Does Enfield’s controversial hyper-density development deliver enough affordable housing?

Last week Enfield Council gave the green light to a controversial hyper-density planning application at Colosseum Park that would include tower blocks of up to 29 storeys. 

There were multiple challenges made to the application, some of which we have previously reported on here.

One issue raised about the development was the low proportion of affordable flats that will be built.  Only 8% of the flats will be at affordable rent levels, falling well below Enfield’s borough wide target of 28%.  Enfield desperately needs more homes that are affordable to rent, so it was surprising that the application was approved.

We decided to look into this further, and to see how the proportion of affordable rent homes proposed compares with other major developments.

We began by reviewing 18 applications for major housing schemes across Enfield*. This analysis showed that the average proportion of affordable rental homes delivered across these schemes was almost three times higher than the level proposed for Colosseum Park.

Chart 1: How does Colosseum Park compare to other schemes in Enfield?

Next, we looked at 8 major schemes being delivered in similar locations outside of Enfield**.  The average level of affordable rent housing delivered by these schemes was 33%, around four times higher than the level proposed for Colosseum Park.

Chart 2: How does Colosseum Park compare to other schemes outside of Enfield?

Our analysis strongly suggests that the proportion of affordable rent housing proposed for Colosseum Park is unusually low. So why did councillors vote to approve a scheme that delivers such a low proportion of affordable rent homes?

We simply don’t know the answer to this question. Four of the councillors who voted to approve the scheme did not give their views during the 3-hour discussion. The chair (Cllr Boztas) approved the scheme, despite arguing that the committee rarely approves large scale schemes with less than 40% affordable housing.

The members who voted to grant the application were: Mahym Bedekova (Labour), Sinan Boztas (Labour), Elif Erbil (Labour), Susan Erbil (Labour) and Ahmet Hasan (Labour).

The scheme will now be referred to the Mayor of London, who can approve or reject the scheme – we can only hope that he will insist that the level of affordable rented housing is significantly increased. 

Methodology:

Approach to sample selection:

To be included in the analysis all schemes needed to deliver at least 50 homes and be accompanied by reports and information that enabled us to calculate the proportion of low cost affordable rental housing proposed.

The sample included regeneration and renewal schemes, with homes being built on public land as well as private developments. The schemes were at various stages – from application through to completion. 

We recognise the uniqueness of each site and each application, which is why we have focussed on identifying general trends across a range of schemes in our analysis. 

Social Rent, London Affordable Rent and London Living Rent were all included as low cost affordable rent options.   

*Schemes reviewed in Enfield:

Robin Hall, Bury Street West, Arnos Grove, 241 Green Street, Meridian P2, Alma Estate Regeneration, Ladderswood, New Avenue, Blackhorse Towers, 188-200 Bowes Road, Electric Quarter, Kingswood Nurseries, Chase Farm, Fore Street, Meridian P1, Trent Park, Capitol House

**Schemes reviewed outside Enfield:

Hale Village (Haringey), Fulton Quarter (Wembley Park), Pentavia Retail Park (Mill Hill), Queensland Road (Islington), Gasgoine Estate P2 (Barking & Dagenham), One Station Road/Recorder House (Barking & Dagenham), Cannon Road (Haringey), The Paragon (Ilford)

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