Labour-run Enfield Council’s planning committee has narrowly given consent for over 350 new homes to be built on Cockfosters station car parks in the face of concerted opposition from conservationists, Conservatives and the local Labour MP.
The scheme, comprising four towers in the vicinity of the station at the northern terminus of the Piccadilly Line, is to be built by Connected Living London (CLL), a partnership between Transport for London, which owns the car parks, and leading build-t0-rent company Grainger.
TfL says the rent levels of 40 per cent of the mixture of one, two and three bedroom dwellings will be “at a discount to open market rates” and all residents will have access to on-site amenities, including a lounge and a gym, despite the “affordable” properties and the others being in separate blocks.
The 12-councillor committee was divided equally between approval and rejection, with one Labour member voting against. The committee chair decided the issue using his casting vote.
Enfield’s planning committee rejected CLL proposals for 162 new homes on the Piccadilly Line’s Arnos Grove station car park last January, going against planning officers’ recommendation to approve, though it has since changed its mind following an appeal by the developers.
Enfield Dispatch reports that Bambos Charalambous, the Labour MP for Enfield Southgate, told the committee meeting that the scheme would lead to more road traffic congestion and a shortage of parking spaces as well as placing additional demands of schools and GP services. He also complained that there were insufficient family-sized homes.
Tory MP Theresa Villiers, who represents the neighbouring constituency of Chipping Barnet raised similar concerns and claimed the new homes would alter the character of Cockfosters permanently.
Enfield has seen rapid population growth for most of this century, although Office for National Statistics mid-year estimates indicate a recent levelling off and even a very slight fall in the last couple of years (page six).
Labour holds 38 seats on Enfield Council compared with the opposition Conservatives’ 18, but the Labour group has seen a number of defections since the last borough elections in 2018, leading to the formation of a third, seven-strong grouping called Community First.
The council has pressed ahead with policies which some local people have strongly objected to, including low traffic neighbourhoods and proposals – rejected by Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan – for housing development on Green Belt land.
The Cockfosters scheme is the fourth for which CLL has won borough committee planning consent, following one in Southall and two in Lambeth, one of which is by the new Northern Line Underground station in Nine Elms.
On London is a small but influential website which strives to provide more of the kind of journalism the capital city needs. Become a supporter for £5 a month or £50 a year and receive an action-packed weekly newsletter and free entry to online events. Details here.