Agenda and draft minutes

Green Belt Forum - Wednesday, 15th January, 2020 7.30 pm

Venue: Room 2, Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield, EN1 3XA. View directions

Contact: Stacey Gilmour 020 8132 1383  Email: stacey.gilmour@enfield.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

483.

WELCOME AND APOLOGIES

Minutes:

Councillor Lemonides welcomed everyone to the meeting and introductions were made.

484.

MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING pdf icon PDF 130 KB

To agree the minutes of the last meeting held on 9th July 2019.

Minutes:

AGREED the minutes of the meeting held on the 9th July 2019.

485.

ENFORCEMENT IN THE GREEN BELT

a.    Update from Officers on policies and cases (5 minutes)

Minutes:

RECEIVED an update from Robert Oles, Pollution Control, Planning Enforcement & Appeals Manager.

 

NOTED:

 

i)             Figures were provided as follows regarding enforcement in the Green Belt:

·         39 investigations as a result of breaches

·         11 compliances after enforcement intervention

·         2 direct action approaches

·         5 planning applications through the Green Belt

·         9 key locations identified in the Green Belt where enforcement is still required.

ii)            The various breaches that had taken place included unauthorised extensions, changes of use and cutting down of trees.

iii)           In response to a question from a resident Rob advised that his team work closely with the Council’s Public Health team as well as the Environment Agency when dealing with pollution and misconnections.

iv)           Following comments from the audience the Chair advised that it was not appropriate for any individual planning enforcement cases to be discussed in a public forum.

v)            There is currently a second recruitment drive taking place within the Planning Enforcement Team, with short listing taking place next week.

 

The Chair thanked Robert for his informative update and advised residents to contact officers direct with any individual planning enforcement issues.

 

486.

WHITEWEBBS EXPRESSION OF INTEREST

a.    Update from Officers on Expression of Interest (5 minutes)

b.    Questions & Answers (20 minutes)

Minutes:

RECEIVED an update from Mark Bradbury, Director of Property & Economy.

 

NOTED:

 

i)             Enfield Council announced last year that it was looking to lease the 18-hole course and some of the surrounding woodland to a commercial partner to combat a fall in revenues. The marketing exercise to identify potential intertest in Whitewebbs had now commenced.

ii)            Previous proposals which had included a 125-year lease had been halted as it was recognised that this was not appropriate.

iii)           There were no proposals to sell off Whitewebbs and any lease would contain strict controls to enable the Council to ensure compliance with the conditions of the lease.

iv)           Whitewebbs Golf Course has been losing money for several years and usage has dropped by 20% in the last two years (this was not exclusive to Whitewebbs, it is the same nationwide). Golf course are expensive to run and with usage falling this is not sustainable, therefore a range of options are being considered that may or may not include golf.

v)            The Council would be seeking proposals that enhance and broaden access to Whitewebbs and promote greater biodiversity, as well as offering improved visitor facilities including refreshments and ongoing community engagement.

vi)           Clear criteria relating to the above had been set and enhanced to include that the highest bidder cannot succeed if it does not meet these set criteria.

vii)          Proposals would not be considered that included land fill, a loss of ancient woodland, housing or large commercial development.

viii)        It was acknowledged that some of the marketing literature and early communications had not helped with the concerns the public have. The marketing prospectus had now been updated accordingly.

ix)           18 expressions of interest had been received from experienced leisure and sports providers and trusts and education providers regarding the future management of Whitewebbs Park Golf Course. Detailed information on any of these proposals could not be discussed at this point of the process as the Council is bound by Legal and Procurement rules.

x)            Once all bids are in the Council will engage with public Stakeholder Groups (The Woodland Group had been added to this list and mark Bradbury encouraged other stakeholder groups to come forward)) to obtain their views and input. Local residents are also encouraged to share what they would like to see at Whitewebbs so that this can inform the decision-making process.

xi)           Once the preferred bidder has been announced a public drop-in event will be organised to make sure that all interested parties can comment before a final decision is made.

 

Following Mark Bradbury’s update the following comments and questions were raised:

 

Councillor Rawlings said that she was worried about the felling of trees as it is known that this already happens through the need to take enforcement action. It is also known that an organisation has taken over part of the Green Belt and they have not adhered to their original planning application. This is a worry going forward should the same organisation submit a bid for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 486.

487.

