

Enfield has significant issues: 50% of our land is either green belt / MOL or Strategic Industrial Land, and each is protected under the plan. Add in that Enfield is one of four boroughs being targeted to bring forward more Industrial Land (that’s different to SIL) and where will all the houses go?

Town centres and transport hubs (and PG seems to fit both) will be priority targets for new homes. Areas within 800m of both will be prioritised. For PG that would go well beyond the north circular, Broomfield Park and almost as far as Tatem Park and Barrrowell Green. Within such areas of proposed densification would be expected many more homes on small sites and perhaps higher-sites as well as multi use sites – think of homes on top of supermarkets and the like. Cars become unimportant because at these distances and concentrations, facilities are accessible via active travel means.

(Perhaps find a post of mine several years back when I said given the issues and decisions to be faced some way down the line, the then proposed cycle lanes were going to be the least contentious aspect facing PG locals. And here we now are.)

Of the 200000 new homes expected to result from Crossrail 2 (2035), a full 40000 are expected in Enfield – that’s the Lea Valley but also around the New Southgate spur, an “Opportunity Area”, one of nine in a London – think more stuff on the ground. PG is just on its border.

Providing some input, Enfield senior planners, highlighted that the borough is a low wage economy suffering a 5% wage gap with the London average. They want to close it in the same way they want to close the appalling huge gap in life expectancy between the east and west of the borough. That means more and higher value jobs, which might mean the jobs some travel too in central London become jobs people travel to in Enfield – an aspiration.

It’s easy to see as this unfolds the intense pressure being placed on space. The plan highlights that cars are very space hungry (think about looking for a parking space) as well as keeping people unnecessarily inactive with all that costs the NHS and people’s happiness and so cars become the unwelcome guest at this party.

I’ve highlighted many times over many years what is coming over the travel horizon and also how it would be more sensible and beneficial to prepare for it rather than seek to fight what is an immensely powerful, unstoppable incoming tide; well it’s just about to break. Cars – we’ll still have them, lots of them, but they will be put up with rather than lead any decisions as has been the case for decades.

The plan is there for anyone and everyone to comment on. Don’t say you weren’t warned. These are London issues, not personal, nor the result of an inadequate local council or its officers so best not mix up the agreed strategic response to facts with blaming a few local individuals; we’ve been through that loop once and it’s always worth learning from mistakes. This is everyone’s chance to add constructive comment based on best available facts and forecasts for the most serious assessment.

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At its meeting on 15th November Enfield Council's Cabinet agreed to continue negotiations with Metaswitch Networks about the possible construction of a new headquarters building for the IT firm on the land currently occupied by the Genotin Road car park in Enfield Town.

Metaswitch, located in three buildings in Enfield, wishes to consolidate on a single site.  As well as Enfield, it has been looking at the possiblity of moving its HQ abroad.

Metaswitch, described as "the world’s leading cloud native communications software company", was founded in Enfield thirty years ago with seven employees, but now has more than three hundred in locations on three continents.

Questions which complicate the issue include whether Enfield Town would retain sufficient car parking space without Genotin Road and whether the proposal is consistent with the new Enfield Town Master Plan.

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The Friends of the Lakes Estate Conservation Area have submitted an objection to the planning application by Star Pubs and Bars and the Lateral Property Group to redevelop the Fox pub and its car park. This follows a few days after an objection was submitted by Talkies Community Cinema.

fox redevelopment from fox lane artists impressionArtist's impression of the proposed Fox Lane block: "crude and unattractive ... its brutality is reinforced by the eight balconies and five double height windows set within further rectangular 'frames'"Like Talkies, the Friends of the Lakes Estate Conservation Area object to the proposed replacement of the current large function room by a much smaller "flexible space" within the main drinking/dining area.  They consider that this would not adequately satisfy Enfield Council's stipulation, when granting Asset of Community Value, that "any decision to develop the Fox needs to be sympathetic to the past history and significance of the building, and also take into account the current usage of the building by the local community to ensure that the development and reconfiguration of the Fox does not prevent or restrict usage by these groups going forward".  They suggest that this should be achieved by retaining more of the current pub's floor space, so that less than half is given over to the proposed new retail premises in Green Lanes.

As might be expected of a group whose primary aims include preserving the architectural character of Edwardian Palmers Green, the Friends' submission is mainly concerned with the architectural merits of the proposals.  They consider that the proposed blocks on Fox Lane are overly dominant and overwhelm the original pub building.  They consider that "The basic block form of the new build is crude and unattractive, and its brutality is reinforced by the eight balconies and five double height windows set within further rectangular 'frames'."

