The Enfield Society

Current news

The copper beech tree that is lost Fruting bodies of the fungus

Loss of magnificent copper beech tree in Chase Green Gardens.

We are sorry to note that a large copper beech tree in Chase Green Gardens has been attacked by fungus which damaged its roots to such an extent that it was in danger of falling. Enfield Council’s arboricultural team investigated it and engaged a specialist external consultant who checked the roots and confirmed the diagnosis, concluding that there was no option other than removing the tree. This was scheduled to be done on Monday 25th September 2017. The consultant’s report can be downloaded from the Council’s web site.

The fungal infection by Meripilus giganteus (Giant Polypore) is very evident from the large patches of fruiting bodies that it has developed around the tree, as shown in the second picture here.

Drawing of secret listeners below German officers' lounge.

Helen Fry’s talk on the secret listeners of Trent Park: bugging the Nazis in WW2

Helen’s talk attracted a very large audience on the 27th June – so large that unfortunately we had to turn some people away as we reached our maximum capacity for the hall. Our apologies to all those who we were unable to admit.

You may however be interested to know that Helen will be giving a talk on a similar subject (‘The campaign for a national WW2 museum in Trent Park’) to the University of the Third Age at Bourne Methodist Church, N14 6RS Southgate on the 26th July starting at 2.30pm. There is no charge for attendance – non-members of U3A can attend up to 2 of the monthly U3A meetings free of charge before being required to join. Those interested in joining the U3A can find more information at:

You can also watch Helen speaking at the Save Trent Park Public Meeting on 10th March 2015 on YouTube at and on 20th June 2016 at

There is more information about the proposed museum at Trent Park at
Exhibition flyer, page 1
Exhibition flyer, page 2

Anniversary exhibition – 80 years of action

2016 marked the 80th anniversary of The Enfield Society, which was founded as The Enfield Preservation Society in 1936. The inaugural meeting took place at Oddfellows Hall, Old Park Avenue on 30 April 1936. In the intervening years, the Society has been involved in a wide variety of campaigns and other action, and developed the broad range of activities that we provide today.

To celebrate this important anniversary, the Society, in conjunction with the Council’s Museum Service, presented an exhibition entitled “The Enfield Society – 80 Years of Action ” in the Dugdale Centre, Enfield Town. We are fortunate that the Council generously offered us full use of the whole of the Museum gallery together with the assistance of Jan Metcalfe, Museum Officer. The exhibition ran until 29th January 2017.

Cutting the ribbon to open the exhibition

The Mayor cutting the ribbon to open the exhibition.
From left to right: Bob Fowler (leader of the exhibition working group), Chris Jephcott (President of The Enfield Society), Dave Cockle (Chair of The Enfield Society), Jan Metcalfe (Museum Officer, London Borough of Enfield), Cllr Bernadette Lappage (Mayor, London Borough of Enfield), Matthew Saunders (Vice-President of The Enfield Society)

Chairman and Mayor discussing the exhibition

Dave Cockle discussing the exhibition with the Mayor of Enfield.

The format of the exhibition was designed to tell the story of how TES came into being, tracing our major successes and achievements, explaining the work of the Society, highlighting some of the current issues we are concerned with and outlining what the future might hold. This was done through a series of display panels and cases showing related artefacts, photographs and archive materials. We regarded the event as an excellent opportunity to showcase and promote the work of the Society and its achievements over the eighty years of its existence. We hope this event will have stimulated interest in the Society; it attracted over 6000 visitors from all age groups and sections of the community.

Bob Fowler

Aerial view of fields on which building is proposed
Fairview’s aerial view of the site
Group protesting against Enfield Road development
Dave Cockle, Chairman of The Enfield Society, and Chris Jephcott, President, supporting the protest.
Group protesting against Enfield Road development
The protest was also supported by Glynis Vince, local councillor for Highlands Ward, and by Enfield Green Party, with Bill Linton holding their banner.

Proposed development on fields south of Enfield Road

Council to consider petition and debate Green Belt

Enfield RoadWatch presented its petition against the development at a full meeting of the Council at the Civic Centre on Wednesday 11th November at 7 pm. The public gallery was full and an overflow room had to be provided for the public in an adjacent room, showing the depth of concern about the proposals. The presentation of the petition was followed by an opposition-sponsored debate about the Green Belt. The Conservative opposition group spoke in favour of retaining the existing area of Green Belt; the Labour majority group said that they also wished to preserve the Green Belt, but that they were obliged to find space for more houses, and that brownfield sites would only allow for about a third of the number needed. There was disagreement about the predicted numbers for growth of population and the need for more school places in western Enfield. For more details, see

In our newsletter no. 179, Autumn 2010, we warned of An unholy threat to the Green Belt, saying:

“There is an important area of Green Belt between Enfield Road, Cotswold Way and Lowther Drive which restrains the urban spread of Enfield from the next settlement at Oakwood along this main East-West route. The land is owned by the London Diocesan Fund which recently circulated a letter stating ‘The Fund has entered into a joint promotional agreement with Fairview Enfield Ltd. whom we have selected to act on our behalf to take the interests of the Diocese forward and will seek to promote the land in the medium term as a credible option for the Borough in contributing towards satisfying future housing requirements’.

The Society has joined with Western Enfield Residents’ Association and others in making known our total opposition to this proposal. We recognise the essential work of the Fund and its financial needs but this does not give it the right to ride roughshod over the protection laid down for the Green Belt. Fortunately the official response from Enfield Council is that the development of this land for dwellings is not required as there is sufficient land within the Borough to accommodate the numbers of dwellings in the Core Strategy; and the Authority feels that residential expansion into this area of Green Belt is unjustified and will be strongly opposed. This is good news but probably is not the end of this threat.”

Our fears have been shown to be justified, as Fairview New Homes Ltd. have now distributed preliminary proposals for building a school and housing on that site. Their web site at, includes a copy of a leaflet that has been delivered to many houses in the area. A formal planning application has not yet been submitted, but there is an application for an Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Opinion for the erection of an 8 form entry secondary free school, with a 4 form entry sixth form college built to Education Funding Agency standards with additional theatre and sporting facilities together with a residential development of up to 300 dwellings. This may be seen on the Council’s planning applications web site. The list of ‘constraints’ is of interest, showing, among other things, that the site forms part of the buffer zone adjacent to the Boxer’s Lake and Lonsdale Drive Woods SINC [Site of importance for nature conservation].

Local residents opposed to the proposals have set up a website called Enfield Road Watch which gives further details and have created an online petition which you are invited to sign.

Protest meeting

About a hundred people met on the morning of 1st September 2015 in Cotswold Way to protest against the proposed encroachment on Enfield's Green Belt. The Enfield Society Chairman, Dave Cockle, and our President, Chris Jephcott, are seen in this photo standing behind the "Save our Field" banner.

A report on the meeting and further pictures have been published by the Enfield Independent newsletter on its web site.

Wren Academy

Wren Academy, a Church of England school in Finchley, has entered a partnership arrangement with Fairview to run the new school which it proposes building on the western half of the Green Belt fields. While it claims to accept pupils of all faiths or none, its policies are biased towards those who profess a specific religious belief, giving preference to applicants whose parents attend Church of England services at least twice per month. It would therefore not be equally open to all pupils in its catchment area.

Part of Enfield's Green Belt
Horses grazing on the Green Belt site south of Enfield Road

Housing development and the Green Belt

There have been several recent developments which threaten the integrity of the Green Belt around London. Many questions arise from the documents cited below, such as the following:

The Outer London Commission (OLC) was established by the Mayor of London to advise how Outer London can play its full part in the city’s economic success. They are currently reviewing the London Plan, and have produced three background papers:

  1. Options for Growth
  2. Relationship with the wider South East
  3. Barriers to Housing Delivery

Articles in Newsforum, the newsletter of the The London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies, issue 70, Summer 2015, include the following:

CPRE, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, have launched a campaign calling on the Government to turn rhetoric into action and protect the Green Belt, drawing on the result of an Ipsos MORI poll which shows that 64% of people (and 72% of respondents who live in the south of England) agree that the Green Belt should be protected, while just 17% disagree.

