Developers appeal Southgate tower blocks refusal

New tower blocks planned in Southgate (credit Viewpoint Estates)
The new tower blocks would be built adjacent to Southgate Circus Conservation Area (credit Viewpoint Estates)

Plans will now be reconsidered by independent planning inspector, reports James Cracknell

The developers behind a controversial 17-storey tower blocks plan in Southgate have lodged an appeal against the decision to reject it.

Enfield Council’s planning committee last summer turned down the planning application to build 216 homes at Southgate Office Village after councillors expressed concerns over the scheme’s impact on the adjacent conservation area and the amount of affordable housing included.

But developer Viewpoint Estates has now lodged an appeal with the government, which will be determined at an upcoming planning inquiry.

In an appeal notification letter published this week, the council planning department stated: “Arrangements for the inquiry are currently being finalised by the Planning Inspectorate. These will include a pre-inquiry conference call with the lead parties to deal with procedural and administrative matters, including how the evidence will be heard.”

Viewpoint Estates is a consortium of Southgate-based business people and has operated Southgate Office Village, in Chase Road, for ten years. As well as the 216 homes, with 31% designated ‘affordable’, its plan for the site includes creating a new business hub.

The company could not be contacted for comment but planning consultant Holly Mitchell, when defending the plans on behalf of the developer at last year’s planning committee meeting, said: “Town centres like Southgate evolve over time. We consider the scheme would be a further evolution of Southgate town centre.”

However, at the same meeting, the council’s head of development management Andy Higham admitted the scheme’s “overall [affordable] offer and tenure split” did not comply with council planning policy but was “based on the scheme’s viability to deliver the optimum form of development for this site”.

Since last June’s meeting, the council’s planning department has been forced to introduce a “presumption in favour of sustainable development” because of its failure to keep up with its own housing targets. This move has already seen one application brought back to committee for a second debate and is likely to increase the chances of Viewpoints Estates being successful in its appeal.