The Fox planning application is expected to go before the Planning Committee soon.  The meeting scheduled for 7th November has been cancelled and the next meeting is due on 21st November, meaning that there is still some leeway for groups and individuals to submit any objections.

Submission from the Friends of the Lakes Estate

The Friends' primary concern is the effect of the development on the setting of the Fox (which is now on the Local Heritage List) and its community value.

The Fox has a long history and is prominent member of the Palmers Green community. By way of background;

Asset of Community Value

The Fox is the oldest remaining pub in Palmers Green to have continuously stood on the same site. There has been a Fox on the site for over 300 years. It is also the only purpose built public house still remaining open on the main route between Wood Green and some way north of Winchmore Hill, the others being shop conversions with little architectural or historical merit.

The current building, of 1904, was built as part and parcel of the Edwardian development of Palmers Green. The size and grandeur of the building is a reminder that Palmers Green was once a place of enough significance to require a hotel and associated dining for travellers. Before the coming of the car, the Fox was the terminus of the horse drawn bus service into London, run by the Davey family of publicans who had stables at the back. Once the trams came, it was a major landmark on the journey from London. The Fox, then, holds a position of huge cultural significance in an area. It is a well loved landmark, social hub and community hub hosting film screenings, comedy nights and providing a meeting space for many local community groups.

The Fox, on the 21st of May 2016, was recognised as a Building of Asset of Community Value.

In agreeing that the building should be listed as an Asset of Community Value, LBE stated that “the nominator has clearly demonstrated various community activities are run on a voluntarily basis by the community”. The Council agreed that the facility promotes community cohesion, hosts public events and involves the voluntary sector, and it is realistic to think that there would continue to be social use of the building in the future. The activities held at the venue are considered to be of benefit to the local and wider community. "Thus any decision to develop the Fox needs to be sympathetic to the past history and significance of the building, and also take into account the current usage of the building by the local community to ensure that the development and reconfiguration of the Fox does not prevent or restrict usage by these groups going forward.

Proposed development of the Fox itself

There are concerns that the pub area is smaller than the proposed retail unit. This will have serious implications as to how the pub can be used by the community. The proposed space, which is intended for use by the community, is considerably smaller than the current space and reservations have been made about whether this will be sufficient a size for hosting future film screenings by Talkies Cinema. The Group believes the retail area should be smaller than the pub so that the Fox can continue to provide a usable and flexible space for the various community activities which take place.

Summary of Objections

  • The Fox Lane section of the development dominates and overwhelms the public house.
  • The design of the Fox Lane elevation is incompatible with its surroundings.
  • There is insufficient separation between the public house and the Fox Lane section of the development.
  • There is insufficient set back (to create the appearance of separation) between the public house and the Fox Lane development
  • The style of the new shop units in Green Lanes bears no relation to the adjoining shop fronts.
  • Again, the shop units crowd the public house with no separation.
  • The general scale of 1:200 is insufficient to determine the true implications of the street facing elevations.
  • Some of the proposed flats are below the GLA minimum standard.
  • Loss of community space within the Fox itself.


The artist’s impressions give a much clearer idea of the potential impact on the street scene than the formal elevations.

The comparisons with the height of the buildings of Pellipar Close are flawed, and made with no appreciation of the actual street. Those buildings (Pellipar Close) are set back from the back edge of pavement and effectively screened by trees. Further, views from the public domain do not reach above the eaves of the nearest block being cited. There are no easy views, of these adjacent buildings, in which the roofscape, above their eaves, and the Fox can be seen. This is particularly the case of the highest block (and its lift housing).

The design of the whole frontage on Fox Lane is wrong. In particular there is an issue with the second floor frontage. It dominates both Fox Lane and overwhelms the Fox. The basic block form of the new build is crude and unattractive, and its brutality is reinforced by the eight balconies and five double height windows set within further rectangular “frames”. The attempt to separate the new and old by the glazing infill fails to mitigate this.

At first floor level however these rectangular features divide the new frontage in terms of proportions in a way not dissimilar to the Fox’s frontage and its division by canted bay windows.

The concept of a signature approach the key gateway from the west along Fox Lane is unnecessary. It is not clear whether this has driven the looming rectangular elevation which collides with the adjacent maisonettes as seen from the approach, or is used to excuse structure. Whichever, it’s an unnecessary structure; the Fox should form the gateway as it has done since it was built.

