To receive a report from the Executive Director of Regeneration and Environment. (Key decision – reference number 4640)
Councillor Alan Sitkin (Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration and Business Development) introduced the report of the Executive Director of Regeneration and Environment (No.161) seeking approval for the adoption of the Enfield Town Framework Master Plan supplementary planning guidance.
1. That the Sub-Committee in discussion sought clarification on a number of issues and explanation from officers in going forward as reflected in the minutes below.
2. Officers outlined to Members the background to the development of the Enfield Town Framework Masterplan.
(a) Bringing forward planning guidance for Enfield Town was an established commitment that had been made through the adoption of the Council’s adopted local plan (Enfield Core Strategy), and formed part of a series of area-based planning documents that the Council had brought forward across the Borough.
(b) The Framework Masterplan was to be a Supplementary Planning Document with a key focus providing guidance to supplement existing local plan policies. It did not in itself establish new development plan policies or site allocations. It did provide evidence to support Enfield’s emerging New Local Plan.
(c) Following public consultation last summer, approximately 200 responses had been received and the key themes were highlighted in the document and included:
· New growth and development versus protecting historic market town character
· Addressing new development in the context of conservation and quality design
· Managing town centre intensification and diversification
· Tensions between town centre activity and established neighbourhoods and promoting new residential
· Loss of accessible surface car parking
· Concerns over sites which promote high density development
· Need for social infrastructure to be planned in to support any growth
· Balance between promoting new retail expansion when the existing retail offer is struggling
(d) The challenges being faced by Enfield Town and town centres generally, and the value of providing a planning framework to attract and guide new investment opportunities and provide a strategy for the way forward was a primary reason for adopting this SPD.
(e) The document had undergone detailed refinement and revisions. Minor amendments could be made by the Sub-Committee however any changes of a substantive nature would require further public consultation.
3. The Sub-Committee discussed the draft Framework document in detail and Members raised a number of issues including points for further consideration or amendment as summarised below:
(a) Members noted the vision and purpose of the Plan and acknowledged the challenges that would need to be faced going forward.
(b) The Planning Policy Context (section 2.2 of the document) was highlighted with regard to seeking growth whilst retaining its historic and green market town character. Section 3.5 in relation to Public Transport, Members emphasised the need to secure greater investment to improve links and greater connectivity.
(c) With regard to the vision and objectives it was noted that different challenges and conflicts would be faced. The changing nature of the retail economy was acknowledged.
(d) Clarification was sought on the proposed phasing of “now”, “soon” and “sometime” as set out in the document.
(e) The Sub-Committee praised the document as a whole and acknowledged the considerable work which had been undertaken over an extended period of time to reach this stage of the process.
(f) Robust consultation had been undertaken and officers had produced a complex document which reflected the feedback received from both Members and residents. The vision was embedded throughout the document. The growing need for change was recognised. Considerable effort had been made to retain the cultural and historical identity of Enfield Town.
(g) The document celebrated the history of Enfield Town and sought to encourage quality designed in new buildings to complement the historical buildings in existence. Regeneration was necessary and the need to encourage diversity, taking into account changes in retail and growth of an evening economy.
(h) That this was a high level document and as such individual company names should not be included. Developments going forward would be subject to detailed planning considerations and consultation.
(i) An amendment to the wording included within section 2.5 of the document in relation to leisure and specifically the library was requested.
(j) The need to generalise references to cycle lanes, pedestrian areas and car free zones. The context of cycling should be generalised, to capture the diversity of alternative modes of travel rather than refer to specific projects that may change over the life of the Masterplan.
(k) It was important for the Masterplan to make clear that the future of St. Anne’s School, was in the direct control of both the School together with the Secretary of State for Education. Approval would make its own determination with regard to any site move. Residents would have an opportunity to voice any opinions on proposals going forward when future planning applications were considered.
(l) An issue raised for future consideration was the provision of not only a diverse range of food provision but also consideration of the affordability of that provision and the need to encourage healthy eating options at an affordable price.
