Negative feedback from survey to Palace Square plans, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter
Most people support improving the centre of Enfield Town but are concerned over the scale and density of new high-rise plans drawn up by a developer, according to the results of a new survey.
The height of the proposed tower blocks, up to 26 storeys high, was the main concern cited by those who responded to a survey on plans by DWS, a division of Deutsche Bank, to redevelop Palace Gardens Shopping Centre.
Carried out by charity Civic Voice and promoted by The Enfield Society, the survey was filled in by 2,140 people – 95% of whom were Enfield residents. Findings were presented to the public by Civic Voice’s executive director, Ian Harvey, during an online meeting on Monday.
More than three-quarters of respondents (77.7%) supported making improvements to the town centre but had reservations about the proposed scheme.
Most thought a wider choice of shops (77.8%) and better landscaping (73.2%) would improve the town centre, but less than one-in-ten (9.5%) believed 350 rental flats would do so.
The height of the proposed towers was the main concern cited by those who gave their views – identified in more than 700 responses. A further concern, identified in more than 500 responses, was that the housing would not address local need.
The provision of car parking was also deemed insufficient, with respondents warning a new development would exacerbate existing traffic and parking problems.
A mistrust of Enfield Council to make the decision on the planning application – which has yet to be submitted – was evident in 131 of the responses.
Civic Voice highlight a perception among respondents that the consultation on the scheme had so far been “tokenistic”. Although it credited the developer for carrying out a pre-application consultation, the charity called for it to publish more tangible and transparent information about the consultation.
It suggested the applicant join a webinar with Civic Voice to discuss the feedback and undertake a “more physical consultation” when coronavirus restrictions allow.
The charity also recommended that The Enfield Society seek the views of a younger audience, with only 6% of responses to the survey coming from those aged under 35.
Both Enfield Southgate MP Bambos Charalambous and Enfield North MP Feryal Clark have stated their opposition to the plans as they currently stand.
A second webinar on the survey findings will be held at 7pm on Thursday: