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
I feel for you, it all seems very tricky. You don't seem to know when the Ritz Parade consultation will begin, you don't know what the local community opinion is regarding through schools (3-18yr), you have no power over planning issues due to the London Plan and the national government make things worse. From what you say above you seem to have no influence over anything that happens in Bowes Ward. I'd suggest that you step down as councillor next May and let someone else have a go.
Laura, I just came back from chairing the Council's Sustainability scrutiny panel – have been inviting you for three years, you really should find the time! I have a lot more work to do tonight. So will keep this short.
Firstly, it is disrespectful to Bowes and Bounds to misuse our website for self-interested political sniping. Richard, you may wish to moderate here. My thread above was simply intended to empower friends to help make Bowes a better place. i don't think that Bowes and Bounds is intended for gratuitous nastiness. I doubt that most readers appreciate it.
Especially because it makes no sense.
Let's get back to the only thing that matters - our community's welfare. Friends, we need to get organised re: what you'd like to see in Ritz Parade. Have a think. We’re going to organise a mass meeting soon to build a consensus. Ritz Parade is one site where we think Bowes will get some of the social and other amenities that we need and deserve. Nothing has been written in stone there yet so it's not too late. Work with us as councillors and together we'll get something good.
PS. Haven't seen yet if anyone from Bowes and Bounds has responded to my comment about the new pocket park that we're creating on Tewkesbury... but let us know if you're interested in doing something there like the new community spaces that Achilleas, Yasemin and I have created at Tile Kiln Lane (and soon at Millicent Grove and on Russell Road)
This forum is enriched by robust debate. I would hope that discussions -on a public forum- between two people who have either sought or attained elected public office do not need to moderated by me.
However, If you will excuse the gender-specific language, our terms of service borrow a phrase from football parlance asking contributors to 'play the ball, not the man'. Moderation on this site is not generally concerned with the content of discussion but with the tone in which they are conducted ... I'm sure this playground is big enough so we can all "play nice" together.
Agree absolutely, Richard, thank you very much for stepping in and reminding everyone of what constitutes acceptable behaviour.
I didn't expect to be personally abused when I started the thread about Ritz Parade but assume that this will stop now after your kind intervention.
There are a lot of real questions that friends will want to look at - starting, if I may, with the JWs' "Kingdom Hall". In a "comprehensive" redevelopment of Ritz Parade, it gets moved. Otherwise, it doesn't. What do people think?
Thanks again, Richard.
This is just an idea and may not be technically possible. I know the planning inspectorate is looking at the planning department at the moment. Would it be possible for them to review the NHHT applications, either the ones already processed or the ones about to go to planning committee or better still all.
What would we ask them to do? To review the way NHHT are pushing ahead with their schemes and not taking into account what local people (residents, shops, councillors etc).
If they could ask NHHT to slow down until the AAP is ratified at least people would think that all the time they have spent working on the AAP (council officers and local community etc) had some relevance. The latest AAP document is very comprehensive and tells us a huge amount about the area, it's a great document and we all want it to be of value.
I don't know the technicalities of what the Inspectorate can and cannot do within the planning department but if they could for once side with local people rather than developers it would be pretty amazing.
Thank you for the question, Laura. Will try to clear things up.
1. Yes, the AAP is a good document. It was driven through the Southwest Enfield Partnership board, attended by about 25 local stakeholders (including myself and BHORA's Gillian and Caroline, who will have told you about proceedings as they evolved). Yes it is comprehensive.
