Agenda and minutes

Former Cat Hill Campus Middlesex University Site., Planning Panel - Wednesday, 5th December, 2012 7.30 pm

Venue: Ashmole Academy, Cecil Road, Southgate, London N14 5RJ

Contact: Metin Halil Tel:0208 379 4091 E-mail: / Jane Creer Tel: 0208 379 4093 E-mail: 

No. Item


Opening pdf icon PDF 22 MB


1.   Councillor Simon as Chairman welcomed all attendees to the meeting and introduced the Panel Members, the applicant’s representatives and Council officers and advisors.


2.   The purpose of the meeting was to provide local residents and other interested parties the opportunity to ask questions about the application and for the applicants, officers and Panel Members to listen to all the comments.


3.   A decision on the application would be made by the full Planning Committee at a future date.


Officers' Summary of the Planning Issues




1.   Andy Higham, Planning Decisions Manager, gave a brief outline of the proposal and the planning issues, highlighting that this application sought to address the identified reasons for refusal of the previous planning application TP/11/0904. This was a fresh planning application, but regard would be had to the previous reasons for refusal.


2.   This Planning Panel meeting formed part of the consultation on the application, which would be presented to full Planning Committee at a future date to make the decision. The Planning Panel would hear views of interested parties and local residents.


3.   In the meantime, comments were welcomed by the Planning Department up to 14 December 2012 so that they could be taken into account and reported as part of the main assessment of the application.


Presentation by Applicant / Agent




1.   Simon Baxter, L&Q Project Manager, gave an introduction of the proposals:

?  L&Q had been building homes in London since 1963 for a range of household types.

?  Proposals had been considerably revised in response to feedback.

?  They had met and consulted with local people, politicians and the campaign group.

?  232 homes were proposed, the majority for private sale, but including 52 for shared ownership and 28 for rent.

?  There would be investment in the local economy, training and apprenticeships, and Section 106 contributions to education, highways and traffic management.


2.   Mike Derbyshire, the applicant’s Planning Consultant, advised that dialogue was ongoing, but the concentration was on the 7 reasons for previous refusal which were the areas of disagreement. Enfield Council and the GLA had found acceptable the principle of residential development, the loss of university use, the density of the scheme, the impact on local roads, and the number of parking spaces proposed.


3.   Andrew McCarthy, SLA Consultants, advisor on ecology addressed the ecological issues:

?  It had been clear that a fresh ecological survey would be needed. He met the Council’s Biodiversity Officer in Spring 2012 to scope the survey work, and survey protocols were agreed with Natural England.

?  There was also an update to the habitat survey in the current context with a site assessment by an expert entomologist in respect of the stag beetle and white-letter hairstreak butterfly in particular.

?  The bats and the great crested newts were the two European protected species about which concern was raised in the previous refusal. New guidance was also issued in early 2012. The bat work ran from April to August, covering the breeding season, and involved internal and external inspection of all buildings on site and a ground based and climbing inspections of trees and assessment of their potential to support bat roosts. 17 dawn and dusk survey sessions with up to six surveyors were carried out. Remote bat detectors were used to assess use of the western boundary as a commuting corridor for bats.

?  Amphibian surveys were also carried out in line with national best guidance with six visits made to the two ponds.

?  It should be borne in mind that this proposal would replace one built environment with another.

?  The revised scheme would give root protection area to Veteran Oak T48 as the road would stop short of this tree and nearby terraced houses were replaced by two semi-detached.


4.   With regard to highways issues, there had been no formal objection from the GLA or the Highways Authority in principle, recognising this had been a fully active campus. Contributions would normally be negotiated if the application was successful. This application had a reduced number of units and so had less impact on highways.


