Agenda and minutes

Planning Panel - Thursday, 11th October, 2007 7.30 pm

Venue: Conference Room, Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield, EN1 3XA. View directions

No. Item




AGREED that Councillor Prescott act as chairman for the Panel.






1.         There were no declarations of interest from Members of the Panel.


2.            Councillor Dreblow declared a prejudicial interest, as she had publicly stated her opposition to this application.


3.            Councillor Laban declared a prejudicial interest as his objections had been reported in the local press.


4.            Councillor Wilkinson specifically stated that she did not have an interest to declare.



(i)            Purpose of the meeting


(ii)            Introduction of Applicant’s representatives and Officers of the Council




1.         The Chairman invited Members, the applicant’s representatives and Council officers to introduce themselves.


2.         The meeting would be broadcast as a live web-cast and the recording would be made available on the Council’s website (


3.         Julian Jackson, Head of Development Control, explained that the purpose of the meeting was to provide local residents and other interested parties with the opportunity to ask the applicants and agents representatives questions about the current application (TP/07/1623).


4.         The application would be formally considered and determined by the Planning Committee on Monday 12 November, at 7.30 pm at Enfield Civic Centre.




David Snell, Area Planning Manager and the case officer for the application, gave a summary of the proposed development, and highlighted the main differences between these proposals and the previous scheme.




1.         This application for a football training centre was similar in concept to application TP/06/0735, which was refused planning permission on 27/9/06, but with a number of substantial differences, including:


a.   The application area covered 27.2 hectares, including land at Whitewebbs sports ground, which was already laid out as football pitches.

b.   The amount of hard surfaced area would be reduced.

c.   The main access was different.  The previous main entrance would now be a secondary access.

d.   There was a revised parking layout.

e.   The lodge would be repositioned, and the academy building was reorientated.

f.   Two buildings at Whitewebbs sports ground would be demolished, and hard surface area including a 49 space car park would be removed.

g.   There would be an increase in land set aside for landscape and ecological value.




Peter Dixon of Savills, the applicant’s planning advisors, introduced attendees from Tottenham Hotspur Football Club (THFC) and their advisors on building design, landscape design, and historic buildings and conservation.  Other members of the design team and officials from the Club were also in attendance to answer any questions.




1.         David Keirle, Head of the Design Team, gave a presentation, illustrated with slides, including:


a.   The site of 67 acres incorporated Whitewebbs sports ground and adjacent playing fields to Myddelton House.  An area in the previous application was excluded from this application, but included in an ecological management plan.

b.   Approximately 40 acres of this area were currently used for sports use, with private access.

c.   Whitewebbs sports club building was in one of the major views from Forty Hall, and would be removed along with all the hard standing there.

d.   It was also proposed to demolish the pavilion and car park adjacent to Myddelton House, and remove the access road that led to that.

e.   The main building would be situated 350 metres from Myddelton House, with 98 car parking spaces, which was less than the current parking provision on site.  There would also be a lodge building for security.

f.   The first team area would be on the western side, including a synthetic pitch with floodlighting.  The floodlighting would be heavily focussed to minimise spill and glare and only operate October to March, from 4.30 to 9.00 pm at the latest.

g.   The building was rotated from the previous application.

h.   The vast majority of the site would be laid out for sports pitches and grassed area.

i.   There would be expansion of some hedgerows.

j.   There would be two linked pavilions for the first team and the academy, with shared parts such as kit and laundry area.  Most of the facilities to be provided were dictated to the club by the Football Association.

k.   The indoor hall would be sunk into the ground by one storey.

l.   Computer generated views of the proposed building were shown to illustrate the contemporary design in stone and glass and its limited height.  The development would be sustainable and have low energy needs.


2.         Robert Thorne, THFC's advisor on historic buildings and conservation, gave a presentation, including:


a.   There were four main aspects to be considered to conservation issues: (i) the Grade II listed Myddelton House and ancillary buildings; (ii) the pleasure gardens that were largely the creation of E. A. Bowles; (iii) the historic field pattern and hedgerows; and (iv) the relationship between Myddelton House and Forty Hall. He wanted to confirm their importance and enhance them.

b.   There had been well-established sporting use on the site for some time, but that use had become gradually detrimental to the site as pavilions, car parks, tennis courts and hard standing had become eyesores and their removal would be an enhancement to Myddelton House.

c.   Many historic hedgerows had been removed and the historic field pattern had been lost.

d.   It  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.




NOTED the following questions and observations from Members of the Panel:


1.         In response to Councillor Fallart's query regarding public transport availability at this site, the Planning Transportation Officer confirmed that the site did not score well at all, most of the area having a PTAL score of zero.


2.         In response to Councillor Pearce's query about existing buildings, David Keirle confirmed that current buildings on the Whitewebbs sports and social club site, including car parks, would be removed, as would pavilions and tennis courts adjacent to Myddelton House.


3.         In response to Councillor Smith's question as to how long the scheme would take to deliver, it was advised that construction would take 18 to 21 months, with the overall scheme taking around two years as the pitches would need a number of growing seasons.


4.            Councillor Buckland queried the difference in the land covered by this proposal to that in the previous application and was advised that the previous plans did not take in Whitewebbs sports ground.  In response to further queries about fencing surrounding the whole site, David Keirle confirmed that a fence was desired for security reasons, but they wished to use an open fence that the hedge would grow around.


