Deutsche Bank reveals high-rise plans for Enfield Town Conservation Area, reports James Cracknell
A 26-storey tower block is being proposed for the centre of Enfield Town as part of a redevelopment of Palace Gardens shopping centre.
The ‘Palace Square‘ scheme, revealed this week, would include a new “boutique” cinema, gym, redesigned shopping mall, restaurants, and 450 new homes (350 in the ‘first phase’). It forms a central part of Deutsch Bank’s bid to “revitalise” Enfield Town with provision for evening shopping and leisure activities, after the company bought both Palace Gardens and Palace Exchange shopping centres in 2018 and 2016 respectively.
The planned height of the residential tower, however, is already causing concern among local people, as it would be situated within Enfield Town Conservation Area – noted for its “market town character” and many historic buildings. A 29-storey development at Colosseum Retail Park in Enfield won planning permission just two weeks ago, but is situated nearly a mile away from the town centre, on the A10.
Local residents will have a chance to quiz staff from DWS, Deutsche Bank’s asset management arm, at two online consultation events being held this month, with the first tomorrow. They can also leave feedback online. A planning application is due to be submitted early next year.
A spokesperson for the Palace Square project team told the Dispatch: “To revitalise the town centre there does need to be an element of residential in order to fund the redevelopment. It needs to be mixed use and it needs to be a certain scale.
“When we did a survey a lot of people said they wanted an evening economy – at the moment there is no reason to come here after 6pm.”
Palace Gardens was built in 1982 and includes retailers such as WHSmith, Boots and Pearsons, although the latter is not included in the redevelopment plans. The adjacent Palace Exchange, built in 2006, is also not included in the current proposal.
The Covid-19 pandemic, which has led to an economic recession and industries such as leisure and hospitality struggling to survive, has not deterred DWS from pursuing its plans. The spokesperson added: “Town centres and high streets across the country are facing incredible challenges, and Enfield is no exception.
“Now is the time to reimagine existing shopping centres and create a new experience for visitors to Enfield Town, providing a range of shops, pedestrianised streets, boutique cinema, restaurants and leisure experiences that are open until the evening.
“We hope that Enfield’s residents will tell us what they think about our initial proposals as we look to create a vibrant food, leisure and living experience in the town centre.”
Initial reaction has been negative, however. Angela Bowring, a resident of River View in Enfield Town, told the Dispatch: “Have they lost their mind? They want 26 storeys in the middle of the town? It’s ridiculous – they can get lost.”
Councillor Lindsay Rawlings, a Town ward member and shadow lead on environment for the Conservative group, said: “While we are happy that redevelopment of the area is now taking place, as you might expect we are not at all happy with the proposed height of the tower block.
“This is totally out of character with existing buildings and also not in keeping with the conservation area.”
Asked whether the height of the scheme was negotiable, the Palace Square spokesperson said: “The architecture will be of high quality. Where height is concerned, we know we need to justify this, and we are confident we can do that.”
An online consultation has begun, including two webinars from 6pm on Thursday 15th and Monday 26th October. To take part: