Flats next to golf club approved

Bush Hill scheme has no affordable homes but includes £1.2m contribution for housing elsewhere, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

The plans for the site next to Bush Hill Park Golf Club
The plans for the site next to Bush Hill Park Golf Club (credit Argall Properties)

A plan to build 29 flats in Bush Hill Park has been approved despite concerns over the “contemporary” design of the buildings.

Developer Argall Properties won permission to build four blocks, ranging from three to five storeys on land previously occupied by detached homes in Bush Hill, during a meeting of Enfield Council’s planning committee on Tuesday.

The developer already had permission to build 20 flats at the site, which is next to Bush Hill Park Golf Club. Council planning officer James Clark told the meeting the main difference between the new proposals and the previously-approved plans was the increased height of some of the blocks.

None of the homes will be classed affordable, with the developer instead offering to pay £1.2million towards affordable housing on other sites. Explaining the lack of affordable provision, James said no registered providers were willing to take on the homes and more units could be provided elsewhere because of “economies of scale”.

The council received 22 objections to the plans. Speaking during the meeting, local councillor Andy Milne said he recognised the vacant brownfield site was “ripe for development” but added that the “somewhat brutal” design looked “nothing like” the existing homes in the area.

“It is a design that you could pick up in any conurbation in the country,” he said. “It is just an identikit design that dumps a square box in the middle of the area.”

Planning agent Michael Calder told the meeting the proposed scheme was a “high-quality, sustainable development” that would enable people to downsize and free up the supply of “much-needed family houses in the local area”.

He added that the “contemporary design” was “in keeping with the existing permission” and had been the subject of extensive discussion with council officers.

Members of the committee subsequently raised concerns over the design. Conservative councillor Mike Rye said it was “simply a square block which you could find anywhere in the country” that “does little to enhance the area”. Maria Alexandrou, another Tory member, said she thought it would “ruin the area”.

In response to the concerns, a council design officer pointed out that the scheme was not being planned for a conservation area and said he thought the design was “acceptable”. He suggested the developer could successfully appeal to the government’s Planning Inspectorate if the council refused permission on design grounds alone.

The six Labour members of the committee voted in favour of the plans, with three Conservative councillors and Community First’s Daniel Anderson voting against. The remaining Tory councillor abstained.

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