Affordable flats in Enfield Highway rejected as ‘overdevelopment’

Scheme is developer’s second 100% affordable homes plan rejected this year, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

A computer-generated image of the proposed scheme at Moorfield Road (credit HTA Design LLP)
A computer-generated image of the proposed scheme at the junction of Moorfield Road and Hertford Road (credit HTA Design LLP)

A plan to build 106 affordable homes in Enfield Highway has been turned down after councillors agreed it would cause harm to neighbours.

Developer Social Capital Partners wanted to build a nine-storey block of flats on the site of the former Moorfield Family Centre in Moorfield Road, with all of the homes marketed at London Affordable Rent levels.

But the proposal was rejected by Enfield Council’s planning committee during a meeting on Tuesday, as members backed officers’ judgement that it would be an overdevelopment, lead to signficant loss of sunlight and daylight, and add to congestion.

It is the second time the developer has had a 100% affordable scheme rejected by Enfield councillors in two months. In January, the committee threw out plans for 110 flats in an 18-storey block proposed for the site of the Gilpin’s Bell pub in Fore Street, Angel Edmonton.

Speaking during Tuesday’s meeting, planning officer David Gittens said the height of the building proposed for Moorfield Road was a “particular concern”. He added: “Generally, the buildings in the locality are three to four-storey, and this building is significantly taller.”

David told councillors that the scheme would have a “significant negative impact on light levels” reaching the windows and gardens of neighbours.

Julian Carter, of estate agent Savills, spoke in favour of the application, telling councillors: “We think we have a really high-quality scheme which will make a positive contribution to the area in which it sits, replacing an eyesore that is attracting anti-social behaviour […] and delivering fantastic affordable homes.”

Although he acknowledged there would be locations where daylight and sunlight levels would be reduced, Juilan claimed the impact would not be unusual for developments in urban areas.

He said the scheme would be at least 17 metres from the closest neighbours, and in most cases “significantly greater”, claiming the change in outlook for residents would not constitute “significant and demonstrable harm”. Julian added that the developer had offered to increase the number of family-sized three-bedroom units from 13% to 22% of the total scheme.

But committee members were not persuaded by his arguments. Conservative Mike Rye described the proposal as “a pretty ghastly application”, adding that people living in existing social housing nearby would be “very dramatically impacted by the size, bulk, massing and overlooking of this particular unit”.

Labour’s Kate Anolue argued the scheme would cause “a lot of detriment” to people’s wellbeing and mental health. She said: “It’s true that we need a lot of [housing] units – but that does not mean we are going to give our residents something that is detrimental to their health. We can’t do that.”

Daniel Anderson, an independent councillor and member of opposition group Community First, suggested officers had applied more rigour in finding reasons for refusal for the current scheme than they had for applications that had previously come before the committee.

He said: “I am impressed by the level of detail – I just wish it would be applied in similar ways in all applications, fairly.”

Following the debate, ten committee members voted to refuse the development, with chair Sinan Boztas abstaining.