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
The council's wish to see re-development of Ritz Parade was included in the NCAAP in 2011: "The long term economic vitality and sustainability of the commercial premises at Bowes Road parades on both sides of the A406 is a key consideration to ensure many of the everyday shopping needs of local residents in this neighbourhood are met. In the longer term there may be an opportunity to redevelop the Ritz Parade on the north side of the A406 to further strengthen this local centre." Whether that would make provision for the existing businesses is open to interpretation, however redevelopment usually results in a different expectation in terms of commercial rent on the part of the developer who has, after all, invested. In that document the location was identified as a potential site for 50-92 new homes. NHHT's plans were consulted at the time the North Circular scheme was proposed (I recall attending a roadshow at Trinity Church). If you watched their fancy 3-D fly through enough times as I did you would clearly have seen Ritz Parade identified as a substantial redevelopment, whereas at the time it wasn't apparent from the drawings they displayed which mainly focused on the sites set aside purely for housing. And while we're at it does anyone recall what was proposed for the junction of Green Lanes and the North Circular? They were proposing going large (McDonald's anyone?) with a substantial tower on the site of the current supermarket. A mixed use resi/retail/office development could be positive for that location, mind you.
Just a line in case anyone new to this thread that it is the intention of local councillors to discuss the future of the Ritz Parade (and the Ritz Parade consultation) at the Joint Bowes Ward and Southgate Green Ward Area Forum to be held at Bowes School on 3rd February 2016 (7.00pm for 7.15 pm start) CLICK HERE for event page