Plans to build 162 flats on top of the car park next to Arnos Grove tube station on the Piccadilly line have been approved after an appeal against the council’s decision to block it was upheld.

What’s being planned is for there to be four blocks of flats built for rental, with the blocks on one side set further back so that they don’t overwhelm Holden’s tube station. The proposed scheme of 162 rental homes also provides 64 affordable units, 40% by habitable room, in the form of discount market rent.

Planning application image

However, last year, although the development was recommended for approval by the council’s officials, Enfield Council’s councillors rejected the application, citing the loss of parking spaces and the size of the proposed buildings. The developer, Connected Living London — a joint venture between Transport for London (TfL) and Grainger — appealed the decision. Unusually, the council then decided not to defend its decision, citing changes to its local planning policy, leaving defending the decision to local community groups.

The Planning Inspectorate, an independent government organisation held a public consultation over four days earlier this month, and the inspector visited the site in person. Enfield council was represented at the inquiry and contributed to discussions on planning obligations and planning conditions, but citing the changes in its local planning policy, gave no evidence on the planning merits of the appeal.

The inspector said that the current surroundings around the station were “not particularly attractive” and that the changes to the area around the station caused by the development would be beneficial for pedestrians.

On the issue of the loss of car parking spaces, previous surveys of the car park users found that a third were within walking distance of the tube station, half within walking distance of a train station, and 68% close to a bus route. Just 1.2% were not close to some form of alternative public transport. There is a debate about whether people should be free to drive to work, but if so then just as equally whether TfL should be forced to provide car parks for those who want to swap travel modes partway through the journey.

The inspector concluded that the loss of the car park was “unlikely to have a significant effect on the ability of the public at large to access public transport services”

Compensatory funding has been agreed to support increasing the local GP service, funding for local travel improvements, and a commitment that residents won’t be able to apply for car parking permits.

As for the scale of the buildings, the inspector noted that they were in style inspired by the developments around Highgate and Balham stations, built at the same time as Arnos Grove station. The inspector said that the “buildings would sit comfortably alongside the listed station building, without competing with the strong vertical form of the booking hall”.

In the end, the appeal was allowed, and the property development of four blocks of flats for rent will be allowed to go ahead.

The risk that the Secretary of State for Transport could block the development as he did at Cockfosters is not going to be an issue, as the inspector revealed that approval to dispose of the land for housing has already been granted.

A separate application for costs was awarded to the developer.

The appeal reference was APP/Q5300/W/21/3276466.

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