A Community Network for Bowes Park and Bounds Green
Went through all the different forum threads on this site tonight and the common theme is the exact same worry as the one troubling us day in day out as Bowes councillors: too much development in an already densely populated area.
Spiralling demographic growth in London, the UK and the world was always bound to have an effect locally - Enfield's population was 293k in the 2001 census, in the wake of this wrongheaded Government's housing benefits cap, we're now at 320k and rising! The new people are already here....
I'm always arguing that the burdens of this growth should be distributed more fairly. For instance, by leaving us alone in Bowes and Bounds and spreading things around, i.e. building more in affluent and sparsely occupied neighbourhoods like Hadley Wood. The developers don't listen to me however, and given the stupidly high level of densities accepted under the London Plan (managed out of Boris's City Hall), they don't have to. It's insane.
So all we can do here in Enfield is fight and negotiate - and keep fighting and keep negotiating - to try to limit developers' excesses. Sometimes we win. Originally, the Tories left us with plans for 2000 - 2000!! - new housing units in New Southgate and Bowes. We've whittled it down to 1300, which is still far too much but at least better than 2000. Sometimes we lose. The Bowes Labour councillors argued like mad dogs in front of the Planning Committee opposing the six story high blocks that Notting Hill is still going to build on the NCR - there is a thread written elsewhere on this site by a wannabe politico accusing us of "rolling over" in front of Notting Hill, which is an ignoble lie.The truth is that irrespective of the state of the North Circular Area Action Plan (another red herring that gets evoked quite dishonestly in some quarters), NHHT has the London Plan behind them. And don't they know it. I repeat - it's insane.
It remains that the distress that I read on this site about the consequences for school places, social amenities (like healthcare), traffic, smog, parking everything is totally justified. And the question becomes where we might make a difference. It would take too long to go into all the mitigation strategies that we are pursuing - to say there is a lack of joined up thinking is just plain false. But I think there is one beam of relative hope, somewhere that People Power might be able to make a difference. Namely Ritz Parade.
What gets lost in some of the commentary about the situation on the NCR is the way we inserted the term "balanced" into the Local Plan that our Labour Administration adopted shortly after taking over Enfield in 2010. This was useful because it has got Notting Hill to accept that they can't just build housing in our area (regardless of what Boris wants) but must also create space for the social and other amenities that we all want (and which are so cruelly lacking).
The site where they've agreed to locate these amenities are on what is currently known as Ritz Parade (you know, NW corner of Brownlow and the NCR). The plans for this site have not been finalised yet which gives the Bowes and Bounds community a chance to row back some of the effects of the terrible over-development taking place in front of our eyes. An example of the decisions that the community might take is school places. Enfield Council is re-doing Garfield to accommodate some of the new population but is there cause for a through school covering years 1-13 at Broomfield? You need to say what you think about this, also about what kind of commercial/retail premises might be desirable at Ritz Parade, etc. etc. This whole scenario is very rough for our people and we need to get back anything we can.
I'm not exactly sure re: the timing of the Ritz Parade consultation but please stay in touch with Achilleas, Yasemin and me at http://boweslabour.blogspot.co.uk/. Get involved. I'm hoping that on this one site Notting Hill will be particularly disposed to listen to the community. Touch wood. In any event, we will never ever stop fighting
Enfield Council have published an update on the proposals for the North Circular area. In a document attached the agenda for last night's area forum they have this to say about the McDonalds application:
The McDonalds application at 188 Bowes Road does not form part of any negotiations as part of the NCRAAP. This site was put up for sale and it is understood McDonalds have purchased it. They submitted an application for pre-application advice and were advised that an application for a drive thru would not be supported. The current application has now been submitted in any event and is due to be determined by 1st of August, where it will highly likely to be refused by officers.
There will be no need for it to go to planning committee, although an appeal can be submitted for it.
The report also carries latest update on the Notting Hill Housing developments.
Most people use the acronym NCAAP but I like the additional R used above.
If McDonalds own the land and they can't have a fast food venue should we assume that they will build flats on the site?
It's never responsible to assume anything, Laura, if only because that creates situations where assumptions start to get presented as if they were facts, and it's crucial not to mislead people.
Certainly this is a risk. One that we are aware of and analysing. There are, however, many other considerations that need to be worked on first. Not miss sight of the forest because you're looking at one tree (speaking of which, we need more trees on the NCR!!)
