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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.

Generally

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.

Links

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.

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