Local Plan and review process
The whole of the borough of Enfield is allocated to different land uses all set out in the Borough’s Local Plan. Theoretically, developments can only be passed by the council Planning Committee for action if they accord with the Local Plan. Over time this plan is revised and allocations changed to suit circumstances and needs.
Each Local Plan is devised by Enfield Council planners to meet expected demand for residential housing, industry etc. It is then consulted with residents, and passed in council for clearance by an Inspector acting for the Ministry of the Environment. This whole process may take many months. The plan is subject to review by the Mayor of London who also produces a plan for the whole of London. The Enfield plan is required to support the London plan.
Certain key sites in the borough have individual plans, such as the Enfield Town centre master plan. This was consulted recently and heavily criticised for its evident lack of means to deliver an upgraded experience to visitors that would reverse the current economic and environmental decline.
Enfield council is wedded to no-cost planning solutions – such as excluding cars from key areas, and advocating that everyone uses “personal transport” in future, invoking a visionless future of taxis and curtailment of personal freedom for many, especially mobility disadvantaged.
The new Local Plan
Enfield announced 3 years ago it would revise the 2010 Local Plan to meet new demands. A draft has been in circulation for some months. It requires Enfield to absorb some 60,000 new residents by 2036 and build around 37000 new homes. For a number of practical reasons these targets are considered unattainable, nor indeed should they be set up as the future for Enfield since they would result in the wholesale degrading of the attractive suburban character and quality of life currently enjoyed by 1/3 m residents.
Enfield council has, as a matter of policy, called for declassifying up to 10% of the Green Belt, the area set aside under previous planning acts to provide a buffer between urban development and the countryside so to avoid the continuous characterless development that would undoubtedly result without controls. Enfield council knows full well it does not have to erode the Green Belt but does so as a matter of dogma and for the greater fiscal returns it enjoys for permitting building on other than “brownfield” land – sites which have been previously developed. FERAA opposes this.
FERAA strongly opposes the council for the scope of its draft new plan and the disregard shown for the values and interests of the present large population. It seeks to excuse its approach as conforming to demands made on it by superior authorities but the reality is it has declared open house to developers to raise the tax base. The rot has begun with several large and intrusive schemes already on the table â€“ Southgate, Cockfosters, Arnos Grove being just the first salvo.
FERAA strongly opposes any case for incursion into the Green Belt as unproven and damaging, and disregards Enfield’s arguments over the cosmetic quality of some sites as irrelevant to the controlling purpose behind green belt.
How local planning works
In essence all development proposals will be accepted by Enfield council on the grounds of meeting housing need. Regard for supporting infrastructure – schools, health facilities etc – and amenities should be given high weightings to maintain quality of living but in practice it is postponed for future consideration, or excused on the basis that some amenities are not within the direct control of the council.
FERAA asserts the council could take a more balanced approach, but so far it has ducked the challenge. The general approach within Enfield council is that the borough has more green and open land than neighbouring boroughs, so unofficially classifies “the excess” as “unproductive” assets. Taken to its logical conclusion Enfield will be developed to the M25 over time, a negation of all that principled planning and character conservation should stand for.
FERAA considers this policy one of visionless fiscal opportunism, the negation of constructive planning.