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
"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