Green groups slam council homes plan

New report shows how building on Green Belt is “unnecessary”, reports James Cracknell

A national environmental group has joined with local campaigners to oppose Enfield Council’s plan to allow construction of new homes on the borough’s Green Belt.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is now working with local groups Enfield RoadWatch and The Enfield Society against the council’s draft Local Plan, which proposes building on some parts of the Green Belt in order to meet new higher home-building targets.

A Enfield RoadWatch stall
Enfield RoadWatch has been campaigning to protect Enfield’s Green Belt land since 2015

Evidence gathered by the groups has been included in a report entitled Space to Build, Enfield that has been submitted to the council as part of its recent public consultation on the Local Plan. Alice Roberts, from CPRE London, said: “Our report shows that Enfield Council should not even be considering building on Green Belt. There is plenty of space to build new homes within Enfield’s previously developed land. We’ve already found space for 37,000 new homes and that’s really just a start.

“Our research shows that building housing at Crews Hill would be the worst possible option for Enfield residents. It cannot provide affordable housing, would mean more congestion and traffic, and would destroy a cluster of much-loved businesses which are visited by people from all over North London and beyond – an important piece of Enfield’s economy which cannot be replaced.

“The type of low-density housing which is typical of Green Belt developments will contribute little towards the borough’s housing target. Building on Enfield’s Green Belt would mean giving up large swathes of valuable green land for very few new homes. And those will predominantly be expensive homes.”

The council has been told by the Mayor of London to build 1,876 homes per year – with only 550 being built on average at present. Areas for largescale home-building suggested by CPRE include Southbury and Edmonton Green. Sadiq Khan has also warned the council that he will not allow building on the Green Belt.

Councillor Ahmet Oykener, cabinet member for property and assets, said: “The Local Plan proposals aim to tackle the housing crisis in Enfield and address a wide range of chronic housing issues including improving the supply of genuinely affordable high-quality family homes for hard-working Enfield residents, helping to get young people on the housing ladder and eradicating the need for temporary accommodation.

“We will always prefer to meet Enfield’s housing needs by building on brownfield and town centre sites but our Local Plan also needs to consider other options.

“Our Local Plan options include looking at a small section (5-7%) of Green Belt land and considering whether it may be suitable for quality and affordable homes for families.

“All options are currently on the table at this early stage. We will consider all the responses to the consultation before we work up and develop our preferred options.”