The London Green Belt Council publish a newsletter called Notes, and Notes includes links to several reports on green belt and brownfield sites issues, including those from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Green Belt, a Government "Brownfield consultation paper" and guidance on planning and the assessment of housing need, and a report on the operation of the National Planning Policy Framework from The House of Commons Select Committee which monitors the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Chase Farm clock tower

Proposals for the redevelopment of Chase Farm Hospital

The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust has submitted an outline planning application for the demolition of most of the jumble of buildings on the Chase Farm Hospital site and the construction of new hospital buildings, occupying a smaller area. The land freed would be used for a primary school and housing, which would help to pay for the redevelopment. Details are given on the Royal Free site, and the planning documents can be found by searching for application 14/04574/OUT on Enfield Council’s planning web pages. An illustrated summary is given on pages 31-42 of the papers of the Conservation Advisory Group’s meeting on 6th January, 2015.

The Council have also set up a special page entitled Chase Farm Hospital planning application, and a Planning Panel meeting was held on 7 January 2015 at Highlands School. The purpose of the meeting was not to determine the application but to provide an opportunity for interested parties to discuss the relevant planning issues associated with the proposal. A brief report will appear in our forthcoming newsletter, no.197, Spring 2015.

Although the Clock Tower Building is not listed nationally or locally, its importance as a heritage asset is recognised, and the planning documents include a heritage assessment which reviews the history of the building, with several photographs and maps. The scheme that the Trust is proposing includes the retention of the central block of the Clock Tower building, probably converting it into residential flats, as it can not conveniently be combined with the new modern hospital buildings.

Local listing of heritage assets

Enfield Council is about to embark on a review of its “local list” of heritage assets. The Enfield Society’s Heritage at Risk Group is compiling a list of suggested additions to be submitted to the Council. The list, which contains links to photographs, can be seen here.

English Heritage has championed a national campaign to promote the adoption of local heritage lists by local authorities. It has produced a 36-page guide which may be downloaded from its web site.

English Heritage has also issued draft guidance on planning and the historic environment, on which they invite comments by 5th September.

Cycle Enfield

Option 6a: one of the two being considered for Enfield Town
Option 6a: one of the two being considered for Enfield Town

Enfield Council has won a bid for up to £30 million from the Mayor of London’s “mini-Holland” fund to make Enfield and Edmonton town centres cycle-friendly and to provide several other new and improved cycle routes. They have set up a Cycle Enfield website to give details of the project and other activities to promote cycling in the borough. This includes a page giving links to the public consultations on five major road schemes.

Comments and concerns about the proposals are given on the Save our Enfield website. The ‘Save Our Enfield Campaign Group’ has produced a 24-page Guide to the Cycle Enfield Public Consultation on Enfield Town, assessing the two options currently being considered. Links to this, and other information, are on the Enfield Town Residents Association website. Views on the proposals for the A105 road from Palmers Green to Enfield Town have been expressed by the Palmers Green Community and by the Save our Green Lanes Campaign Group. The Enfield Cycling Campaign has produced a website generally in support of the proposals.

A public meeting to discuss the options for Enfield Town was held on 30th July 2014, hosted by Enfield Town Conservation Area Study Group (ETCASG) and funded by The Enfield Society, The speaker was Ben Hamilton-Baillie, Transport, Traffic and Urban Design Consultant, who was consultant on several street schemes, including Exhibition Road and Poynton town centre.

A report prepared by ETCASG is now available here. This is not a formal document of minutes, but it is a summary of the main points of Ben Hamilton-Baillie’s presentation and of some points that arose during the open question and answer session, with a summing up of what ETCASG feels is needed now. For more information contact the ETCASG Secretary:

Nature walks around the Forty Hall estate, on video

A heron among the vegetation
A heron waits for its lunch by the Forty Hall fishponds

Maria Tolly has produced three videos in which Jason Peters, accompanied by Mike Turner, visits various parts of the Forty Hall estate and talks about the trees, plants and other aspects of the natural environment to be found there. You can view these on YouTube at, and

A walk through Forty Hall park suitable for wheelchairs and buggies.

Maria Tolley has also produced two short videos, showing this walk. Giving access to beautiful countryside full of wildlife, this well maintained path goes from Forty Hall car park to The Rose and Crown on Clay Hill and is one and a half miles long. The videos may be seen on YouTube, at the links below.

