Why we must protect Enfield’s countryside

In our latest councillor’s column, Conservative councillor Joanne Laban argues against plans to build on Ridgeway ward’s Green Belt

Conservative councillor Joanne LabanConservative councillor Joanne Laban
Conservative councillor Joanne Laban

Having served on Enfield Council since 2010, I was elected to represent the newly-created ward of Ridgeway at the local election in 2022. I am grateful to all those who voted for me.

In my opinion, Ridgeway ward is the jewel in Enfield’s crown, containing areas of both town and countryside. It stretches the length of The Ridgeway from the western side of Enfield Town all the way up to the border with Potters Bar. Unfortunately, its beautiful landscape is under threat from Enfield’s Labour administration.

The future of Enfield’s Green Belt is in doubt because of the Labour-run council’s draft Local Plan, which identified Vicarage Farm, located between Hadley Road and Trentwood Side, for large-scale housing development in 2021.

That year’s consultation on the draft Local Plan showed there was mass opposition to the proposals to build on Vicarage Farm. However, the Labour council has ignored the views of residents and refused to drop the proposals. The plans remain very much on the table as things stand.

I know that there will be some readers thinking that Vicarage Farm should be built on because of the need for housing. However, I would argue that Meridian Water, Enfield’s flagship regeneration programme, has been planned for more than 13 years – while only a small area of the overall site has so far commenced construction.

Why should our countryside be built on due to failures by successive Labour administrations?

What I would like to see is the council visibly putting as much passion and energy into getting industrial areas declassified for residential development as it does for changing the status of Vicarage Farm. If development happened on the industrial estates, it would bring investment into some of our borough’s most deprived areas. These areas would thrive given their excellent rail links into central London.

During the pandemic, Vicarage Farm and other areas of the Green Belt were used for people’s daily exercise. It highlighted how lucky we are to have open spaces such as Vicarage Farm.

Air quality has recently been in the news due to the London mayor’s expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone, which I oppose. One of the reasons outer London has better air quality than inner London is due to its parks, open spaces and countryside. If we build on the Green Belt, we would be destroying important environmental infrastructure.

All three Ridgeway councillors want to reassure residents that we know how important this issue is for our community. Enfield is a lovely place to live because of its mix of town and countryside. We will continue to oppose any plans to build on Vicarage Farm and the Green Belt.

Joanne Laban is one of three councillors representing Ridgeway ward, alongside Edward Smith and Andrew Thorp (all Conservative). To get in touch:
020 8351 1370
Email [email protected]

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