Enfield Council eyes £800m sale of Green Belt development sites

Local authority hopes to cash-in on its huge land portfolio after sites are removed from Green Belt protection, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Crews Hill Golf Club is one of the council-owned Green Belt sites earmarked for housing development in its draft Local Plan
Crews Hill Golf Club is one of the council-owned Green Belt sites earmarked for housing development in the draft Local Plan

Enfield Council hopes to raise £800million by selling off Green Belt land, officers have revealed.

Civic centre officials said the figure was based on the value of the council-owned Green Belt sites earmarked for de-designation in Enfield’s draft Local Plan, which would still be subject to planning consent.

The council owns nearly 40% of the borough’s 3,059 hectares of Green Belt, which is protected from development other than where there are existing brownfield sites. Controversial proposals to ‘de-designate’ some Green Belt sites to allow development – including the construction of more than 6,000 homes – are contained in the draft Local Plan, which was first published in 2021 and is currently being revised ahead of a second public consultation.

The de-designation plans were strongly criticised by London mayor Sadiq Khan shortly after they were published and the issue also became a key factor in the local election last May, when Labour lost eight seats to the Conservatives in Enfield. Council leader Nesil Caliskan subsequently agreed to hold a cross-party review of the draft Local Plan and take a fresh look at proposals to allow development on the Green Belt.

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But during a meeting of the council’s finance and performance scrutiny panel on Wednesday, a presentation by officers stated that the council was “working towards unlocking £800m of capital value by selling Green Belt land”.

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Under questioning from Conservative panel member Julian Sampson, the council’s head of strategic property services Adrian Smallwood described the £800m figure as a “guide” and “estimate if what has been submitted in the Local Plan were to have a change of status”.

Adrian said the council had submitted sites across the borough as part of a ‘call for sites’ exercise carried out under the Local Plan process, and these would be contained within the regulation 18 document that forms part of the Local Plan process.

Under questioning from Conservative leader Alessandro Georgiou, Adrian said that the value of the land would depend on whether it gained planning consent and what the nature of the approved use was.

He continued: “The Local Plan is but the first step. It is a kind of speculative figure, because so many steps would have to be gone through before you could cash in on any particular value.

“This is very, very far-horizon gazing in terms of ‘should it all come good’, [rather] than ‘we are looking at those kind of values for the Green Belt sites which are within the Local Plan for the sites submission’.”

In response to Cllr Georgiou, Adrian confirmed that the £800m figure was a “top-level assumption of the Green Belt sites currently allocated in the draft Local Plan”.

Fay Hammond, the council’s executive director of resources, confirmed the £800m was not included in any of the assumptions forming part of the local authority’s medium-term financial plan.

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