Loss of car parking spaces at Cockfosters Station still chief concern, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter
Residents and commuters face being “seriously disadvantaged” by a development planned for a tube station’s car parks, campaigners have warned.
Representatives from residents’ groups slammed plans by Connected Living London (CLL) – a partnership between Transport for London (TfL) and Grainger – to build 351 flats in blocks of up to 14 storeys high on the car parks at Cockfosters Station.
The developer originally planned to retain just twelve parking spaces for blue badge holders but added an extra 35 publicly accessible bays in response to an earlier consultation with residents. It has also reduced the number of homes and now plans to include a pick-up and drop-off area made up of seven parking bays.
But local groups remain deeply opposed to the scheme, which Enfield Council has confirmed departs from two local planning policies. A smaller plan to build 162 flats over the car parks at Arnos Grove Station was refused earlier this year owing to concerns over the loss of parking, the impact on a listed building and a lack of family-sized homes.
Peter Gibbs, vice president of the Federation of Enfield Residents and Allied Associations, said: “There is in no way such a shortage of building sites that these car parks have to be ripped up and a lot of people – not just locals but commuters as well – have to be seriously disadvantaged.”
Campaigners warn the development at Cockfosters would add to parking stress and congestion on surrounding streets, as well as having an unacceptable impact on those with mobility issues. It has been designed as a “car-free” scheme, meaning there would be no on-site parking for residents other than blue badge holders.
Colin Bull, chair of Cockfosters Local Area Residents’ Association, said the developer was “completely overburdening” the area, as well as “taking away parking from people who really need to access the tube”.
“They say the bus connections at Cockfosters are good – they are not,” he added. “There is no connection to Chase Farm Hospital, for example.”
Colin also branded the plans a “confused, unprincipled and wrong solution for Cockfosters, the people who use the station, and the people who live near it”.
While CLL claims the development would provide “urgently-needed homes”, with 40% classed as ‘affordable’, the campaigners say most of these flats would not meet the needs of Enfield residents. Of the 351 units, 90% would be one and two-bedroom, with three-bedroom flats making up the remaining 10%.
Peter said: “The vast majority of so-called affordable homes are only at a relatively small discount from market rent.
“These plans are a delusion – they will not benefit the people who most need housing.”
The campaigners claim the blocks would be too tall for the surrounding area and have a harmful impact on Trent Park Conservation Area, nearby heritage assets and the Green Belt.
They also say the density of the development would be seven times the norm for an outer-London suburb, while there has been no provision for upgrading local infrastructure such as schools, GP surgeries and hospitals.
Further concerns were raised over the council’s consultation with residents. Colin said the original deadline to comment on the application was 2nd August, which he felt was not sufficient for such a large application. It has been extended to 11th August following lobbying by councillors.
He added that people living in the east of Barnet, who would also be affected by the Cockfosters scheme, had not been written to by Enfield Council, and pointed out public comments are not published on the council’s planning portal – unlike in neighbouring Barnet and Haringey.
Responding to the campaigners’ comments, Ben Tate, on behalf of Connected Living London, said “meaningful changes” had been made to the plans following a consultation with residents, adding that family homes were included in the scheme.
He said: “We wrote to the local community in both Enfield and Barnet, and those who have registered an interest in the scheme, to inform them that the planning application had been submitted, so that they can provide their feedback.
“We will continue to engage with the local community about our plans ahead of the scheme being presented for planning approval.”
CLL intends to give priority for affordable housing to those who live and work in Enfield and claims the development would generate £4million that could be spent on local infrastructure.
A spokesperson for Enfield Council claimed the local authority had followed all the national guidance to ensure the application had been properly publicised with a “site notice, press notice, publication on the weekly list and more than 550 letters to adjoining and surrounding properties”.
The spokesperson added: “Additionally, acknowledging the importance of this matter to local people, the council arranged for the consultation period to be extended beyond the duration required by law – 33 days overall as opposed to the minimum 21-day period.
“Enfield Council does not have the responsibility for contacting Barnet residents. However, we have taken steps above and beyond the statutory requirements to make sure they too have been kept informed of the application through site notices and advertisement.
“The council is committed to working with greater transparency and to make it as simple as possible for residents to be involved in the democratic process. In recognition of the public interest in this scheme, the council has taken the decision to increase the prominence of this planning application on its website. It has provided clear signposting on its planning page to highlight the application and facilitate public comments.”
Residents can view and comment on the plans by visiting the council’s planning portal and entering reference 21/02517/FUL