Labour MPs speak out against proposed Enfield Town scheme, reports James Cracknell
Two local MPs have both said they oppose new proposals for redeveloping Enfield Town with a 26-storey tower block.
Palace Gardens owner Deutsche Bank wants to demolish most of the ageing shopping centre and build hundreds of homes on the site to fund the creation of a new mixed retail area with restaurants, bars and a boutique cinema.
But the plans announced in October have been slammed by the two local MPs whose constituencies would be impacted by the proposal. Feryal Clark, whose Enfield North seat borders the shopping centre and includes much of Enfield Town Conservation Area, said she could not support plans that would threaten the “historic character” of the area.
She told the Dispatch: “I have met with the developers a couple of times to look at their consultation and while I welcome some of the proposals to improve the shopping thoroughfares and create a night-time economy, Enfield Town is in a conservation area and it has a historic market – the character of the area does not lend itself to a 26-storey tower.
“You have one of the oldest markets in the country and it can’t be overshadowed by a 26-storey tower. By all means create a night-time economy, but not like this.”
Enfield Southgate MP Bambos Charalambous, within whose constituency the shopping centre sits, is in agreement with his Labour colleague. He told the Dispatch: “It is not in keeping with Enfield Town, I think it needs a rework and I don’t think it’s appropriate – I am definitely against it.
“It is in the nature [of developers] to do whatever they can get away with and maximise their profits and that is in their interest. This might be their opening gambit.”
Asked for his reaction when he first heard about the plans, Bambos said: “I was quite shocked and I didn’t expect it. If they had made an assessment of the area they would know it is not in keeping with it. They need to be a lot more sensitive to what is good about Enfield Town and respect the conservation area. That bit of town around Gentleman’s Row is the core of what makes Enfield Town attractive.”
Feryal added: “I am not anti-towers, in the right spaces you can have tall buildings, but 26 storeys is not right for Enfield Town. I want the developers to come up with alternatives and I am urging constituents to write to them about what they think. We have a voice and people should speak up.”
In June Enfield Council’s planning committee rejected an application for a cluster of towers up to 17 storeys tall because of the impact it would have had on the adjacent Southgate Circus Conservation Area. However, the same committee later approved plans for the tallest tower in the borough, at 29 storeys, which is due to be built on the site of Colosseum Retail Park in Southbury. A 30-storey tower is now also being proposed as part of the large-scale redevelopment of Edmonton Green Shopping Centre.
Both Feryal and Bambos dispute a claim from DWS that a 26-storey residential tower is needed in order to fund the redevelopment of Palace Gardens. Bambos said he believed the plans could be “reworked” without the need for a high-rise tower block, while Feryal has demanded to see the financial viability report from Deuthsche Bank justifying the plans.
A spokesperson for the ‘Palace Square’ development said: “The Palace Square proposals will create a new food, leisure and dining experience in the heart of Enfield, replacing what is a tired shopping centre in need of considerable modernisation.
“Throughout our extensive consultation with the local community we have heard that people want an evening economy in Enfield, with family restaurants, independent stores and pop-up space for start-up creative and food orientated businesses.
“Palace Square is set to deliver all of this, alongside high-quality accommodation in the town centre. We look forward to showing our latest proposals in the new year.”
Find our more about the Palace Square plans: