More homes planned for Hadley Wood, including 160 on Green Belt fields and within larger buildings between, behind and replacing existing homes.
- Local Authorities must have a Local Plan that sets out their planning policies for the plan period. It also allows Councils to allocate land for development and release land from the Green Belt for development where they don’t think they can meet their housing needs from brownfield sites (land that was previously developed).
- Enfield Council have published their new draft Local Plan. After the 12 week consultation period (which expires on 13 September), the Planning Dept will review all the feedback received and present an updated Plan. This is likely to be in the summer of 2022. This will again go out for public consultation and the Council will then issue a final Local Plan in the Autumn 2022, which will go out to examination by an Inspector to decide whether the Plan is sound or not and whether it can be adopted. The whole process will take in excess of 2 years.
- Enfield’s Plan aims to add 25,000 new homes to the current 130,000 homes in the Borough, through “Good Growth”. It is based around ten “place-making areas” (not Hadley Wood), which in general direct development to “the most accessible and well-connected places”, plus intensification of other built up areas by increasing the size of buildings and building more on each plot.
- Hadley Wood will be directly affected by:
- 160 homes on Green Belt land between Crescent West and Camlet Way (= <1% of 25,000 target);
- 3,000 new homes at Chase Park, opposite the Pick Your Own Farm on Hadley Road, which will increase traffic on Stagg Hill / Cockfosters Road.
- 30,000m² of industrial space at the start of The Ridgeway (next to St John’s School);
- Promotion of the concept of ‘Intensification’, where higher density building would be promoted within 800m as the crow flies of the train station. This could involve larger and taller buildings, and buildings closer together and covering garden areas.
- Rewilding, better public access and new natural water management projects within much of the Green Belt.
- The HWA is leading the community response through the work of the Planning Sub-Committee, which includes members of the Hadley Wood Neighbourhood Planning Forum Committee and has planning and property development experience.
- The Green Belt site in Hadley Wood was not in the Council’s previous draft Local Plan despite the Duchy of Lancaster putting it forward. However, following the recent call for sites process, the Duchy of Lancaster once again put the site forward and this time convinced the Council that this was a suitable and deliverable site for housing development. The Council have therefore included it as a potential housing allocation site for 160 homes, of which 50% must be affordable. Half of these affordable homes would be for intermediate tenure and the other half would be affordable rent and made available to people on the Council’s housing waiting list.
- Removing land from the Green Belt requires exceptional justification, as the principle of national Green Belt policy is not to make it smaller. We believe the Council has failed to justify why they need to turn to Green Belt land to meet their housing targets, and that they should instead make use of available brownfield sites. These brownfield sites could provide most, if not all, of the required new homes for the borough without having to release Green Belt land for development. Green Belt land can be easier and more profitable to develop than old industrial or other brownfield sites, but we believe this is not sufficient justification for their approach.
- Enfield should look at all options and weigh up the pros and cons, and potential sustainability, of different sites. Instead they have focused on sites put forward by land-owners/developers. In addition, if Enfield could prove they need Green Belt release they should set the parameters for such release, for example that the site must contribute to publicly accessible open space, provide excellent biodiversity, easy walking routes and distances to all the services and facilities people need day by day and these services have capacity for the new residents, that surface water runoff will be sustainably managed and flood risks mitigated, and that there is good access to a range of public transport.
- When assessing whether a site is appropriate for release Enfield should consider the impact on existing character and historic and landscape assets. We believe that being able to see, and if possible access, rural and open land from Hadley Wood is an important part of the area’s character, especially to the Hadley Wood and Hadley Monken Conservation Areas.
- Part of the role of the Green Belt is to hold water back after heavy rainfall. We know there are problems of flash flooding in Hadley Wood and we do not think Enfield have considered this properly.
- The Green belt is intended to prevent urban sprawl, in our case keeping the towns of Potters Bar, Enfield and Barnet separate.
In conclusion, we do not believe the Council have properly considered alternatives to Green Belt release, have not thought through the specific characteristics of the Hadley Wood or Chase Park sites in their assessment, and have not proved that the required ‘exceptional circumstances’ exist to allow the site to be released from the Green Belt.
The London Plan, which Enfield must follow, plus national planning policy, calls for more homes to be built. There is also a general presumption that these should be at higher densities in the most sustainable locations where residents are not dependant on private cars and can walk, cycle or use public transport. Many urban areas work like this very well, for example neighbourhoods such as Maida vale, Islington or newer residential areas such as Canary Wharf. Many cities around the world are following this compact development approach. But compact urban places need an intricate network of streets and public, very good public transport connections and lots of different land uses all mixed together and easy to get to.
Enfield have not adapted this compact development approach to suburban contexts. They are assuming being with 800m as the crow flies of a railway station like Hadley wood is enough to promote car-free living, and so denser building in the area. We believe the serious lack of local facilities and services, not having good quality, direct, and short walking and cycling routes to surrounding town centres, the total lack of a usable bus service and the poor train service all mean denser and more homes in the area will lead to more car dependency, not less. We do not agree that building more in Hadley Wood is in any way a sustainable way to plan.
- The HWA through the Planning Sub Committee has been reviewing the Plan and is engaging expert consultants to bolster the response to the consultation process. To date, the appointments include a Planning Consultant, Heritage Consultant & a Landscape Consultant. Further appointments on sustainability matters are imminent. We are also looking to appoint a QC. To fund these appointments, we urgently need residents to donate to the campaign. We are initially seeking to raise £50,000 and are targeting a fighting fund of £100,000. We are already at more than £30,000. The immediate neighbours are leading the way and other residents are contributing four figure sums too. The Committee wishes to thank all those residents that have donated so far and requests other residents to make donations for £200 or more please.
- The Local Plan refers to the emerging Hadley Wood Neighbourhood Plan, which, if adopted, would become a material consideration in planning decision making and an independent examiner of the Local Plan would attach great weight to it. The draft Neighbourhood Plan currently states that the Green Belt in Hadley Wood should be protected. It is therefore vital that the Neighbourhood Plan is fully supported by the community when it is advanced this Autumn.
- Our best chance of getting the site removed from the Plan is by demonstrating the scale of local resistance at the outset. We also urge all residents and their families to engage in the process and respond to Enfield Council. To find out how to respond click HERE.
Link to the draft Plan proposal for Hadley Wood:
- 160 homes in Green Belt countryside at Hadley Wood (SA45: Land Between Camlet Way and Crescent Way, Hadley Wood, page 364);
- The Plan is available on https://new.enfield.gov.uk/services/planning/draft-new-local-plan/ but beware that it’s a 15MB file (413 pages).
- For a summary of the draft Plan click HERE
Link to Duchy of Lancaster letter to Enfield Council, requesting that our Green Belt be included in the Enfield Plan (pages 15-17): click here