Plans to build houses on the car park next to Cockfosters station at the end of the Piccadilly line have been approved by Enfield Council after the plans were modified to retain some of the car parking space. The previous scheme, a joint venture between Grainger and TfL, had seen the entire car park built upon to provide homes for rent, but there was strong local opposition to removing the car parking spaces and the size of the buildings.
The revised scheme retains 35 of the 336 parking spaces. That’s in addition to the previous agreement to retain the existing 12 parking spaces for accessibility users – so the approved plans will see 47 parking spaces in total. They also added a dedicated drop-off point made up of seven short-stay parking spaces.
The housing development will comprise 351 flats for rent — none for sale — in four towers ranging between 5 and 14 storeys high. The development will reserve 132 flats for affordable rent of which 81 will be offered at 61% below market rents for the area, 41 flats offered at London living rent rates and 10 at London affordable rent rates.
Tenants will also be offered 3-year tenancies, unless the tenant wants a shorter term.
The new homes will be delivered across four buildings and will be a mixture of one, two and three-bedroom properties, and the development has been designed by Hawkins\Brown, Mae Architects and JCLA Landscape Architects.
Although there were concerns that the towers were too tall for the area and would affect views from local parks, the development won points for the quality of the materials to be used, and because it would replace a small area of inaccessible open space with a much larger area of shared amenity space. That the development is sitting next to two old and very large office blocks was also a factor, as it’s harder to argue that the new towers were out of scale for the area when sitting next to the existing office blocks.
The most contentious aspect of the development was the loss of the car park, which raised a lot of complaints, but the council accepted that the merits of the case had been assessed and that the benefits in reduced air pollution and road noise were beneficial for the area. They also analysed the addresses of the objectors to the loss of the car park and found that a substantial portion lived in areas with existing alternative public transport options.
The officer’s report concluded that “the loss of the existing car park is considered acceptable in this instance”.
A corner of one of the two car parks will also be opened up as a courtyard space next to the tube station, which currently lacks a waiting area outside the tube station as it fronts directly onto the main road. That’ll be alongside a secure cycle rack for 60 bikes for commuters, in addition to the 607 cycle spaces for the residents in the new tower blocks.
Ben Tate, a spokesperson for CLL and Head of Property Development at TfL, said: “This scheme has been designed to provide not only the new and affordable homes that are urgently needed in the borough and across London, but also create new areas of open space and play space that can be enjoyed by the local community and residents alike and re-provide car parking facilities to support the local area. It will contribute around £4.5 million to help improve local infrastructure and services.”
As well as new homes and public space, the development will provide around 130 jobs over the course of construction, helping to support the local vibrant economy and high street, along with the creation of a new commercial space. The households in the new homes delivered as part of the proposed development will also generate approximately £5.3 million per year in additional spending, a proportion of which would be captured by local businesses and services.
Construction is due to start in September 2023 and last around 3 years, so people could be moving into their new homes at the same time that the Piccadilly line’s new trains are also coming into service.
The development at Cockfosters is the fourth of Connected Living London (CLL) – the formal partnership between Grainger and TfL — schemes to be given the planning permission. It follows successful applications to deliver 460 new rental homes in Southall, 139 new rental homes in north Lambeth and 479 new rental homes above and around the new Nine Elms Tube station in Lambeth.