Petition details

Better homes for Enfield

We the undersigned petition the Council to enact an Article 4 Directive to remove permitted development rights for office to residential conversions across the borough.

Please sign our petition to stop “human warehouses” being developed in Enfield.

We are a group of Enfield residents who are concerned about the large quantity of poor quality homes being developed in our borough under a planning loophole (called permitted development rights). This impacts all of us, please read why.

The problems with the loophole are that:
• Property developers can change offices into residential units without any planning permission.
• Property developers can create very cramped and overcrowded homes that are significantly smaller than the minimum usually allowed.
• Enfield is losing a lot of money as property developers can avoid paying their share of infrastructure contributions.
• Enfield is losing affordable homes as property developers can avoided contributions towards affordable homes in the borough.
• Neither Enfield Council nor residents have any control over these office conversions.
• Enfield residents are picking up the costs for this!

We have discovered residential units that are very small, overcrowded, have no outdoor space and do not meet basic environmental standards. Some studio flats are as small as a car parking space (9 square metres) and many are the size of a budget hotel room.
Some flats are being created with no external windows. There has been a lot of coverage in the press calling these developments the “slums of the future” and “human warehouses”. Major housing charities (e.g. Shelter and Crisis) are against permitted development rights.

This affects everyone in Enfield, not just those living in or near these developments, as property developers are able to avoid paying their share of infrastructure contributions. Based on the information provided to us from the council, we estimate that the council has lost at least £1.2 million pounds over the last few years. These are funds that are desperately needed for our borough and if developers don’t pay them then Enfield’s residents will need to make up the short fall.

Furthermore, developers avoid contributing towards affordable homes in the borough. We estimate that Enfield has lost around 200 affordable homes as a result of the loopholes these permitted development rights have created.

There is a solution. If the council put an Article 4 Directive in place, it would close the loophole and force property developers go through normal planning processes (instead of bypassing them). That means that residential units would need to be of a decent size, have proper windows and meet environmental standards. Furthermore, property developers would need to pay their fair share. An Article 4 Directive does not stop homes from being built, it simply makes sure that they are of a decent quality.

Nearly all the councils in London have put an Article 4 Directive in place EXCEPT ENFIELD!

Please sign our petition and follow us on Twitter BetterHomesEnfield @BetterEnfield

This Petition ran from 21/07/2019 to 25/09/2019 and has now finished.

177 people signed this Petition.