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The Enfield Society's management committee has written to its membership outlining the direction taken by Enfield Council in developing a new Local Plan and commenting on the draft Issues and Options paper that is currently out for consultation (the deadline for responses is 5pm on 28th February).

Among the points raised by the Society are doubts about the accuracy of forecasts for future housebuilding requirements, opposition to building in the Green Belt and disappointment that the draft does not include a pubs protection policy.

In due course the Society will be submitting its full response, in written form (letter and email) rather than using the online survey. Committee member John West says that "the questions in the online survey rather restrict one's response and you can lose the strategic overview", adding that the council is happy to accept comments in various formats.

Mr West stresses the importance of a high number of responses from the public:

"We are encouraging everyone to respond. The more responses that Enfield receive the easier it is for the Council to persuade the Mayor and the Dept. of Housing, Communities and Local Government that the consultation has been effective and wide reaching."

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LBE Consults on new Local Plan to last until 2036

In December, Enfield Council published an Issues and Options paper as part of the development of a new Local Plan for the Borough. This is an important document that seeks views on the way in which development should proceed over the period 2020 to 2036.

The new Local Plan is required to meet new national legislation and to link with the Mayor’s draft London Plan 2017. The Plan has to meet the needs of an ever-increasing population, provide a long term vision for the Borough and meet key strategic infrastructure projects such as Crossrail 2 should it be confirmed. The London Plan requires Enfield and other Boroughs to provide a significant increase in the amount of new housing that is developed.

The principal challenge for the Plan is more housing. The Council have a borough-wide target of 50 per cent affordable housing and to prioritise social rented homes. “The key function of a successful Local Plan for Enfield, is to accommodate growth in a way that makes the borough better for everyone.”

The draft Plan recognises that Enfield's heritage is an asset when it comes to building new communities (“place-making”, as it quaintly puts it). The strategy focuses on design to compliment the heritage present, as well as acknowledging that it needs to be conserved and enhanced; “Heritage, design and place making therefore have an important role to play in maintaining and building Enfield as a home of distinctive, inclusive communities.”

The consultation document is a large 216-page document. A summary has also been published by Enfield Council, but this is also substantial at 52 pages. The Management Committee have now had an opportunity to look at the draft and will be raising the following issues.

Green Belt

One of the draft options is to look at development in the Crews Hill area due to the railway link, the fact the green belt is already partly developed in this area and its strategic location on the London-Stansted-Cambridge Innovation Corridor. The Society believes that the Green Belt needs to remain a complete circle around London to provide essential open space, cleaner air and a wildlife corridor; it has protected London since the mid 20th century. Once you erode the Green Belt that erosion is likely to continue due to pressures on adjacent land.

Housing

In recent years about 800 new homes a year have been built in Enfield, the London Plan seeks to increase that number to 1,876 per year and the Government’s Planning Policy Framework (2018) using a national assessment of need suggests that up to 3,500 new homes per year could be required. Providing for this growth is therefore a key element and the Plan identifies the different ways in which change and development could be accommodated while still protecting the Borough’s heritage and the local environment.

The Society would like to see the Council fully assess the projected housing need. There is some evidence that the projections are overestimating future requirements.

The Society also wishes to see greater effort to maximise the use of Brownfield sites including redevelopment of retail parks and low-rise retail sites in town centres and the need to accelerate development at Meridian Water. The Society will be supporting Enfield RoadWatch who are working to identify brownfield sites and to protect the green belt.

There also need to be comprehensive development plans for specific areas with a development framework for areas such as Southbury Road east of the Great Cambridge Road, including both the B&Q site and the wider area.

Protection for pubs

It is disappointing that although the Society has raised this previously there is no reference to policy in the draft Local Plan. A Pubs Protection Policy similar to that adopted by Waltham Forest is needed to justify enforcement action on unlawful changes of use and to protect those that remain in the Borough following the closure of many licensed premises.

Adding your voice

The Council want everyone to respond to the consultation and the Society urges all members to do so. You can find the details via the Council web-site at enfield.gov.uk/newlocalplan. You can also respond by post to Strategic Planning and Design, ENFIELD COUNCIL, FREEPOST, NW5036, EN1 3BR.

Responses are required by 5pm, Thursday 28th February 2019.

Links

Enfield Society website

List of drop-in consultation events

Details of the consultation and possible additional drop-in sessions

Earlier reporting and comment on PGC

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