Council’s large estate expansion gets go-ahead

Exeter Road Estate scheme approved after councillors praise affordable housing provision, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

An image of the planned estate redevelopment (Enfield Council)
An image of the planned estate redevelopment (Enfield Council)

Enfield Council has won permission for a large estate redevelopment after town hall chiefs agreed to consider building a new road to reduce the scheme’s impact on neighbours.

The council’s bid to add up to 129 new homes to the Exeter Road Estate in Enfield Highway was approved during a meeting of the planning committee on Tuesday, 31st August.

All of the new homes will be classed as ‘affordable’, with 67% at London Affordable Rents – a type of housing aimed at those on the social housing waiting list – and the rest at intermediate rent levels. Just under half (45%) will be three or four-bedroom units.

Members of the planning committee broadly welcomed the scheme but called for extra safeguards after Ponders End ward councillor Ayfer Orhan voiced neighbours’ concerns over adding more homes to the 230 flats already on the estate, which borders Ponders End and Enfield Highway wards.

Cllr Orhan told the meeting residents in Exeter Road and Arbour Road had bought their homes when the area was “very undeveloped”, and the “noise”, “pollution” and “traffic” caused by the “massive development” would affect their quality of life. With only two roads providing access to the estate, she warned construction traffic would have a “huge impact” on residents.

Further concerns raised by Cllr Orhan included loss of light to neighbours’ homes, an increase in noise pollution and a “serious increase in height” near existing properties. She said a schedule of works should have been included and called on the committee to reject the plans until more details were provided.

Committee member Doug Taylor, who also represents Ponders End, proposed building a new access road running from nearby Alma Road to reduce the impact of traffic – an idea that won the backing of several other councillors.

Council officers assured committee members that the scheme complied with local planning policies. Their report states that it “will not result in any unacceptable adverse impact to residential amenity by reason of overlooking/loss of privacy, loss of light, overbearing or impacts to daylight/sunlight.”

Senior planning officer Joseph McKee said a construction logistics plan was included in the proposals and the impact of construction traffic was “not a reason for refusal”.

Andy Higham, the council’s head of development management, said councillors should be approving policy-compliant schemes because they need to apply a “presumption in favour of sustainable development”.

According to national planning policy, this means developments should be approved unless the adverse impacts of doing so would “significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits”. Enfield Council has to apply the measure because it failed to meet a government housing target.

After several committee members praised the level of affordable housing and family homes, Cllr Taylor continued to make the case for a new access road and asked for assurance that the suggestion would be “seriously considered”. 

Although officers warned a new road could have an impact on a wetland scheme planned for neighbouring Durants Park, Higham agreed to “look at what the council could accommodate” and report back to the committee. The application was then unanimously approved by committee members.