Holly Mitchell, planning consultant, led the presentation and set out the proposals as follows:
1. The site was on the edge of Southgate centre and had excellent transport links and was close to shops. Housing development should be maximised on brownfield sites. There was a large demand for housing and supply was not keeping up. Enfield had not kept pace with its housing delivery target of 1246 homes per year – its current provision was 530 homes per year so this needed to double. In particular there was a huge need for affordable housing.
2. It was acknowledged there was mixed public opinion about the proposal, and concern about the height. There was also acknowledged support from the communities who would welcome affordable housing provision.
3. The application was supported by a full suite of technical documents. These showed there were no overly negative impacts.
4. The site currently had planning approval for 82 residential homes and associated parking via conversion of the existing office village. This accommodation would not be the best quality and therefore this new scheme was explored to develop the site. It was a town centre site, close to retail property and spreading rapidly to residential. This scheme would retain mixed use, with commercial at the ground floor and residential above. It would be well connected and there would be improved permeability between the roads. The massing would be to the south of the site, and to the north it would step down.
5. In respect of the design, it was noted that Southgate had some remarkable architecture, including the Underground station. Use of materials in a contemporary way had been explored, and the stepping down of the buildings, and the colours.
6. A scheme was proposed in May 2019 to provide 200 homes and associated commercial space. Feedback was then received from Enfield Council and the public and developed for further resubmission in September 2019, with an increased quantum of affordable housing (now 35%) and reduced commercial space.
7. An objection was made from Historic England in respect of the impact of the tallest building from Grovelands Park, so the proposed height was reduced by 4m, and Historic England removed their objection at that point.
8. There had also been a reduction in the basement plan, and the amount of parking. In respect of the ground floor, the operators were keen for more flexible work space to make it a vibrant destination for people to work locally. With regard to the residential accommodation, there had been a rigorous design process including the Greater London Authority (GLA). The accommodation would be high quality and most dwellings would be dual aspect, in line with the London Plan.
9. Computer generated images were shown in illustration, including the view from the station, and of the new public connection between the two roads.
10. It was noted there were two levels of planning across London and that this application would be submitted to Enfield Council as the local planning authority and then to the GLA who had given strategic planning advice and supported the principle. Any harm would be less than substantial and would be outweighed by the benefits. The Police, Fire Brigade, Traffic and Transportation Department, and Transport for London had no objections. The Enfield independent design panel supported the quantum of development proposed. The public benefits would include the delivery of 67 new affordable homes, 149 new homes, office space to support the town, and a new pedestrian route and access across to the Marks and Spencer store. The scheme would also deliver a contribution of £820k for schools, GP surgery provision, etc. There would also be new jobs in construction.
11. The envisaged timeline was for determination by Planning Committee in late February / early March, then back to the GLA as it was a large scale application. If consent was granted, it was hoped to start work in the summer of 2020, with construction complete 2 years after that.
12. In conclusion, London has a housing crisis and this proposal would provide a number of new homes and affordable homes; and a new business centre and jobs. It was supported by the strategic planning authority. Additionally, there would be a contribution for local facilities in the community.