Row over how much green space will be created at Enfield Council’s flagship development project, reports James Cracknell
Enfield Council has defended its plans for new public green space at Meridian Water after a leading environmental campaign group called for the authority to be more ambitious in its plans.
The London branch of Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) published a list of eight locations within the capital where it believes new parks could be created. CPRE London’s Alice Roberts said that London “has just half the green space it needs for a population its size” but that there were many green spaces “just sitting idle – at best ignored, at worst deliberately run down”.
The area highlighted by CPRE at Meridian Water is a patch of disused land adjacent to the River Lea, near Banbury Reservoir. It is a mix of low quality, enclosed green space, and ex-industrial brownfield land that has become notorious for fly-tipping.
Alice argues that the council’s plans for Meridian Water do not currently contain enough green space for the number of new people expected to live there. She said: “Local residents are very concerned that, with a much higher population, there will not be enough provision of green space and playing fields for this area, which already lacks enough green space facilities for the existing population.”
CPRE point out that the local standard for public park provision is 2.37 hectares per 1,000 residents but that the Upper Edmonton ward has just 0.28ha per 1,000 – a deficit equivalent to 60 football pitches, or around half of the development space available within Meridian Water. To make up this gap while also providing sufficient green space for tens of thousands of new residents, CPRE claims 110 football pitches would be needed.
Asked to respond to this criticism, a council spokesperson said that two new green spaces – called ‘Brooks Park’ and ‘Edmonton Marshes’ – formed part of its plans for Meridian Water. But these two new green areas would still only provide an equivalent of 12 football pitches.
The council spokesperson said: “Providing park and green spaces is a central plank of the Meridian Water plan. One of the development’s three place-making pillars is “park life on your doorstep” and Enfield Council is very conscious of the deficit of parks and open space in the Edmonton area and sees the provision of parkland at Meridian Water as a key element in addressing that shortfall.
“The Meridian Water development already has planning permission and funding in place to provide parks and open spaces for the first phases and more will be provided throughout the life of the programme. This specifically includes space around Banbury Reservoir.
“Through the strategic infrastructure works consented in summer 2020 and included in our Phase 2 outline planning application, we provide for 8.4ha of parkland with 2ha at Brooks Park, and a further 6.4ha at Edmonton Marshes. These are programmed to be delivered by 2024 and are funded through our housing infrastructure award from government.
“Phase 1, which has outline planning permission, will provide a further 1.7ha of public open space.”