Affordable homes reduction at Brimsdown development approved

All 46 social-rent homes previously planned as part of the scheme have been axed, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

How the development in Green Street is set to look once complete
How the development in Green Street is set to look once complete

Plans to slash the number of affordable homes on a controversial Brimsdown tower block scheme have been approved by councillors.

The proportion of affordable homes on Stonegate Homes’ 148-home development at 241 Green Street, near Brimsdown Station, has been cut from 49% to just 25% – with the social-rent tenure dropped from the scheme entirely.

Previous plans by the developer to build tower blocks up to 16 storeys high at the site, which were approved in December 2020, featured 73 affordable units with 46 set aside for London Affordable Rent, which is a social-rent level.

The council’s planning committee considered the affordable housing provision to be one of the key benefits of the scheme, which had faced criticism over its size and appearance. One local resident described the planned towers as an “eyesore” that would “significantly alter the character of the surrounding area”.

But on Tuesday (18th) the planning committee approved revised proposals containing only 37 affordable homes, after a report by officers said the original scheme was no longer financially viable. All of the affordable homes will now be at an “intermediate” tenure, 30% below market rents.

Matt Burn, from local housing campaign group Better Homes Enfield, criticised the decision. He said: “It’s incredibly disappointing that Enfield Council has helped the developers to avoid building any social-rent homes. It’s becoming a familiar game. The original application was approved on the basis that 46 of the 148 homes would be social-rent homes.

This story is published by Enfield Dispatch, Enfield's free monthly newspaper and free news website. We are a not-for-profit publication, published by a small social enterprise. We have no rich backers and rely on the support of our readers. Donate or become a supporter.

“The application has now been amended so that none of the homes will be social rent – not a single one. We desperately need more social-rent homes in Enfield as thousands of families are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and they can only afford social rent. By approving this application, the council has let those families down.”

Council policies state that developments of ten or more units should contribute to a borough-wide target of providing 40% affordable housing.

But a report by council planning officers said a financial viability assessment had demonstrated that the previously-approved scheme was “not practicable” and that changes to housing type and affordability would “enable the project to move forward”.

It pointed out that more weight needed to be given to new housing applications because Enfield has repeatedly failed to meet its housebuilding targets.

Further changes to the Green Street scheme include switching the tenure from a mixture of rental and private sale homes to 100% build-to-rent accommodation and introducing second staircases in two blocks above 30m high to comply with new fire safety legislation.

Officers said build-to-rent represented an improvement on “unregulated rental housing” adding that the scheme “provides an intermediate-level affordable housing in a size mix that meets Enfield’s evidenced needs”.

Conservative planning lead Mike Rye said he and his fellow Tory committee members welcomed the improvements to fire safety but did not support the application because of the reduction in affordable housing.

Stonegate Homes was approached for comment.

No news is bad news 

Independent news outlets like ours – reporting for the community without rich backers – are under threat of closure, turning British towns into news deserts. 

The audiences they serve know less, understand less, and can do less. 

In celebration of Indie News Week, Public Interest News Foundation's Indie News Fund will match fund all donations, including new annual supporter subscriptions for the month of June.

If our coverage has helped you understand our community a little bit better, please consider supporting us with a monthly, yearly or one-off donation. 

Choose the news. Don’t lose the news.

Monthly direct debit 

Annual direct debit

£5 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else, £10 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else and a print copy posted to them each month. £50 annual supporters get a digital copy of each month's paper before anyone else.  

Donate now with Pay Pal

More information on supporting us monthly or yearly 

More Information about donations