Opposition councillors slam ‘Devonshire Square’ plans

Conservatives have criticised Enfield Council’s plans to permanently pedestrianise a junction in Palmers Green, reports Grace Howarth, Local Democracy Reporter

Devonshire Square as it looks now

A plan to pedestrianise a junction in Palmers Green has been criticised by Conservative councillors. 

During a planning committee this week (Tuesday 4th) councillors discussed ongoing plans to redesign ‘Devonshire Square’, the junction of Devonshire Road and Green Lanes. 

The redesign aims to create a flexible community space for residents and businesses, with a variety of usages including market space, cultural events, and outdoor dining for the two cafes on the square. 

On Tuesday councillors approved plans to extinguish vehicular access rights, meaning cars will be permanently prevented from driving over the junction.

While the road is already closed, the council wants to make this situation permanent to facilitate the creation of the community space, however some members had concerns. 

Opposition leader Alessandro Georgiou said: “What the committee is being asked to do is to  make a permanent decision without a level of consultation, and my understanding is once the order’s been terminated, the vehicular access, it won’t come back to the committee. 

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“My problem with that is we won’t have the opportunity to hear from the public, there won’t be a statutory consultation done and that for me causes a concern. 

“We’ve general assumptions but no actual data in this report.”

Head of planning and building control, Karen Page, gave some background, saying: “This is a project that has been ongoing with the council for some time now. The project started in 2020 and was considered one of the quieter neighbourhood projects. 

“Since then the council has put through a traffic order to preclude vehicles from accessing the road from that junction.

“The application before us is the next step in the process, whilst the road has been closed, what the traffic order doesn’t do is enable the pedestrianisation of the area identified in that junction to be used as amenity space.”

Karen explained this required local planning authority approval, adding the traffic order to pedestrianise the area would be advertised, and then a 28-day public consultation would commence. 

She added: “If the community is behind the scheme officers will recommend the pedestrianisation is made permanent.”

Karen also said because this type of application wasn’t a planning application, the council wasn’t required to consult on it, but key stakeholders had been liaised with throughout the process. 

Following discussion, members voted on the proposal along party lines with six votes in favour and four against.

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