Park’s community hub café plans take shape

New facility set to benefit people visiting Firs Farm in Winchmore Hill, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

A sketch of the community hub plans for the Firs Farm

A local charity has won permission to build a redesigned café and meeting room next to a popular wetland area and playing fields.

The Friends of Firs Farm application to build the timber-framed community hub on a disused car park at Firs Farm Playing Fields in Winchmore Hill was approved by councillors on Tuesday.

It will also provide space for a function room, office and storage facilities, toilets, and indoor and outdoor seating.

Since 2014, volunteers have transformed Firs Farm into a well-used park, and the council has invested more than £1million in creating a wetlands area. Home to football fields and tennis courts, it is listed as a potential site for a “world-class sport village” in the council’s draft Local Plan.

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The application submitted to the council by Friends of Firs Farm said the community hub would host an “array of activities that will bring the community together, empower people and actively engage those isolated within the community”.

Designed to be open all year round, the hub would be used for classes, clubs and workshops. Schools could also use the facility to learn about the watercourse, sustainable drainage systems and the story of the site’s transformation into a wetland area.

Enfield Council confirmed after the planning committee meeting that the plans had been approved. It supersedes an earlier application from the friends group to use six temporary storage containers to house the community hub.

Helen Osman, cafe project committee communications lead for the friends, said the group was “delighted” that the application had been granted permission.

In the long run, the volunteers also hope to create a sensory garden at the site, including areas for children’s play, outdoor musical instruments, dog walking, vegetable and herb gardens and cycle parking.

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