Existing shopping centre to be demolished to make way for new mixed housing and retail scheme, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter
A major regeneration scheme at Edmonton Green Shopping Centre has been given the go-ahead by councillors.
The large-scale development will see the existing 1960s-era shopping malls knocked down and up to 1,438 new homes built, alongside new commercial space.
The three existing tower blocks that stand over the shopping centre – Pennine House, Grampian House and Mendip House, which date to the 1970s and rise to 25 storeys – will be integrated into the new scheme.
During a meeting on Tuesday, members of Enfield Council’s planning committee approved the first phase of the scheme in full and the second phase in outline, which means a detailed application for the second phase will need approval at a later date. Work on the first phase is expected to start in spring 2023, with the entire development due for completion in 2035.
The council received eight objections to the development from members of the public. Speaking during the meeting, local resident Alex Lebel said the proposed buildings were “too high” and claimed this was not made clear to residents during consultation.
His comments were echoed by Vivienne Aiyela, who lives in Pennine House. Vivienne said many residents in the existing tower were concerned the new towers would block out daylight and sunlight from their homes.
Supporters of the scheme told the committee the development would improve the area, which suffers from high levels of deprivation. Edmonton Green councillor Ergin Erbil said the new designs would reduce opportunities for drug-dealing and anti-social behaviour.
Matt Mason, a partner at Crosstree, said the development would create a “sustainable town centre”, providing homes, green spaces and employment opportunities for local people.
When the application was discussed by the committee, several members raised concerns over the scheme’s impact on neighbours and heritage, and the proposed level of affordable homes.
Conservative committee member Mike Rye questioned whether it was really a regeneration scheme. He said: “This is essentially a housing project in a poor ward of high density, where we are not even delivering the council’s own aspiration of 40% social [affordable] housing.”
In the first phase, 109 out of 350 homes (31%) will be classed as affordable, but the planning report stated that “the applicant has committed to 35% of units being delivered as affordable housing” across both phases of the scheme.
Commitee member Daniel Anderson, an independent member of the Community First group, suggested many existing Edmonton residents would be unable to afford the homes. He said: “I do not see how this development improves the opportunities for people in this borough.”
Responding to concerns raised by residents and councillors, planning officer Graham Harrington admitted there would be a loss of daylight and sunlight to some homes on the lower floors of Pennine House, but said this would be compensated for by other improvements, such as increased access to green space.
He said officers always tried to maximise affordable homes on developments, adding “in this case, we think it is acceptable”.
The development site is surrounded by four conservation areas, and there are seven Grade 2-listed buildings nearby. In a report, the council’s heritage and conservation officer wrote that he was unable to support the plans.
But planning officers wrote that they considered the public benefits of the scheme would outweigh the “less than substantial harm” that would be caused to the setting of the heritage assets.
Labour’s Hass Yusuf and committee chair Sinan Boztas expressed support for the plans. Cllr Boztas, who represents Lower Edmonton, said: “We all have some issues with the scheme, but I think it will be an advantage for residents of Edmonton in the long term.”
At the end of the debate, the four Conservative committee members voted against the application, along with Cllr Anderson. The seven remaining committee members – all members of the Labour group – voted to approve the plans, which will now be referred to the Greater London Authority because of the application’s size.