5.   Details of the drainage scheme were ongoing, but there was a move away from work previously proposed for the pond in the southwest corner. That pond and the surrounding area were proposed to be managed for ecology. It appeared the pond  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Questions by Panel Members


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


1.   Members asked about the following issues:

a.  Flooding had previously been raised as a concern: could assurance be given that changes to the scheme would not exacerbate the flood risk?

b.  It should be clarified that when applicants had referred to agreement by LB Enfield they meant officers and not councillors.

c.  Was there potential to substitute some of the 337 cycle parking spaces for  some extra car parking?

d.  Were the designs shown indicative or finalised?

e.  In the S106 contributions there was no mention of health facilities – would money be forthcoming, given the number of incoming residents?

f.  Would the development be adequate for emergency services, refuse collection and all utilities?

g  Had adjustments been made in response to public consultation?

h.  As the number of units had been reduced, was parking space reduced proportionately?

i.  Could assurance be given in respect of land contamination concerns?

j.  What mitigation would be put in place to deal with extra traffic?


2.   Responses were provided, including the following

a.  There had been an attenuation feature under the southern pond in the first scheme, but the different, sustainable approach in the current proposal would reduce the speed that water left the site by 90-95% and should have a positive impact on the area.

b.  The references to Enfield Council were in respect of the last refusal and therefore to the Council’s Planning Committee, and since the March meeting, all discussions had been with officers on technical issues.

c.  High levels of provision for cycles were a policy requirement in the Mayor’s London Plan, but the issue could be discussed further with officers. Maximum use of cycles was encouraged and there would also be improvements to the cycling network.

d.  The final designs were the subject of this application.

e.  S106 contributions would concentrate on education and highways. The health authority had asked for a contribution and discussions were ongoing. Planning officers also noted the issue and would be discussing with NHS officers and would address S106 contributions in their report to Committee.

f.  Adequacy of road widths and turning circles had been addressed.

g.  At public meetings there had been a desire not to have flat roof buildings, and so now all would have traditional pitched roofs. There had also been reduction of heights of apartment buildings by two storeys, a reduction in the number of units and more gaps between buildings.

h.  The car parking provision was still at the higher end of GLA requirements. The applicants considered this was the correct amount of parking.

i.  Soil surveys had been carried out with no unusual results arising. Ground conditions were consistent with the site’s use as a university campus. The site was not contaminated. All supporting documentation for the planning application would be published. There were no hidden reports.

j.  The impact of the development on traffic levels would be fairly minimal and there would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Questions by MPs / LGA Member / Ward Councillors


NOTED the following questions and observations from MPs, LGA Member and Ward Councillors:


1.   David Burrowes, MP for Enfield-Southgate, spoke on behalf of his constituents, having received a large number of representations in reference to this application.

?  This application had not overcome the previous reasons for refusal.

?  The plan for six four-storey blocks of flats and ten blocks of terraced housing was totally out of keeping with the surrounding area. In particular the dark textured brick and dark finishing was not appropriate.

?  The proposed development was too dense and would provide an intensive and overbearing development, highlighting the impact particularly of Block A, as well as the impact of Blocks B, C, D, E and F which had been stretched in length and terraced houses with dormers.

?  The impact of the dense accommodation will be severe particularly upon local education and medical services which would not be mitigated sufficiently by Section 106 Agreements.

?  The development would also impact in terms of transportation. There should be a fresh full transport assessment. Previous surveys were done at times when schools had not been open.

?  The impact on the local environment and ecology would be severe. The felling of the trees would be unnecessary and disproportionate and could not be mitigated by the replanting programme. Mature healthy ash trees T128 and T129 in particular should be kept.


2.   Rt Hon Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, spoke on behalf of her constituents, including:

?  The changes were not nearly adequate to address the concerns.

?  The character and high rise nature of the proposals meant there would still be ‘tower blocks’ in a low rise residential environment.

?  There would be pressure on infrastructure and a significant increase in traffic.

?  One parking space per dwelling would be insufficient, and there would be overspill parking onto surrounding roads.

?  Local GP surgeries and schools were already under pressure from the existing population.

?  She did not consider that biodiversity would be enhanced with so many trees to be felled.


