In our latest councillor’s column, Grange ward member Terry Neville shares his trepidation over local redevelopment
I’ve been a councillor in Enfield now for 34 years, and during that time I’ve seen many changes – sadly not all for the best!
Grange ward is having more planning issues at present than I’ve seen for some considerable time. The present ones are a mixture of controversial applications in the Enfield Town area and an increasing number of planning enforcement cases, as a lack of determined action by Enfield Council over recent years has led to many more people effectively ‘chancing their arm’ with developments and arguing about it afterwards!
I and my two ward colleagues continue to press the council on these cases, and I’ve recently called on the chief executive to investigate how effective planning enforcement is in the borough, something which he is now organising.
In Enfield Town there are two significant new applications, the biggest of which is being submitted by Deutsche Bank, the owner of Palace Gardens and Palace Exchange shopping centres. The company is proposing a major overhaul of the shopping centres, particularly in the now very tired Palace Gardens. The plans we have seen for the revamped Palace Gardens are a major improvement on what is there now, including the incorporation of a “boutique” Everyman cinema and restaurants to boost the night-time economy.
But a major investment in the town centre – which this undoubtedly is – has to be funded, and Deutsche Bank propose to do this by constructing a 26-storey apartment block, explicitly for rent only, above the shopping centre. As councillors we have met with the developer and its representatives and while recognising the commercial necessity, we have strenuously expressed our opposition to such a tall building. We are now organising a campaign against this aspect of the proposals – watch this space!
Another significant proposal within Grange ward is the redevelopment of the Metaswitch building at 100 Church Street, next to the New River. This consists of two apartment blocks, of five and seven storeys. The taller one will be visible from Cecil Road, and again we have sought to persuade the developer, Dominvs, to limit the blocks to five storeys. As if that wasn’t enough, there is a third proposal, to build a 14-storey block on the Ross House site in Windmill Hill, to which we expressed our outright opposition when we met the developers (also Dominvs) – resulting in those plans being ‘put on ice’ for the now.
Last but not least, the council has been consulting on its own proposals for revamping roads around Enfield Town. There is much opposition to these too, as they involve narrowing the carriageway in Church Street to one lane, quite ignoring it seems the existing volume of traffic. We are seriously concerned about the proposals generally, which do not address the basic problem of making Enfield Town more appealing to shoppers. Further reductions in car parking will do nothing to bring shoppers in – the Labour administration think cyclists are the answer, which is emphatically not the case.
Cllr Neville represents Grange ward alongside Andy Milne and Chris Dey (all Conservative). Ward surgeries are being held online only. To get in touch:
Call 07852 903 724
Email [email protected]