5.         In response to Councillor Hasan's queries regarding ground water levels, it was advised that there was sports use of the majority of the site adjacent to Myddelton House and the pitches were irrigated on a regular basis.  Systems on site would ensure that most of the irrigation water was recycled.  They would also irrigate with water drawn from the aquifer and had been in consultation with Thames Water.  The constant year round temperature of that water would allow it to be used for cooling in summer and heating in winter. They would not be taking water away from surrounding woodland or gardens.


6.            Councillor Simon asked questions about replacement of the existing facilities provided by Whitewebbs sports club, policies surrounding ball stop fencing, and issues which had been raised during consideration of the previous application, namely the community engagement programme, transportation arrangements for academy pupils, and concerns about bats.  It was advised that the applicants had been working with existing sports teams at Whitewebbs sports club, that the bowling greens were disused, and the cricket team was to be accommodated elsewhere.  Ball stop fencing was primarily used for training, not matches, and would not be used on the northern pitches.  With regard to transport, the Green Travel Plan would be substantially the same as previously.  Community engagement would be as proposed previously.  Since the previous application, there had been detailed dialogue about bats with Natural England, who were satisfied with the proposals.


7.         In response to Councillor Prescott's query about re-orientation of the building, it was advised that this had resulted from the change to the entrance.  Now the access would be from the north, for functional reasons the building was moved 180 degrees so the first team area remained the most private part of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.




An open session followed including the following comments and questions from local residents and other interested parties:




1.            Community Outreach


a.   A number of residents raised concerns about the community engagement proposals, including querying the figure of a million children taking part in Enfield. 


b.   An attendee reported that all football clubs offered outreach programmes, but often schools had no wish to take them up, or found them ineffective.


c.   Kathryn Robinson of THFC confirmed that numbers of children to be involved had been calculated from the number of children that could be seen by a single coach in a single hour multiplied up, and that the figure would include repeat business.  It would also depend on how the Council wished to build the partnership.  The programmes helped to increase educational attainment and to divert youngsters from crime and antisocial behaviour.  Staff were CRB checked and held first aid qualifications. Football was used as a magnet to draw in young people and to deliver other aims and objectives.  The programmes had been evaluated and proven to work and had support in this borough.


2.         Land Issues


a.   Residents raised concern about the area involved, as the original application had covered 23.4 hectares, and the area had now increased to 27.2 hectares, that percentages quoted of land used for previous sporting use and for agriculture did not reconcile, and what current land use was of the area proposed for the training centre.


b.   Peter Dixon advised that the field where the academy building was to be located was agricultural land.  He confirmed that some of the land was Council-owned, but there was no public access.  THFC did not require the 7 acres of the westernmost field and this was excluded from the application but bound into the ecological management of the site as a whole.


3.         Green Belt Issues


a.   Attendees, particularly representatives of the Enfield Society, were of the opinion that this proposal would be inappropriate development in the Green Belt, against the Government's Planning Policy Guidance (PPG2).  The buildings were not essential to facilitate outdoor sport as they incorporated office space, a dining room, a press room and such like, and were therefore inappropriate.


b.   Peter Dixon replied that inappropriate development was allowable in the Green Belt in very special circumstances, and that for a number of Premiership football clubs' training centres the Secretary of State had agreed that very special circumstances did exist.


4.         Need for Facility


a.   A number of residents expressed dissatisfaction with the reasons given by THFC to support their need for this development.  THFC was a commercial organisation and this was a commercial exercise, which local residents had little sympathy with and questioned why it should be allowed in that area.  An attendee pointed out that E. A. Bowles had wanted local people to use the land for football and cricket.  A local youngster contrasted the cost of the scheme with the amount spent on a single top class football player, and expressed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.




NOTED the closing statement of the Head of Development Control, including:


1.         He thanked members of the public and other interested parties, the Panel, and the applicants for their attendance and contribution to the meeting.


2.            Attendees were encouraged to complete the meeting evaluation forms provided, to monitor the effectiveness of Planning Panels.


3.         Notes taken at this meeting would be appended to the Planning Officers’ report, to be considered by the Planning Committee at their meeting on Monday 12 November (7.30 pm, Enfield Civic Centre).


4.         The main issues that the Planning Committee would need to consider were summarised in the hierarchy of material considerations as follows:

Fundamental Principles of Development


a.   The principle of whether development in this Green Belt location would be appropriate when weighed up against the very special circumstances put forward by THFC in their application.

b.   The impact of the development on the open character and appearance of the Green Belt and the surrounding area.

Local considerations


c.   The impact on the Conservation Area and historic buildings and whether the development would have appropriate regard to its surroundings.


d.   The traffic and highway safety impact of the proposals on the local road network.


e.   The impact of the proposals on the adjoining occupiers to the site.

Detailed Development Considerations


f.        Ecological impact.

g.      Building Design and Sustainability

h.      Layout and design of the buildings and development

i.        Lighting Impact

j.         Noise Impact

5.            Planning Officers would reflect views received for and against the application and interested parties were invited to write to the Planning Department with any outstanding questions and to express their views.