The design of the new infill on Green Lanes neither compliments, nor adds to by contrast, the frontage of the shops/flats or the Fox. Everything about its appearance from the street scene is wrong, namely, shopfront glazing too high, facias ditto, first floor windows mis-matched and out of line with the adjoining shop units, front facing roof lights. In fact only the line of the proposed eaves directly relates to the adjoining shop units.

The Friends Group objects.


Talkies submits objection to Fox redevelopment plans (Palmers Green Community 30 October 2017)

Responding to the Fox development (Talkies news item)

Planning application

Fox redevelopment: Planning application submitted (Palmers Green Community 13 September 2017)

Fox registered as an asset of community value (Palmers Green Community 2 June 2015)

Friends of the Lakes Estate Conservation Area


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David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #3316 06 Nov 2017 09:44
Is The Fox in the Lakes Estate conservation area?

Glad I got my support in. Will double up via the missus this evening.
Colin Younger's Avatar
Colin Younger posted a reply #3651 25 Feb 2018 17:07
I don't think that the discussion of the application at the Conservation Advisory Group will have been widely read. So here it is.

File Attachment:

File Name: 20180225Fo...5-3.docx

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artists impression of fox redevelopmentHow the Fox development would look from Green Lanes - an artist's impression from the planning applicationAhead of consideration by the Enfield Planning Committee of the planning application for redevelopment of the Fox pub, which is expected soon, an objection has been submitted by Talkies Community Cinema.  The grounds are that the proposed replacement of the function room by a smaller "flexible space" would jeopardise the Fox's status as a registered Asset of Community Value.

Talkies has contacted its audience members with advice on how to use an Enfield Connected account to submit objections online (see below). Though Talkies has commented only on the function room, there are other aspects of the redevelopment plans that are controversial - for instance, the number of new flats which the developers plan to build over the area occupied by the car park or the appearance of the proposed new buildings.

The Fox was registered as an Asset of Community Value in June 2015 - the first such registration in Enfield. While this alone would not prevent its eventual conversion to retail (as happened with the Green Dragon) or even its demolition, it is a factor that the Planning Committee will have to take into account.  Key to the success of the application was the function room because of the various community activities that are carried out in it.  An inadequate replacement would thus jeopardise the pub's continuing community value.


The planning application for the Fox development will go in front of planning committee soon.

Talkies have been involved in discussions throughout the planning stage, but we conclude that the space planned to replace the current function room will be much more constrained and there is no guarantee that it will be affordable for the community it aims to serve.

Other community groups have raised concerns about other aspects of the development.

We have prepared a help sheet about how you can respond and let your views be known. We hope it is helpful.


Log in to, or register, your Enfield Connected account.

the page will look like this:

talkies fox guide 1

Then go to the Fox application - link

talkies fox guide 2

You can respond as an individual, amenity group etc.

Check whichever box you are responding to and add your comment:

talkies fox guide 3


The Fox is registered as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ (ACV). The developers say this about the ACV:

a) Retaining an Asset of Community Value

3.2 Following the successful listing of The Fox Pub as an Asset of Community Value, the retention and refurbishment of the building and community use have been prioritised in the planning balance over other development and planning policy considerations. Therefore, any development of The Fox Pub will not be able to avoid the significant additional costs and development constraints associated with refurbishing this locally important heritage building, and the provision of an improved function room or FFR for on-going community use in accordance with its ACV status.

3.3 If the building was not retained, the associated cost savings/reductions and removal of the development constraints would enable more value to be created, which in turn could then be used to fund additional onsite affordable housing.

3.4 Furthermore, whilst it is a positive local facility, the retention of the pub use (A4) is itself not the most commercially viable use compared to other land uses (e.g. more commercial A1, A2, A3, A5 on the ground floor), therefore the viability of the overall development is reduced both by the retention of the existing Fox building and by the retention of the pub use.

Seems a bit mealy mouthed about keeping the building and addressing the ACV – given an open book perhaps developers would prefer to knock it down and build something with better commercial value!

At Talkies we have limited our response to the loss of the current function room, to be replaced by a smaller flexible space adjoined to the pub. The current room can take up to 200 chairs but because Talkies needs to have a gap between audience and screen our largest number has been 135. The plans for the development show 140 seats, but they are crammed in and do not allow for a gap between the screen and the audience. If used for another performance event a stage would be needed and so similarly the numbers shown could not be accommodated. We also believe the space is too small for Music events, comedy club and private functions.