ENFIELD CHASE RESTORATION PROJECT - WOODLAND CREATION IN ENFIELD

a.    Update from Officers (5 minutes)

b.    Questions & Answers (20 minutes)

Minutes:

RECEIVED an update from Graham Campbell, Senior Engineer, Place Department on the Enfield Chase Restoration Project – Woodland Creation in Enfield.

 

NOTED:

 

i)             The overall vision was to create a long-term, multi-functional, publicly accessible, sustainable woodland within the rural area of Enfield in order to benefit the local community and improve the environment of Enfield.

ii)            A concept plan will be submitted as part of a Woodland Creation Design Plan by Enfield Council to the Forestry Commission. This is a process which ensures that the woodland is being designed appropriately and meets UK Standards.

iii)           Once this process is complete it is anticipated that the woodland will be delivered in phases over the coming years, with direct funding from the Forestry Commission and the Greater London Authority.

iv)           It was proposed that the project will initially start in the Salmons Brook Valley, however discussions are still ongoing with tenant farmers in this area.

v)            The woodland will be guided by a series of overarching design principles including:

·         Woodland will be composed of mixed native species, predominantly broadleaf with some woody shrub, conifers and riparian species where appropriate. A core of productive species will provide long-term sustainability.

·         Species mix and layout will aim to look and feel natural – for example, by avoiding grid planting and softening edges with mixed species.

·         The open character of the Salmons Brook valley will be retained by incorporating natural flood management features like ponds and wetlands and allocating some areas of natural regeneration.

·         The historic context of the area will be preserved and enhanced, with key views identified and protected.

·         Space for amenity features such as footpaths, glades and picnic areas will be incorporated.

·         Varying planting densities with lower concentrations of planting in the vicinity of footpaths, other amenity spaces and woodland edges.

vi)           Information was provided on the main features which would include up to 100 hectares of new woodland including planting and natural regeneration, planting design to consider ecology, local history, landscape, drainage and silviculture, improvement of up to 3km of existing footpath along the London Loop to enhance access for walking, running and cycle, features of interest within the design, including a degree of volunteer planting events.

 

Following Graham’s update, the following questions and comments were raised:

Q.  Will this proposed project all take place on Council owned land?

A. Yes, this is the plan.

 

Q.  What are the timescales for this project?

A.  Discussions have been ongoing for some time and we are currently moving through the process with the Forestry Commission. Once the Concept Plan has been approved and funding is in place work will start fairly quickly and it is envisaged that planting will commence next Winter.

 

Q.  Is this going to be new woodland and how extensive is this in terms of other areas in the borough?

A.  The plan that we are speaking about relates to the Salmons Brook Valley, notwithstanding this there will always be opportunities for creation of woodland areas in other parts of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 487.

488.

PLANNING POLICY AND THE GREEN BELT

a.    Update on the NPPF and London Plan Green Belt Policies (5 minutes)

b.    Update on Enfield’s Local Plan (5 minutes)

c.    Workshop on the character of Enfield’s Green Belt (40 minutes)

Minutes:

RECEIVED an update from Neeru Kareer, Head of Strategic Planning and Design on Green Belt Policies in the National Planning Policy Framework and draft new London Plan.

 

NOTED:

 

i)             Enfield Council is working together with consultants  AECOM and land Use Consultants (LUC) to build a comprehensive evidence base for the Borough’s new Local Plan. The aim of this session is to generate some discussion and thoughts on the function of the Borough’s Green Belt, how we use it, and how it can be improved.

ii)            Matt Parkhill and Josh Allen from LUC and Stephanie Brewer from AECOM introduced themselves and provided a brief session overview including the purpose of the planned workshop.

iii)           Further information was provided on the Green Belt Policy Context, Enfield Local Plan Context and Borough Context – Enfield’s Natural, Built and Historic Environment.

iv)           The evidence base being prepared includes an assessment of the borough’s future housing needs to determine how many new homes we need over the next 15 years, an assessment of flood risk and assessing future burial needs which will help write policy and inform our perspective.

v)            Further pieces of work will include a transport study, a townscape and landscape study, an assessment of retail needs and future of  town centres and an infrastructure delivery plan. This list is not exhaustive.

vi)           The key stages of the plan will be as follows: Consultation on draft plan 2020, submission to Planning Inspectorate 2021, examination and main modifications 2021, adoption 2022.

vii)          Residents were advised that the workshop isn’t focused on the Local Plan but is about hearing views and input from the audience on how they access, use and value the borough’s s Green Belt, and how and where things can be improved.  

viii)        The Green Belt in Enfield is full of amazing assets, nature conservation and heritage value.

ix)           The meeting then broke into the workshop session and the audience were asked to consider the following questions and feedback accordingly:

·         How do you access, use and value the Borough’s Green Belt?

