Agenda item

Housing Needs - Capacity and Design of Buildings

To receive a presentation for discussion on housing needs and the design of buildings. 


The forum received a presentation from Christine White (Heritage and Urban Design Manager) on housing needs: capacity and design of buildings. 


1.            Presentation


Christine White highlighted the following from her presentation: 


·         Over the next 10-15 years Enfield’s population was due to rise by 50,000 creating a total of 170,000 households.


·         Currently we are only delivering 77% of the houses that the London Plan requires.  There is a need to close this gap and to create approximately 20,000 new homes over the next ten years. 


·         In developing new areas of housing, Enfield would need to consider quantum, location, options of density and different typologies.


·         Enfield would have to evolve and retrofit suburban places, increase density introduce new typologies, create additional uses, provide connections to public transport and enhance the landscape. 


·         The Council would be taking a design led approach to balancing growth against the local character and heritage of the borough. 


·         A characterisation study, undertaken in 2011, had identified most of the housing in the borough as of suburban or quasi suburban typology.  Although this varied.  There was some high density housing in the East, as well as numbers of Victorian terraces, larger scale developments, older lower density suburban housing and flats around metroland centres. 


·         The GLA had recently produced London Plan Module D:  Good Quality Housing for all Londoners.  This guidance contained lots of examples of good practice and can be found on the London.Gov.UK website.  It referenced 7 different housing design typologies.   


·         Residential conversions and extensions which could increase housing provision through the sub-division of existing housing and building new units on existing sites.  Larger properties and larger commercial buildings could also be converted into flats. 


·         There were opportunities to build more single houses on infill sites and on underused back land.  Typical density 150-200 hrph.


·         A cluster of houses was a small selection of housing built in one block, optimising site capacity.  Typical density 100-200 hrph


·         A terrace was a row of individual houses with private gardens or courtyards suitable for family housing.  Typical density 200-250 hrph.


·         Linear blocks had a higher density than terraces 400-600 hrph, often with maisonettes on the ground floor as well as above. 


·         The villa block had a central core with efficient circulation with three to five dwellings per floor and an indicative density of 400-600 hrph.


·         Tower blocks, which are defined as buildings with ten or more stories, could have indicative densities of more than 1000 hrph. With a central core, efficient circulation and 4-5 dwellings per floor. 


·         Tower blocks take up less land and provide more housing.  Suburban housing takes up the most land and provides the least housing. 


·         It was important to take account of policy constraints on land use including conservation areas, green belt and strategic industrial land. 


·         Enfield would need to allow the building of a mixture of all the different building typologies to meet housing need.  This will inevitably change the character of the borough. 


2.            Questions/Comments


2.1         Concern that any new properties would be taken by people coming into the borough, rather than those that currently live here, which could increase the population even more. 


2.2         Clarification was sort on how housing needs were being assessed and whether the figures had taken account of the decrease in the numbers of young people coming as a result of Brexit. 


2.3         It was going to be a challenge to find the space needed for the extra houses in Enfield.  Tower blocks used the land available most efficiently.  Enfield will not be able to meet the need through low density housing alone.  There were fears that the changes would dramatically change the character of the borough. 


2.4         The Government’s new planning legislation would have an impact, but it is not yet clear how this will affect the Local Plan. 


2.5         The suggestion was made that the Council should fight against these housing targets and suggest that housing was provided instead by building new satellite towns outside London. 


2.6         Concern was expressed about how the conservation areas would be protected and how the need for more 3-4 bedroom family homes would be accommodated.  Tower blocks would not provide suitable housing for families. 


2.7         The suggestion was made that the Council should refuse to accept the Mayor of London’s housing targets. 


2.8         Concern that it was taking too long to produce and agree the new local plan and that too much development in Enfield was being led by speculative developers, rather than planned by the Council.  It was essential that Enfield specify which typologies it wanted where. 


2.9         The Local Plan had by law to be in conformity with the Mayor of London’s plan.  The Council had made representations and was now waiting final publication. The Government’s new planning white paper had caused a pause and thrown things up in the air. 


2.10      Anyone with concerns about the Government’s planning reforms was urged to feed their views into the public consultation. 


The Chair thanked Christine White for her presentation and apologised that the forum had not been able to spend as much time as she would have liked on this issue.  She hoped that the forum could come back and discuss it in more detail, later in the year.  Officers would take on board the desire of all members to preserve the heritage and character of the borough. 

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