The big picture, as the name of this thread indicates, is what exactly we want to get on the Ritz Parade. Also, what we can hope to get, which isn't the same thing. Yes, I like Co-op grocery stores too Laura but that's just two people talking, which doesn't constitute a consultation.
So Bowes and Bounds friends, what is the number one amenity that the area is missing? Obviously we agree it's not a McDonalds drivein - but above and beyond saying what shouldn't be on the site, we need to agree what it should be before we can even start to try and make that a reality.
Bowes Labour councillors have already had real success bringing inwards investment elsewhere to Enfield (the British Gas >£10mio retrofitting deal, inc. hiring/training local residents in tomorrow's environmental professions). We'd be even more passionate about making this kind of breakthrough for our local neighbourhood, obviously our prime focus. Of course, just because we'd want certain organisations to move onto the Ritz Parade does not mean that they will.
But we'll sure be pulling out all the stops to try and make it happen. The first step is to have a steer re: where to focus our efforts. Hence this consultation.
Cllr Sitkin is in the uncomfortable position of trying to dissuade his fellow councillors from (apparently) being obliged to do the Conservatives' dirty work for them (New Labour of course dodged the chance to ease the housing crisis). And not only that, most of NHHT's revivalist East German housing units - and the eagerly anticipated McDonald's drive thru - will be climbing skywards in Southgate Green ward where as usual its elected representatives have been their quiescent selves. So Alan knows all about the rock and the hard place....
I'm not clear why the North Circular Area Action Plan is suddenly a red herring. It has always smelt pretty fishy but I agree that it's the London Plan that both NHHT and the regime in the Civic Centre always fall back on, the big stick which can't be evaded. What with that and the record of the LBE Planning Committee, the prospects for sympathetic regeneration in our area are bleak.
Roger my friend! True to form. Not sure I grasp all of your references (although the East German counter-example is a good one) but still, I like your style.
Listen, the London Plan's hierarchical superiority to whatever we do in Enfield drives me absolutely nuts. It's totally anti-democratic, since at the local level you have communities and councillors who can try to influence the planning regime while at GLA level who knows who is in control. Man I'd love for us to have the final word in local decisions but it's just not true. One of the most disappointing things I discovered since getting elected.
It's also a state of affairs that makes the whole "localism" agenda seem like an Orwellian misuse of language. Pickles says that he wants to create structures allowing local communities to determine our future but then they bung all-powerful planning inspectorates above our heads, making it easy for developers to appeal our decisions and costly for us to lose such cases.
The other contradiction with localism is the whole growth agenda. You got communities like our own that are already totally over crowded and not looking for any more growth. You got the National Government looking to overcome "obstacles to growth". We are just standing in their way!
Communities and councillors working together will continue to stand in their way and get whatever victories we can. But there is no use perpetuating myths and untruths. Localism? As if....
Is there not already a Drive thru Macdonald's on the Friern Bridge Retail site? Just around the corner from this proposed development.
Indeed, yet another good reason to oppose this application!
Have just done so!
Hi, we three Bowes Labour councillors just got back from a morning doorknocking upper Warwick Rd. because we want to be systematic in canvassing friends' opinions about the many things happening locally: new traffic options for Warwick (finally blueprinted by officers, for consultation soon); McDonalds; and more widely, Ritz Parade.
We also wanted to get people focused on what they really really want. A Council traffic options letter will be going out soon in the runup to a mass public meeting we're calling for early September. For efficiency's sake, it's important that people be prepared and precise.
Having said that, there was a minor spanner in the works this morning.Whereas most people we know (ie on Bowes and Bounds) have been negative about the McDonalds application, doing door to door we found a not insignificant number of residents who either had no reaction to McDonalds or else who - wait for it - actively welcome a new drive in on Ritz Parade.
We believe this is still the minority opinion, especially among certain sections of the community (starting with parents with small children, who are the most opposed). But it would be dishonest to pretend that opinions are unanimous. And what's the point of not telling things as they really are?
Personally, I think the balance of the argument remains very much against McDos (children's health, traffic on NCR, litter, etc.). But what today's mixed opinion brought home to me is that it's not enough to say what we don't want in Ritz Parade - we must be more proactive and say what we do want.
Hence the September meeting. Covering both Warwick Road traffic and Ritz Parade. Please get your thinking caps on already. We'll be leafleting the local area but also announcing the date here, on http://boweslabour.blogspot.co.uk/, etc. Please stay in touch
I would love a Co-operative supermarket.
I think I agree!