For a print out of the map, email Maria Tolly on and she will send you a copy to print out. [Updated 2015-03-26]

Heritage in austerity

a talk given by Janet McQueen, Chairman of The Enfield Society, to Enfield Council's Heritage action conference, 16th July 2013. The Council's report of the conference, including points on which action is planned, is on the Council's web site at

Enfield Council invites comments on its draft Proposed submission development management document giving policies for assessing planning applications

Proposed submission development management document

The Development Management Document (DMD) provides detailed criteria and standard based policies for assessing planning applications. It is a borough wide document and will apply to all planning applications from home extensions to large scale applications for residential, commercial and mixed use development. Once adopted, it will be used alongside the London Plan and other Local Plan documents, including the adopted Core Strategy (2010), to inform new development in the borough. The document, and various supporting papers, may be downloaded from the Council’s web site at

The Proposed Submission DMD has been published for consultation from 10th July to 27th September 2013. This is the final consultation stage for the DMD before the Council submit the document, along with its supporting documents, for examination by an independent Planning Inspector appointed by the Government. The role of the Inspector is to assess whether the Plan has been prepared in accordance with the ‘duty to co-operate’ and legal and procedural requirements; and whether it is ‘sound’. A Guidance Note has been enclosed to help you comment on the DMD.

The Proposed Submission DMD and supporting documents can be viewed here and hard copies are available to view at the Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield (main reception) and in all libraries across the borough.

Can bugs eat the silt in the New River Loop and Forty Hall lake?

New River Loop, near Parsonage Gardens (1981)

Enfield Council propose to use a new technique to overcome the silting up of these water bodies. Neil Isaac, Assistant Director - Public Realm and Sustainability in the Environment Department of Enfield Council has released the followng statement from Graham Campbell, an engineer in his department.

We have come across a product used by fisheries called Siltex. This product is essentially a highly porous, fine powdered calcium carbonate (chalk) which ultimately decreases organic and oxidisable matter, therefore reducing silt levels. This is achieved by allowing micro-organisms to re-establish (increasing bio-diversity) and digest the organic matter which makes up the silt.

More details of the product including added benefits and what it is can be read at:

We propose that we apply this product to the section of the New River Loop (Silver Street to Crown & Horseshoes) and Forty Hall Lake. Both are approximately 1 acre, so in total we would require 2 tonnes of product. We have managed to get a price for the contractor to do both sites in one day at a rate of £500. With the price of the Siltex at £145 per tonne we can get this work done for £790. It is recommended to apply the product in the Spring and then re-apply in the autumn once the leaves have fallen, at 800kg an acre.

It may be prudent to give this a go now as it may well reduce the quantities of silt that will need to be removed from the watercourses, allowing for savings when these jobs are carried out. If you decide that this is worth carrying out then I will arrange to carry out a quick survey of the silt levels in the New River Loop prior to application to compare levels in August when we propose to de-silt. I think Forty Hall silt levels are already known.

As we don't fully know what the results will be on these sites I would not say that we do not need to carry out the de-silting works in the future but as a cost of under £1000 for both sites, if it results in reduced silt levels and savings upon removal then it would be advantageous. It may be an option worth exploring at other sites further down the line to control lower silt levels.

TES News Spring 2013
TES News no. 189, Spring 2013 gave details of the three existing registered greens in Enfield

Registration of town and village greens

Do you know of land in Enfield that should be registered as a town or village green?
If so, get in before the developers do.

The Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013, which received Royal Assent on 25 April, has made a number of significant changes to the law on registering new town and village greens under the Commons Act 2006.

From 25 April 2013 there is no right to apply for the registration of land in England as a town or village green where a "trigger event" has occurred in relation to the land. Trigger events include the publication of an application for planning permission or the identification of the land for potential development in local or neighbourhood plans.

Provided the right to apply has not been excluded (see above), anyone can apply under section 15(1) of the Commons Act 2006 to register land as a green if it has been used by local people for lawful sports and pastimes `as of right' (ie without pe rmission, force or secrecy) for at least 20 years.

For more details, see the DEFRA publication Town and village greens: how to register and the links provided in that document.

Last updated 2017-09-23 12:26 button.home.gif - 321 Bytes Go to The Enfield Society home page