2. Having said that, for accuracy's sake it's crucial to finally dispel any ongoing notion that the AAP is the only document with sufficient legal force to oppose developer excess. The reality is that it is only one planning document amongst several, indeed it is not even at the top of the hierarchy. There is, for instance, the Core Strategy of the Local Development Framework that the incoming Labour Administration adopted in 2010 shortly after taking over. Despite being a new councillor at the time, I have specific memories of the public consultation preceding that document's adoption, in part because of the work we did putting the adjective "balanced" into the Core Strategy to constrain future development along the North Circular. Our idea was to find a vocabulary that would give us some leverage in future negotiations with developers, inhibiting their ability to build housing alone, without any consideration for the kinds of ancillary amenities we need to create desirable holistic neighbourhoods. We believe that we will have some success with this move - even in the absence of a fully ratified AAP - if only because it has elicited Notting Hill's agreement to amenities being built at Ritz Parade (c.f the present thread). I also wonder if it helped to get them to budge on the total number of units planned in the area. Originally set at 2000 (for Southgate Green and Bowes combined), we were able to whittle it down to 1300, with buildings that are somewhat shorter than Notting Hill had the right to construct under the London Plan. I know that you agree with your Bowes Labour councillors that 1300 remains far far too many. But the point is that the AAP's final ratification is far from being the only planning document relevant to this process.
3. Lastly, two other misconceptions/inaccuracies that need to be dispelled.
a) Notting Hill always had the right to lodge their planning application whenever they wanted to. And the Council's Planning Department is obliged to respond within X time, or else it would be bypassed by the Planning Inspectorate - who is a lot more indulgent vis a vis Notting Hill than the Council has been!
b) The Planning Inspectorate is actually not "looking at the Planning Department at the moment". It's true that this would have happened had there been a continued slowdown in the speed with which the Council treats applications. But that is not the case, as you would have heard if you had come to my Sustainability scrutiny panel last night. I know that the Tory website hints that Planning is in special measures - but you really shouldn't be looking to the Tories for objective information about a Labour Administration!
Of course, we're always very objective when we talk about them.... hahahah
Anyway thanks for the civil discourse this time. In Richard's well-chosen words, it's much "nicer" for people to play the ball - focus on the issues - and not the (wo)man.
Information about the planning department was picked up at
Your source is communicating a slight but real inaccuracy. There is a difference between being in special measures and having that as a prospect if things worsen. Again and no joke, Laura, you are sincerely invited to start attending the Sustainability scrutiny panels I've been chairing for the past three years, if only because that is a good place to clarify items like that. Next one is on 3 Sept, please come!
I know very little about the local planning and development issues so am learning from the threads in this forum. One thing I have noticed - being a pedestrian and not a driver - it's difficult to get to Ritz parade.
Occasionally I walk along Bowes Road (the other day I did it right round to B&Q) but it's a grim walk. When I was new to the area, I even tried to walk to Arnos Park from Lascotts but totally missed the crossing and gave up. Ritz Parade feels disconnected from Bowes and Bounds to me, as it's over the other side of the North Circ.
I felt very sorry for Peter's Plumbing during the roadworks - his Facebook page was not happy - has his business survived?
And, now I've done some Googling, I had no idea Kingdom Hall used to be the Ritz cinema!
The Assembly Hall was indeed a Ritz Cinema, and shortly after after that usage ended it was used for a few years as a synagogue. The Assembly Hall was also part of the original widening plans for the road that fell through, so it was not initally bought by JW's with the idea they would be using it for such a long time, but at least it is well maintained.
Of course the powers that be want that part of Bowes Road earmarked totally for more 'homes' (which no self-respecting rabbit would consider as being remotely roomy) and all the business and buildings would be swept away, not a thought given to crowding or local amenities. I hope there will be a positive for this little section of NCR at least.
Mc Donalds have applied for a drive thru at 188 Bowes Rd, next to Ritz Parade. Should Mc Donalds get planning permission for a drive thru across the road from a primary school and next to a secondary school, especially with Enfields childhood obesity problems. http://www.enfieldindependent.co.uk/news/10120900.Report_reveals_En...
As we all know, the road is congested and polluted enough without encouraging people to drive along just to get burger and chips.
When I first saw this I could hardly believe what I was reading. A McDonalds drive-thru on that stretch of the North Circular near two local schools? This is desperate. But we can oppose it with vigour.