Affordable housing blocked over lack of family provision

Councillors criticise low level of family-sized homes at Angel Edmonton site despite 100% being designated affordable, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

The 18-storey development in Fore Street would provide 114 homes available at London Affordable Rent levels (credit HTA Design LLP)
The 18-storey development in Fore Street would provide 113 homes available at London Affordable Rent levels (credit HTA Design LLP)

Plans to build 113 affordable homes in Angel Edmonton have been thwarted by concerns over the low number of family-sized units proposed.

Developer Social Capital Partners Fore Street failed to win permission to build a tower block up to 18 storeys high in Fore Street during an Enfield Council planning committee meeting on Tuesday.

Although all of the homes would have been provided at London Affordable Rent levels – designed to be affordable to households on the social housing waiting list – 99 were set to be one and two-bedroom flats, with only the remaining 14 containing three bedrooms.

The site of the proposed scheme, just north of the borough border with Haringey, is next to Fore Street Conservation Area and two locally listed buildings. It is currently occupied by The Gilpin’s Bell pub, which would have been demolished to make way for the tower block. 

Speaking during the meeting committee member Daniel Anderson, from the Community First group, said: “I am struggling to see why we are going to get more and more one and two-bedroom properties, which we do not need. We need three-bedroom plus [homes], which is fundamental to our housing needs assessment.”

His concerns were echoed by Conservative committee member Maria Alexandrou, along with Labour’s Hass Yusuf and Kate Anolue. Cllr Anolue said she was “very disappointed” with the proposed scheme, adding: “It is not really solving the accommodation problem that we have for families.”

Councillors also raised concerns over the size of the proposed tower block and its impact on locally listed buildings such as LT’s Bar and the former Edmonton County Court.

Mike Rye, a Conservative committee member, said the proposal was “more reminiscent of something on the outskirts of Moscow or Belgrade”. He added: “If you consider the damage that has been done to the east of Enfield over the years, I think we should value the heritage assets that remain there possibly more strongly, even, than those in the west.”

Doug Taylor, a Labour committee member, said he thought heritage officers should attend committee meetings when schemes that have a “significant heritage impact” are considered. “We really need better support on heritage issues,” he added. 

When it came to the vote, only three committee members supported officers’ recommendation to grant permission for the scheme. Councillors then voted unanimously to defer the application to allow officers to draw up formal reasons for refusal, which the committee will vote on during a future meeting.

This story has been corrected to reflect a late change to the planning application, where the number of homes was reduced from 114 to 113, and also to correct the number of committee members who voted in favour of the application, which was three and not two as previously stated.