We are especially concerned that there is no undertaking by the developers to provide a lettings rate which would be affordable for not-for-profit community events such as Talkies. So should they wish, they can levy a fee that is too high to make our events financially unviable and just use the space as an extension of the pub. We recommend that conditions are attached to any planning approval which require an agreed number of community events at an agreed rate over the course of any year.


The overall view of Talkies Community Cinema is that the Asset of Community Value (ACV) is significantly and adversely affected by the proposals and could indeed be completely lost to the community.

The reduced size and new configuration of the function space mean that a facility that has been used for Talkies, music and the Comedy club as well as private functions will in future be reduced in size and functionality. The proposals show 145 chairs in the space. In reality when circulation space is included and, for film viewing, a suitable distance from the screen is made, the audience size would reduce to 80. This compares with a maximum for general use in the current space of 160 and for Talkies 135. Given that there will be a smaller audience if the plans are approved and that there is no guarantee that the space will be affordable for Talkies or similar groups, we have to conclude that the response to the ACV status is not yet satisfactory. We also have major concerns that once the development is complete there is no guarantee that the proposed function space will be used for community activities at an affordable rate. The developers have not yet outlined a specific undertaking to assure such use.

Should the planning approval be approved we believe there should be conditions attached to the approval which:

- secure use for a minimum of 20 days per annum at a rate affordable to Enfieldbased 'not for profit' organisations for events - we assess this as £25 per hour

- ensure that the acoustic insulation should be of a high specification to ensure that sound will not transmit between bar and function room.

You might be more interested in a wider range of responses. We hope this guidance is useful to you.


Responding to the Fox development (Talkies news item)

Planning application

Fox redevelopment: Planning application submitted (Palmers Green Community 13 September 2017)

Fox registered as an asset of community value (Palmers Green Community 2 June 2015)

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David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #3284 31 Oct 2017 09:49
Talkies sell 135 seats each showing? Wow, that's some serious business!
Basil Clarke's Avatar
Basil Clarke posted a reply #3285 31 Oct 2017 13:39

David Eden wrote: Talkies sell 135 seats each showing? Wow, that's some serious business!

Sarcasm is completely uncalled for.

Talkies is not a business. Unlike most modern businesses, it actually cares about its customers. As well as showing films which are sometimes entertaining, sometimes thought-provoking, often both, it helps form and cement social bonds between people and it helps its volunteers develop skills that they might not otherwise acquire.

There was a time when businesses cared about their customers, their employees and the general welfare of the country and world. A few still do, but even they tend to be gobbled up by greedy multinationals for whom dollar signs are the only symbols they recognise. Look what has become of Cadbury's and Boots.

There are many things more important in life than money (unless you're poor, that is, as so many people are today because their rightful earnings are being diverted into the pockets of top managers and shareholders.)
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #3286 31 Oct 2017 14:23
Save the socialist rant at the end, that all sounds very nice. Talkies sounds wonderful (genuinely, not being sarcastic).

However the pertinence to my original sarcasm is whether Talkies regularly hosts 135 guests which is the foundation of its obstruction to the Fox redevelopment. Sounds like a lot of people to me (aren't most standard size modern cinema screens roughly that big?). If, as a suspect, they don't hold anything like that number with any regularity (if ever) then their case is largely baseless.
Richard McKeever's Avatar
Richard McKeever posted a reply #3287 31 Oct 2017 15:29
I, personally, find it better to make public comments grounded in knowledge of the facts rather than baseless assertions.

In the five years since it began, I have been to many Talkies screenings, at the Fox and elsewhere. Events at the Fox regularly fill the room and could sell considerably more than the allocated tickets - as could events at the Bounds Green Tennis Club, where I was involved as a volunteer helping Talkies establish a new venue. Attendance here is limited by the capacity of the room - but has often sold out the 100 or so available tickets. ... and then there are the 400+ attendances at the outdoor screenings in Broomfield Park and a couple of hundred at Christ Church etc. So, yes, it is quite some "serious business" ... but as a volunteer-run enterprise, it has a different ethos and approach to commercial cinemas. The focus is not profit - but community engagement along with thought-provoking entertainment. As a volunteer, I along with all the team gladly pay the ticket price myself to be there whilst putting on an event for our neighbours. By comparison with commercial cinema the small admission fee covers equipment, insurances and licences - and also extends to a commissioning process to create new work supporting young filmmakers with cash to make a film, an audience to show it to and professional mentoring ... as you quite rightly say, it is "some serious business"

