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Comment - Local Stuff

Cat Hill Campaign by David Flint

As you may know the Council has given planning permission for a development of 232 flats and houses on the old Middlesex Uni. site near Cat Hill roundabout. Permission was given only after changes to the scheme to address aesthetic, environmental and other issues.

Like most housing schemes this scheme will increase the number of children in the area thus requiring a new school or, more likely, the expansion of an existing one. That's inconvenient for the local school and a cost to local residents (though the new residents will add to Enfield's Council Tax receipts of course). Residents will also need medical services which are in short supply - and will become shorter when Chase Farm loses some of its current functions.

There are also some specific objections to this scheme. Local campaigner and Barnet Green Party member Ollie Natelson writes:

"The site is ancient Wood-pasture and has the same "protection" as Ancient Woodland. The trees include some really old Oaks, also Hornbeam, Elm, Ash, Sycamore, Hazel, Elder, Cherry, Rowan and Apple. Some of the Oaks are "Veteran trees" having a diameter of over one metre at breast height.

"Its protected wildlife includes Great Crested Newts - breeding in a small pond to the southwest. There are also seven species of bat that feed on insects associated with the trees. The woodland is used by bats and also newts for foraging and sheltering.

"The developer wants to fell about one-third of all trees including some veteran Oaks and to build a rather densely-crowded estate including some tower blocks [of up to five storeys].

"Construction is likely to increase surface runoff water from rain and increase the frequency of existing flooding of land.

Traffic congestion, already heavy in local main roads, will clearly increase and the shortage of car-parking facilities proposed will lead to car parking in overcrowded local streets.

"The land is, in places, contaminated with heavy metals, the water supply is contaminated with oily substances that have been linked to birth deformities in babies. Contractors have been told not to touch the soil. So what kind of estate will this be to poison its inhabitants?"

This development is smaller than that along the North Circular Road but local opposition is no less vociferous. These schemes, and this opposition, will continue for as long as the population increases and London draws in more people. We need new, Green, policies to avoid this.

First published in the EGP members newsletter, May 2013

Published and promoted by Bill Linton for Enfield Green Party, both at 39A Fox Lane, London N13 4AJ