30-storey tower proposed at Meridian Water

Bid to raise density of redevelopment scheme’s first phase, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Detailed plans for phase 1b of Meridian One, the first part of the wider Meridian Water redevelopment in Edmonton (credit Hawkins/Brown)
Detailed plans for phase 1b of Meridian One, the first part of the wider Meridian Water redevelopment in Edmonton (credit Hawkins/Brown)

A 30-storey tower block is being planned for Meridian Water as Enfield Council looks to boost the number of homes built in the early stages of the development.

The tower is more than double the size of the largest block that was approved in the outline application for Meridian One in 2017, the first part of the £6billion council-led regeneration scheme.

Detailed plans for phase 1a of Meridian One, set to provide 300 homes, were approved in May last year. If the detailed plans for phase 1b of the scheme also win approval, they will provide an extra 677 homes, with almost half set to be studio or one-bedroom units. There will be 260 two-bedroom homes, 80 three-bedroom units and one four-bedroom home.

Some 218 (32%) of the planned homes on phase 1b are classed as ‘affordable’, with 14% for shared ownership and 18% for London Affordable Rent, although half of the total number of homes across Meridian One will be affordable.

The council, which has previously faced criticism over delays to its flagship Meridian Water development on former industrial land in Edmonton, claims the increased density means it will be able to deliver more homes earlier in the programme.

Housing campaigner Matt Burn, from campaign group Better Homes Enfield, said the council seemed to be “moving further and further away from delivering the type of homes that Edmonton needs”.

Matt said: “The greatest need locally is for family-sized homes, particularly in Edmonton, where there are high levels of overcrowding.

“There is a real problem with the way the council approaches site optimisation. There is a focus on the most number of units rather than helping the greatest number of people. Family homes with three bedrooms are an efficient way to use land because they house a lot more people.”

Councillors have frequently criticised housing applications with low levels of family homes. The council’s local housing need assessment, published in 2020, states that more than 60% of new households will need homes with three or more bedrooms.

Matt added: “They say it is for local people, but it is quite hard to see in reality. So many homes are not even the type people need or can afford.”

He also raised concerns over the level of parkland provided at Meridian Water, claiming the parks were “far too small in relation to the number of flats being built” and would fail to compensate for the loss of the one-hectare Ladysmith Road Open Space, which was built on several years ago.

Responding to the concerns, a council spokesperson said the increase in density would boost the overall number of homes at Meridian One from 725 to 977 and increase the affordable homes from 213 to 491. It said the target number of homes at Meridian Water remained 10,000, and more family-sized homes would be delivered on future phases of the scheme.

The spokesperson added: “We are aiming for 30% of the entire site at Meridian Water to be green open space which is publicly accessible. The height of the blocks set out in the planning application led by Vistry is appropriate for the future of Meridian Water.

“In addition to the extensive green space that will be provided at Meridian Water, residents also welcome the new community facilities which will be, or already have been, provided by this scheme. They include skills academies, film studios and health centres, all of which will play a significant role in making Meridian Water an attractive and aspirational place in which to live and work.”

A spokesperson for the applicant, Vistry Partnerships, said the firm had worked with the council to increase the level of affordable housing from 25% in the previous Meridian One proposals, to 50%.

They added: “Phase 1a, the first homes delivered at Meridian Water, displays our commitment to the delivery of affordable housing, with 272 of the 300 homes, equating to 91% of the homes in this phase, being affordable. The proposals for Meridian One will also provide 50 more family homes than was consented under the 2017 outline planning permission.

“Meridian One will deliver 1.4ha of public open space across three landscaped parks, a civic square, three pocket parks and a green Park Street, which connects the four main open spaces.

“We are committed to continuing to engage with the local community and investing in new jobs through construction training and the new skills academy in partnership with the council.”