Might I respectfully suggest that you attend one of the many Talkies volunteer-run events - at the Fox or elsewhere - before criticising them? You might see for yourself the community-focussed and inclusive activities - enjoyed by thousands of your neighbours ... and you might even make a friend or two, I know I have.
David Williamson's Avatar
David Williamson posted a reply #3288 31 Oct 2017 15:44
Talkies Community Cinema is a not for profit organisation, run by volunteers aimed to bring together people in a social setting to meet each other and enjoy film. We have used the Fox regularly for five years. Details of how we use the ticket income is published on our website.
The Fox function room can seat 200 - for example at the Comedy club which took place there every month until the threat of closure meant they re-sited to Southgate. The room can also be used for parties which will take large numbers and dance events, which use the dance floor.
Talkies maximum at the Fox is 135 which is reached when we screen our short film commissions for young film makers each year. For most events we would have an audience of about 100 - recent 'Cabaret' was capped at 110 because of bar constraints but could have been more.
In contrast the designs presented by the developers show 145 chair spaces but take no account of distance from a screen, use of a stage or need for a performance space at the front. We believe that a more sensible number for such a space would be 80.
The Fox is an important venue for us, but is also the only such venue at the heart of Palmers Green, hence its status as an "Asset of Community Value"(ACV) - the first in Enfield.
To be clear- we have always recognised the importance of refurbishing The Fox as a useful addition to the Palmers Green Food and Drink offer. Also we understand that there will have to be some commercial arrangement from the management of the renewed Fox facility. What we have not yet had though is a clear commitment from the developers that a 'new ACV' will be both accessible and affordable for not-for-profit organisations similar to Talkies.
We also believe that a better designed space will bring commercial benefits to the developers. If only we could see more commitment to the community from the developers we may feel differently.
Despite continuous discussions over a long period we have had no such commitments.
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #3289 31 Oct 2017 15:55
For the avoidance of doubt (as I can't quite see how everyone has so quickly leapt knee-jerkingly to the wrong conclusion) my use of the word 'business' was not a comment or reference to Talkies' not-for-profit status.

I went to the Broomfield Park open air a couple of years ago from memory.

Richard, I am always happy to be furnished with facts and am happy to adapt my opinion accordingly if required, however, despite your assertion, David W now appears to have demonstrated that Talkies does not regulalry sell 135 seats at The Fox. Standard sscreenings attract c.100 which sound more like they can be accommodated by the current proferred design (80 being a pretty aggressive encroachment).

I'd love to see Talkies continue at the Fox, I'd also love a pub in the area that isn't a complete dump and better housing delivery for the young people struggling to get on the housing ladder, an ambition fought against a wall of NIMBYism from the already landed & well-off.
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Basil Clarke posted a reply #3290 31 Oct 2017 16:29
Apologies for sending this discussion off track and down a blind alley - I mistakenly thought that David E was suggesting that Talkies events were small in the context of amount of business a refurbished Fox could do.

Returning to the question of the planning application. I think that the developers could afford to provide a larger pub with a proper function room. PG is in need of a more upmarket pub and I think that there should be sufficient potential customers in the area for a bigger pub.

One thing to bear in mind is that Heineken presumably already owned the freehold and thus when redeveloping the site they won't need to cover the cost of buying it at a high price before they can make a profit (inflated prices for land is part of the reason why houses and flats are so expensive).

I therefore think that they can afford to be more generous to the local community and give us a decent function room instead of turning the southern end of the building into a separate retail space.

Pubs are a part of our heritage but in recent years have been bought, sold and converted into shops over the heads of their customers as if they were mere commodities. Clearly, in some areas there were too many pubs for modern conditions and it made sense to close down those that were performing badly But despite currently being in the doldrums, the Fox has huge potential. The Fox is the only purpose-built pub in central PG and its function room is also unique. I think it behoves Heineken and Enfield Council to retain this community asset.
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David Eden posted a reply #3291 31 Oct 2017 16:54
Presumably Heineken will still be carrying the acquisition cost on balance sheet somehow therefore land value remains a relevant development appraisal input. According to Lang Reg, Blue Star (persumably Heine subsidiary?) took the freehold title in 2009.

Where would extra room come from for a bigger pub and bigger function room? Reduced housing delivery?

Pubs can be turned around by skilled operators - look at the Prince down near Bounds Green Road. Fantastic boozer, the kind PG is screaming for.