Wait goes on for borough’s big housing schemes to deliver new homes

Legal challenges and rising construction costs among the obstacles developers in Enfield are facing, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

The 29-storey tower planned for Colosseum Retail Park in Southbury
The 29-storey tower planned for Colosseum Retail Park in Southbury (credit Rolfe Judd)

Work on a major development of 1,800 homes has yet to begin two-and-a-half years after being approved – while another big scheme in the borough faces a legal challenge.

The redevelopment of Colosseum Retail Park in Southbury is one of several large schemes with planning permission in Enfield that have yet to begin construction.

Another is the plan to redevelop Edmonton Green Shopping Centre to provide more than 1,400 homes, which is now facing a legal challenge from supermarket chain Asda.

It comes as Enfield Council continues to face added pressure to approve new residential schemes after failing to meet its housebuilding targets.

After the council’s planning committee approved the Colosseum scheme in September 2020, the civic centre granted formal planning permission to developers Blackrock and NEAT Developments in July 2021.

Set to provide a series of housing blocks between six and 29 storeys tall, the development was criticised for being “too dense” and providing only 30% affordable homes – below the council’s 40% target.

So far, the only sign of progress on the scheme is the relocation of B&Q from Colosseum Retail Park to neighbouring Enfield Retail Park, in December last year.

Although the reasons for the hold-up are not known and the developers have not commented despite being contacted by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the construction sector has been hit by significant price inflation over the past year which has delayed a number of big projects – including the council’s flagship Meridian Water housing scheme.

Plans for the first phase of the Edmonton Green redevelopment
Plans for the first phase of the Edmonton Green redevelopment

The Edmonton Green Shopping Centre scheme is designed to help regenerate the town centre and will see the existing 1960s-era shopping malls knocked down to make way for tower blocks up to 30 storeys high and new commercial space.

Despite being approved by the council’s planning committee in December 2021, the council only granted formal planning permission to developer Crosstree Real Estate Partners in November last year.

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Last month, a report presented to the council’s environment forum revealed supermarket chain Asda had applied for a judicial review of the planning permission decision. According to the draft minutes of the meeting, a court hearing is due to take place on 27th June.

Asda has declined to comment on the reasons for the legal challenge.

Plans for the redevelopment include the demolition of an access road and parking ramp serving the car park on the roof of the Asda supermarket adjacent to Edmonton Green Shopping Centre.

The council’s planning report states that the supermarket chain objected to the loss of car parking and lack of certainty over its reprovision, as well as the potential noise impact on residents when the rooftop parking is brought back into use.

It said the proposals would have “a significant impact on Asda customers and the trading performance of the Asda store in the short and long term”.

Other housing schemes in Enfield where work has yet to commence include the Southgate Office Village scheme set to provide 216 homes, which was approved via appeal in December 2021; plans for 148 flats in Green Street, Brimsdown, which were approved by the council’s planning committee in January 2021; and the redevelopment of the former gasholder in Station Road, New Southgate, which was approved by the planning committee in December 2021 and is set to provide 182 homes.

Figures published last year revealed Enfield only reached 67% of its target for 2,650 new homes during the previous three years, meaning the council must give more weight to applications to build new housing.

A council spokesperson said: “Planning permission for housing development schemes at Edmonton Green Shopping Centre and Colosseum Retail Park were granted in November 2022 and in July 2021 respectively, following the completion of the required legal agreements. These are complex projects often requiring other consents and permissions to be obtained. Both developments will be delivered over many years and council officers remain in regular contact with both developers.

“The council acknowledges the difficulties posed by the current economic climate and rising construction costs.”

The developers behind all of the schemes mentioned were approached for comment.

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