The Planning Panel for the Southgate Office Village development took place at Highlands School on 23rd January. Approximately 200 members of the public attended. The applicant presented the proposed scheme and then questions were asked by the Panel Members (who are Members of Enfield’s Planning Committee), members of the public and the local ward councillors.
The scheme involves demolition of the existing three storey office buildings on Chase Road and their replacement by three residential buildings up to 17 storeys. The scheme will also include offices on the lower floors and a café.
The vast majority of questions and comments from the public expressed concern about the scale of the development and its impact on the area, including the adjacent Southgate Circus Conservation Area. The concerns expressed were very similar to the Society’s written objections to the scheme—while accepting the need for housing, the Society has four main concerns;
- The height of the building will dominate the Conservation Area and be visible across large areas of Enfield and Barnet because it will be built on a hill;
- The design of the building makes no recognition of the local area including the Grade II* Listed Southgate tube station designed by Charles Holden, it could be Stratford, Uxbridge or Croydon;
- There will be serious overshadowing of homes around the development, particularly those to the east of the main tower;
- Recent research raises concern about the environmental sustainability of high rise buildings, they are often unattractive to families and community life, create wind tunnels in the local area and are prone to overheating in summer and heat loss in winter as air temperatures decrease with height.
The Council will prepare notes summarising all the comments that were made and these will be presented to the Planning Committee together with written submissions when they consider the proposed scheme in March or April.