·         What improvements can be made and how?

 

Following the workshop session which lasted approximately thirty minutes, the meeting reconvened. Neeru said the session had been most helpful and thanked the audience for their participation. All comments and suggestions had been noted and these would be written up by the Consultants and fed back via the minutes of this meeting.

 

The audience then made some further comments. These included:

 

·         It was felt that people would treasure the Green Belt if more information was made available locally and in schools. There should be more emphasis on the Green Belt especially in light of the Climate Emergency. It was recognised however that it was a tricky way forward as, although we need to encourage interest in the Green Belt, there needs to be a fine balance so as not to endanger and ruin wildlife.

·         There was major concern from residents regarding Green Belt land at Crews Hill which was now essentially an industrial  ...  view the full minutes text for item 488.

489.

DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS

To note that the dates of future meetings will be agreed at Annual Council on Wednesday 13 May 2020.

Minutes:

NOTED that the dates of future meetings will be agreed at Annual Council on Wednesday 13 May 2020.

 

Residents again requested quarterly meetings of this Forum as had previously been the case and which was also detailed in the Terms of Reference for the Green Belt Forum. It was agreed that this request would be considered when setting the Council Calendar for the forthcoming municipal year.

Action: Stacey Gilmour, Governance & Scrutiny Officer

 

 


 

Memo

 

Green Belt Forum

 

Purpose

 

Date/Time

Green Belt Enhancement Opportunities and Aspirations Workshop

 

15 January 2020

 

Notes

 

 

Green belt areas used/ visited/ valued

·         Families using parks

·         Mainly access parks rather than other green belt land

·         Forty Hall

·         Hilly Fields

·         Whitewebbs

·         Cycling, walking and horse-riding

·         Little parks people often didn’t know the names of but which were local to them

·         Small urban green spaces in east of borough

·         Mostly on weekends

·         Walking in following areas: Flash lane and path along river up to lake; Whitewebbs wood; Through Whitewebbs golf course and parallel path (access by Cafe); to Crews Hill (access through Hilly Fields and Strayfield Road); to Forty Hall, Middleton House and Capel Manor (access by Rose & Crown)

·         Access and use of the boroughs’ green belt mainly via parks, footpaths and other green spaces.

·         Trent country park, Lee Valley, Grovelands, Enfield playing fields, Forty Hall, Clay Hill – visit and use all these areas but only accessed by car.

·         Use linear B paths to go to work (east of King George’s reservoir going SàN)

·         Visit and walk in Forty Hall often.

·         Use of Forty Hall for dog walking and the farmers market there

·         Walks/circular paths at Grovelands Park, Southgate

·         Lots of walking at Trent Country Park – deserves a Green Flag status

·         Use these areas for walking (Grovelands Park Southgate, Boggy footpaths)

 

Management, maintenance, security

·         Maintenance of access, footpaths, bridleways

·         Need to ensure safe access / that people feel safe once in green spaces

·         Enforce No barbeque/fire policy

·         Park police

·         Trent Park - Maintenance, area SW of park must be kept as meadow

·         Enforcement of agricultural ties – Forty Hall farm/area by Elmtree Pet hotel

·         Improvements: access, better paths, parking, public transport, meadow as well as trees (Clay hill and Whitewebb lacking meadows due to lack of maintenance).

·         Create woodland between Whitewebbs lane and the M25 e.g. at Slowman’s Farm

·         Security – patrol lanes to prevent antisocial behaviour and drug taking. Prevent motor cycle riding.

·         Lack of security at Clay Hill

·         Crews Hill has turned into an unauthorised industrial site with inappropriate economic activity and lots of negative impacts on land, air quality, local residents; many uses now there are inappropriate to the GB and not what it is meant to be for; despite active enforcement, problems are worsening. Issues are expanding towards white webbs lane now – council has been unsuccessful to date in getting this under control – this needs a large-scale, holistic response from the council to get under control

Flooding

·         Hilly Fields Bridge flooded – drainage needs improving

·         Drainage issue (Ferny  ...  view the full minutes text for item 489.