Government upholds Council’s decision to support delivery of new homes at time of housing crisis.Following months of delay to a much-needed new housing scheme, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), has decided not to call in a planning application to build new homes at Cockfosters Underground station car park. The Secretary of State at the DLUHC is now content that the decision on the application should be determined by Enfield Council, having previously been unnecessarily blocked by the government’s Transport Secretary.While the Council welcomes the decision, the long process and U-turn in arriving at this decision has meant the delivery of new homes, which are so desperately needed by the borough’s residents, has been further set back.In February 2022, the Council’s planning committee approved Transport for London’s (TfL) application to provide new homes that included 40 per cent affordable housing at discounted market rent levels. The application included 351 homes in four buildings of varying heights.However, Grant Shapps, then transport secretary intervened and blocked the proposal using a rare veto power available to him under the Greater London Authority Act 1999. This decision was largely based on his concerns about the loss of car parking spaces which would make way for the homes.
Enfield Council’s Leader, Cllr Nesil Caliskan, said: “We welcome the news that the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities has upheld the original decision made by local councillors in the best interests of local people – but regret that so much time has been wasted when more good-quality housing is desperately needed by so many of our residents.
“At a time when Enfield and London are suffering an acute housing crisis and new homes are urgently needed by local people, the scheme has been delayed because of an unnecessary and now rejected attempt to block a sound decision made by locally elected politicians, who understand the needs of their residents and the borough.
“Providing good-quality housing for the people of Enfield is an absolute priority for this Council. We will continue to work on behalf of residents to drive up standards and support and build new quality housing where appropriate.”
The Council understands that TfL will now undergo a Judicial Review period following the grant of planning permission.