Southgate flat residents’ fury over added storey

Neighbours’ anger over plan for extra storey on block, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

The exiting block of flats at Isabella Close and Old Farm Avenue (credit Google)
The existing block of flats at Isabella Close and Old Farm Avenue (credit Google)

Enfield Council bosses have refused calls for its planning committee to examine a controversial extension to a block of flats, despite neighbours’ concerns over the scheme.

Cloygate, a developer, was last month granted permission to build five flats by adding an extra storey on top of an existing block, on the corner of Isabella Close and Old Farm Avenue in Southgate.

Ward councillors had called for the application to be brought to the planning committee owing to the strength of local feeling about the scheme. But their request was denied by council planning chiefs, who told them that committee chair Sinan Boztas had agreed the application could be determined without reference to the planning committee.

The scheme was subsequently granted under permitted development rights, which under national legislation allows certain types of development to go ahead without the need to submit a formal planning application. Upward extensions to flats of up to two storeys have been allowed under permitted development rights since 2020, providing they meet a range of conditions.

Local residents raised a number of complaints over the scheme. Catherine Gilbert, who lives in Nursery Road, said the new added storey, a metal-and-glass structure, would look “hideous”.

“This development will not fit in,” she explained. “It will be higher than everything else in the neighbourhood, and it will be a complete eyesore.

“I will be very overlooked. I get my morning sunlight from behind where the flats are, so an extra storey is going to affect that. The light will be blocked out, and I know that on the other side of the flats, their evening and afternoon sun is going to be blocked out by that extension.”

Derek Bandy submitted an objection on behalf of 13 leaseholders and residents whose main concern was the absence of additional parking for the flats. They claim reports submitted by the developer do not take account of visitor and other short-term parking, and were carried out during quiet periods.

Derek also said the flat roof of the proposed scheme would be out-of-keeping with the other properties in the street, which have pitched roofs.

He added: “The other thing that really annoys us is that as far as we can see it is going to shadow our gardens quite badly. We have a communal garden. The front block already does shadow it, but the side block will now shadow it as well, and when they do the shadow forecast, they do it at the wrong time of day.”

Planning officers wrote in a report that the scheme “would not have an adverse effect on parking, highways safety and the free flow of traffic”. 

Stephanos Ioannou, a Conservative councillor for Southgate, said he had tried to ‘call in’ the application so it could be debated and voted on at the council’s planning committee, but that his request was declined.

Cllr Ioannou said he was told prior-approval applications were deemed to be approved 56 days following valid submission, and this period would have elapsed by the time of the next committee meeting. But he pointed out that he had lodged his call-in request before the end of the 56-day period, adding: “My argument is, you are adding another storey in a suburban, semi-detached area […] what is the problem with taking it to the committee?”

Enfield Council, Cllr Boztas and the developer were approached for comment.