(m) Members expressed their appreciation to officers for the development of a well-needed document that would guide future planning and development in Enfield Town. The expectations of residents were noted.
(n) The Masterplan should provide a complete picture of Enfield Town and acknowledge the wide range of provision available across all areas.
(o) Members sought clarification on the impact of the London Plan and the role that this document would provide in the future.
(p) Minor typographical and grammar changes would be picked up throughout the document prior to final publication.
(q) As noted above, the document should provide general rather than specific references to alternative modes of transport. This would enable the document to remain more current in the light of any changes and developments coming forward in this area of provision.
(r) Section 2.2, Planning Policy Context, included reference to the tall buildings policy context. Members asked whether it was appropriate to include references to the London Plan and GLA guidelines.
(s) A number of specific points were raised for minor amendments in the Plan including sections relating to clarifying the position on “comparison” spend in section 2.3 of the Plan; the use of identifying specific company names; pedestrian areas and cycle routes; and transport and parking in general.
(t) Members requested that the photographs used be reviewed to ensure that they were appropriate.
(u) It was noted that the reference to tall buildings in the document related to the assessment of existing buildings in Enfield Town rather than any, proposed new tall buildings.
4. Peter George (Assistant Director Regeneration and Environment) responded to the discussion and issues raised by Members. This document would provide a policy reference point and control development in Enfield Town and would assist the Council in the context of the London Plan. Constant changes were taking place and the preparation of the document had taken two years. Whilst it was acknowledged that concerns were expressed when changes took place, some change was unavoidable and the Plan would assist in ensuring that any future change was achieved appropriately. It was important to highlight the Masterplan was to form a reference document to inform future planning applications and decision making.
5. Peter George expressed his thanks and appreciation to Neeru Kareer and the Planning Policy team for the considerable work which had been undertaken and the good progress that had been achieved.
6. Neeru Kareer, Planning Policy Officer, further responded to the specific issues raised by the Sub-Committee. It was important to balance the need for embracing change whilst retaining the important heritage character of Enfield Town. There was a need to attract new investment, respond to changing requirements and demographics and; provide flexibility as necessary. In response to issues raised, Members were advised of the proposed phasing as set out in the Plan.
7. It was agreed that identifying the names of individual companies should only be included when quoting a matter of fact, for example, in relation to any existing site considering future “opportunity” sites.
8. As requested, the wording in reference to the Library would be reviewed and clarification added on the planning processes relating to school sites. The reference to supporting alternative modes of movement would be generalised including reference to any cycling infrastructure investment. The text would be reviewed with regard to the range of food on offer, its affordability and health impact. It was also important to ensure that the document acknowledged the broad range of users of Enfield Town.
9. An explanation was provided on how such local plan documents would interact with the London Plan and the respective roles that they had in going forward.
10. In conclusion, Members agreed to the adoption of the document with the agreed minor amendments. Officers would circulate an amended version to the Sub-Committee prior to final publication.
Members also expressed their appreciation to Councillor Sitkin for acting as Chair of the Sub-Committee.
Alternative Options Considered: NOTED, the following alternative options which had been considered as set out in section 4 of the report:
· None as the obligation to bring forward a planning framework for Enfield Town was set out in the Council’s adopted Local Plan, Core Strategy Policy 1 and more specifically Core Policy 43 Enfield Town.
· Further, the absence of a document would leave a gap in the policy framework which would make it more difficult to co-ordinate regeneration efforts and restrain inappropriate development.
· Having a comprehensive Framework Masterplan for the town centre provided a basis for setting detailed area and site specific planning principles by which decisions on development could be guided. This was essential to support the Council’s regeneration programme, particularly in light of on-going as well as future investment opportunities.
DECISION: The Local Plan Cabinet Sub-Committee agreed to approve the adoption of the Enfield Town Framework Masterplan Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPD), subject to minor amendments as discussed and agreed by the Sub-Committee. The adopted SPD will supplement existing Local Plan policies.
Reason: As set out in the alternative options detailed above and in section 4 of the report.
(Key decision – reference number 4640)