Sadiq Khan set to object to Green Belt housing plans

Enfield Council facing opposition from both Labour mayor and Labour MP, reports James Cracknell

Vicarage Farm in World's End, where Enfield Council wants to allocated 3,000 new homes, and (inset) Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
Vicarage Farm in World’s End, where Enfield Council wants to allocated 3,000 new homes, and (inset) Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Enfield North MP Feryal Clark have both criticised Enfield Council’s bid to build thousands of homes on parts of the borough’s Green Belt.

The two Labour politicians hit out at the Labour-run authority’s draft Local Plan, which proposes the “de-designation” of Green Belt land at Vicarage Farm in World’s End and a series of sites at Crews Hill, allocating each area a target of 3,000 homes over 20 years.

Khan, who previously voiced his opposition to an earlier iteration of Enfield Council’s plan, has again expressed his disappointment when quizzed on the subject at last week’s Mayor’s Question Time. He told London Assembly members at City Hall: “I wasn’t happy with their draft Local Plan and I objected in relation to the de-designation of Green Belt. I would be surprised, if they continue with these plans to de-designate, that I don’t continue to express my unhappiness with that.”

The Greater London Authority does not have the power to amend Local Plans drawn up by London borough councils, but can help to influence the decision of a government planning inspector who must examine the plans to ensure they comply with the National Planning Policy Framework.

The London mayor also retains the right to ‘call in’ and reject large planning applications, including when they are deemed to be in conflict with the London Plan.

Khan said: “The London Plan is clear that Green Belt boundaries should only be changed in exceptional circumstances. London’s Green Belt prevents urban sprawl, driving the reuse and intensification of previously-developed land. Prioritising development on brownfield land is a key part of the approach.”

Asked whether he would object to the latest iteration of Enfield’s draft Local Plan, published earlier this month, the mayor added: “If it is the case that any council – we are talking about Enfield now – has plans to de-designate [Green Belt] for reasons I don’t agree with, I will object.

“I would hope a planning inspector would side with those objections. This is a good example of me not caring whether the council is Labour or Tory.”

As well as the capital’s Labour mayor, Enfield Council is also facing opposition from Labour MP Feryal Clark, within whose Enfield North constituency the two Green Belt sites sit. Feryal told her constituents in a statement on her website: “I have heard and appreciate the reservations that residents have expressed regarding certain aspects of the plan, in particular the potential loss of Green Belt land.

“I share the concerns that many of you have raised with me and believe that all possible options for housing should be explored, including the innovative use of existing brownfield sites in the borough, before any development on Green Belt is considered.

“Residents can be assured that I will be expressing my thoughts on any potential loss of Green Belt land directly to the council, and I would recommend that everyone utilise the twelve-week consultation period to make their views heard.”

The draft Local Plan is now open to public consultation until Monday 13th September. Residents can take part via the council’s website letstalk.enfield.gov.uk.