Comment

We need councillors to engage with residents on Enfield’s Local Plan

In this open letter written by campaign group Action for Enfield’s Future, councillors at Enfield Civic Centre are urged to engage with residents on the Local Plan

Labour group deputy leader Ergin Erbil (inset left) and Tory group leader Alex Georgiou (inset right)
Labour group deputy leader Ergin Erbil (inset left) and Tory group leader Alessandro Georgiou (inset right)

Dear councillors Ergin Erbil [Labour group interim leader] and Alessandro Georgiou [Conservative group leader],

The new Local Plan will affect everyone in Enfield, and its impact will be felt for generations. The latest plan proposes significant changes, for example with thousands of new homes planned for some wards, and changes to the borough’s green spaces.

It is vital that councillors engage with the public about the Local Plan. Residents need the help of their elected representatives to understand what the plan means for them and their families, as well as an opportunity to ask you questions and share their opinions with you. Ward forums are ideal for this purpose.

Residents are in the process of requesting their ward councillors to organise ward forums. We welcome and encourage this and hope you do too. We ask that you respond positively to their request and urge you to go further by asking all councillors to act now.

Your commitment

In October 2022, we presented a petition to full council which asked you to commit to a twelve-week consultation on the revised Local Plan. This was so there would be sufficient time for people to understand the plan, and for councillors to hold meaningful discussions with their constituents before they vote on the plan.

The petition had significant support, with over 4,000 residents expressing their commitment to shaping Enfield’s future.

You were both among the councillors who voted unanimously to support the petition. A welcome decision that created, and sustained, a great deal of good will, especially amongst the 7,000+ residents who participated in the initial, written consultation in 2021.

Furthermore, on publication of the revised plan in December, the council promised that: “Councillors will communicate with their constituents, discussing aspirations for homes and their environment.”

This is happening very slowly, if at all. Time is running out.

It is now over six weeks since the Local Plan was published, half-way through the consultation period, yet so far just three of the 25 wards have scheduled ward forums. Time is running out.

As leaders of Enfield’s Labour and Conservative elected representatives, please urge all councillors to engage with residents and hold ward forums within the next few weeks to discuss the plan, as a matter of urgency, and before the 6th March full council, when they will vote on the proposed Local Plan.

Missing evidence

We also ask that Enfield Council publish the evidence that complements the proposed Local Plan, for instance about housing targets or the exceptional case made for releasing Green Belt land. It is not possible for councillors and the public to fully understand the plan without this information.

If it is difficult to publish the evidence before 6th March, then we request an extension to the Regulation 19 consultation period from six to twelve weeks. The extra time allows a thorough examination of the unpublished new evidence, which may be extensive.

We hope that you will honour the commitment made in October 2022 and ensure that Enfield’s residents have a voice in shaping our borough’s future. We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Action for Enfield’s Future

Action for Enfield’s Future is a non-political community group with members from across Enfield including representatives from The Enfield Society, EnCaf, Better Homes for Enfield and Enfield Roadwatch each with a significant membership