New analysis shows that Enfield Council spends far more on Development Control than other London boroughs but delivers far less housing  

What is “Development Control”?

Development Control is “the process of determining planning applications submitted by individuals and commercial developers. It aims to ensure that development in the Borough is in accordance with the Local Plan and is carried out in the best interests of the general public and the area.”  [1]

To put it another way, Development Control (or Development Management) is the department within Enfield Council responsible for making sure new housing gets built and that it is the type of housing the borough needs e.g. affordable, sustainable, of decent quality, in the right place, the right size etc.

How much does Development Control cost Enfield?

Over the last 10-11 years, Enfield Council has spent more than £14 million on Development Control (after accounting for costs and income generated). [2]

How does this compare to other boroughs?

Enfield Council has spent far more on Development Control than neighbouring boroughs. For example, since 2010 Waltham Forest Council has spent £6.9 million on Development Control, which is less than half the amount spent by Enfield Council (£14.1 million).  [see Table 1]

Table 1: Spend on Development Control 2010-21

BoroughSpend £ million
Waltham Forest£6.9m
Source: Local authority revenue expenditure and financing – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Is Enfield’s high expenditure justified?

No. Enfield has spent far more than other boroughs on Development Control but has delivered far less.  

Since 2010, Enfield Council has delivered far fewer new homes than its neighbouring boroughs. [see Table 2] Furthermore, Enfield has a worse performance on the Government’s 2018-21 Housing Delivery Test, which measures the extent to which boroughs meet their housing targets. [3] 

Table 2: Number of new (additional) homes delivered 2010-21

BoroughAdditional homes built  
Waltham Forest8,192
Source: Local authority housing data and Housing Delivery Test: 2021 measurement – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/local-authority-housing-data / https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/housing-delivery-test-2021-measurement

To look at it another way; each additional home built in Enfield between 2010-21 has cost the equivalent of £2,241 in Development Control costs, which is far more than neighbouring boroughs.  [see Table 3]

Table 3: Development Control costs per additional home delivered 2010-21

BoroughDevelopment Control Costs Per Additional Home
Waltham Forest£842

Whichever way you look at it, Enfield Council has spent far more on Development Control than neighbouring boroughs but has delivered far less.  

What is Enfield Council doing about this?

Strangely, the Council’s response has been to spend even more on Development Control.

The Council has significantly increased the number of people working directly within its planning department and there has been a huge increase in the direct salary costs for employees working within Development Control.

In 2017-18 Enfield Council spent £1.1 million on employees working within Development Control but this had more than trebled to £3.5 million in 2020-21. [4] The employment costs in Enfield’s Development Control are now far higher than neighbouring boroughs, as is the overall expenditure. [5]

It is hard to see how such a large increase in employment costs is justified, especially as Enfield’s housing targets are significantly lower than Haringey’s and Barnet’s housing targets and slightly lower than Waltham Forest’s.  [6] Enfield now has the second highest expenditure on Development Control employees of all outer London boroughs – only Brent spends (slightly) more but has a housing target nearly twice that of Enfield’s. [7]

Is this massive increase in Development Control spend justified?

We don’t think so. Despite the higher spending, Enfield Council is still likely to deliver fewer homes than its neighbours and each new home built will still be costing more than it does in other boroughs.

Download full report and analysis here



  1. https://www.hastings.gov.uk/planning/advice/submitting/planning_dc_explained/
  2. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing
  3. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/housing-delivery-test-2021-measurement
  4. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing
  5. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing
  6. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing
  7. https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/planning/london-plan/new-london-plan/london-plan-2021
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