3.   The statement of Councillor Michael Lavender (LB Enfield Cockfosters Ward), including:

?  He fully endorsed the MPs’ comments.

?  He would like further possibilities for the site to have been explored, particularly for educational purposes.

?  People moving into this area would have cars.

?  Contributions from the applicant must be used for local benefit.

?  Units should be set aside for a GP surgery, nursery etc to enable the site to function more effectively and prevent it becoming a ghetto.


4.   The statement of Joanne McCartney, GLA Member for Enfield & Haringey, including:

?  She was also representing Andrew Dismore, London Assembly Member for Barnet & Camden, who had also written in objection.

?  Concerns had still not been ameliorated.

?  Design amendments were merely cosmetic, though the pitched roofs were welcomed.

?  Concerns about educational and medical services, and about car parking and overspill, and flood risks.


5.   The statement of Councillor Paul McCannah (LB Enfield Cockfosters Ward), including:

?  As a local resident he suggested there would be a significant increase in traffic from this development,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Open Session - Questions and Views from the Floor


NOTED the following questions and observations from attendees:


1.   Dr Kim Coleman on behalf of the campaign group queried the description of the apartment blocks as 4-storey as they seemed in reality to be 5-storey.


In response, it was advised that the blocks would be four storeys with parking. The ground sloped considerably meaning there were changes in levels and the parking was partly in the ground and hidden.


2.   It was noted from the plans that some buildings on site would have photovoltaic panels. This should have been highlighted more clearly. Such panels were unsightly and of dubious efficiency.


      In response, it was advised that pv panels would contribute to the aim of reducing carbon emissions, and meet sustainable homes standards.


3.   The pitched roofs had large dormer windows, which would be out of keeping, and would not be permitted in existing homes in the area.


      In response, it was advised that the dormer windows were an integral part of the design of the new homes. Officers confirmed that front dormers would be generally resisted, but in a design approach could be more acceptable.


4.   The computer generated images of the buildings showed they would be unattractive.


5.   How could it be that apartment blocks had been reduced by two storeys, but there would only be 18 fewer dwellings in this scheme? The blocks were still tall buildings and the site was on a slope. Also, if this was a new application, the Planning Committee should not be prevented from refusing it on new grounds, including health facility provision and traffic.


      In response, it was advised that studies showed that Vernon Crescent and Mansfield Avenue residents would not be able to see the tops of the apartment blocks, and from Cat Hill and Chase Side there would be screening. The Chairman also confirmed that the Planning Committee would need to assess all perspectives and views from different angles. It was also advised that the buildings had been made slightly longer and proportions had changed slightly.


6.   To residents living lower down the slope, the buildings would be like tower blocks. It was also likely that the development would introduce around 1000 residents into the site and they would be trying to make use of already stretched amenities in the area.


7.   Once the units were occupied and the developers had left, there would be no-one to fix the problems that would arise.


      In response, officers advised that any impact of the development on public services would form part of the assessment. Points made at this meeting were noted and there would be further discussions in respect of the S106 agreement.


8.   The repercussions of allowing this development would be felt mainly in LB Barnet.


      The Chairman confirmed that Enfield Council as the appropriate planning authority would make the decision on this application as it was within the legal boundary of Enfield, but that Members would be equally concerned about the interests of residents of Barnet and Enfield.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Close of Meeting


NOTED the closing points, including:


1.   The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and contributing to the meeting.

2.   Notes taken at this meeting would be appended to the Planning Officers’ report to be considered by the Planning Committee when the application was presented for decision at a future meeting in the New Year.

3.   A full report would be prepared by Planning Officers for Planning Committee. This would form part of the agenda for the meeting and would be published on the Council’s website at least a week before the meeting.

4.   There was a deputation procedure whereby involved parties could request to address the Planning Committee meeting (details on the Council website or via the Planning Committee Secretary 020 8379 4093 / 4091 or and residents could also ask ward councillors to speak on their behalf.