Hundreds of homes proposed for Southbury retail park, reports James Cracknell
The tallest housing development in Enfield is proposed to be built on the site of a B&Q.
Plans for Colosseum Retail Park in Great Cambridge Road are being drawn up ahead of a planning application due to be submitted by the end of the year – and is set to include a 29-storey tower that would become the borough’s tallest.
American investment firm BlackRock, which owns the site opposite Cineworld on the corner of Southbury Road, has teamed up with London developer NEAT to propose building up to 1,800 new homes – with 27% ‘affordable’ – in place of the existing retail park. Existing large retailers including B&Q, Dunelm and Gala Bingo would all be cleared to make for the scheme when their leases expire between 2022 and 2026.
The scheme, if approved, would be built over the next 15-20 years and as well as homes include small shops and restaurants, a doctor’s surgery, crèche, business centre, 1.5 hectares of open space and a cycle hub. The residential tower blocks would be 29, 24, 18 and 16 storeys tall.
In its draft Local Plan published last year, Enfield Council mentioned the possibility of new housing developments being built along the A10 Great Cambridge Road, noting that large out-of-town shops can harm the viability of local high streets and that there were “significant opportunities to look at comprehensive intensification of retail parks such as Colosseum Retail Park and Enfield Retail Park” with a chance to build in their place “efficiently and holistically-designed new communities, without the need for complicated land assembly”.
In its brochure promoting the plans for Colosseum Retail Park, BlackRock and NEAT state: “The blocks and large car parks formed by the retail parks have always acted as a divide between Enfield Town and Ponders End, with little interaction or crossover between the two areas.
“As shopping patterns change, retail parks are becoming under-used and space is used inefficiently. At the same time, with a growing need for housing across London, local authorities are required to think creatively.”
Concerns have been raised by The Enfield Society and Enfield Transport User Group that should multiple retail parks be developed, significant investment would be needed in public transport, particularly at nearby Southbury Station – currently served by two trains per hour.
There have also been calls for a masterplan to be drawn up for the area, similar to the one for Meridian Water. Enfield Transport Users Group chair Phil Ridley said: “We need to ensure we get a well-designed place where all the various sites that will rapidly come forward relate to each other in a comprehensive masterplan, rather than piecemeal development.
“This is necessary to create a sense of place, integrated transport provision, and to ensure the development has legible shopping and open space areas that add to rather than detract from Ponders End shopping centre. There also needs to be long-term thinking about services such as schools and medical facilities.
“Unfortunately, while Enfield has a comprehensive masterplan for Meridian Water, there is no real planning framework for this area.”
Enfield Council declined to comment.