Local Plan 2021- Submission by Councillor Stephanos Ioannou

Draft Local Plan-

Submission by Councillor Stephanos Ioannou of Southgate ward.


Introduction and Outset

This is my response to the Draft Local Plan Reg 18 Consultation 2021.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to this important consultation. I am very concerned about the numerous examples of projects which will affect the Green Belt land in Enfield. This space is invaluable and once it’s gone it won’t be coming back. There has obviously been a lot of concerns raised by Enfield residents about these plans and I respectfully add my voice to those valid concerns. I am also concerned with the plans in respect to high-rise developments and how this might be achieved through the council working collaboration with supermarkets to free-up parking space in return for more housing. I believe that overall, the plans are not fit for purpose and that this does not serve well the residents of Enfield and particularly those in Southgate which I represent.

These comments are not just my own, but also the comments residents have also asked me to pass onto the relevant department for their consideration, therefore these comments come from other members and groups in the community.

If I may make a general point first, it is hard for residents to comment on the consultation as a whole because it is presented in the form of a large number of documents with no guidance on how they relate to each other, or on which are principally technical papers and which are statements of proposed policy.

I am used to dealing with complex topics and if I find the papers and the process impenetrable, so probably will many others many others. A consultation presented in such a ragbag fashion is a poor consultation, likely to attract comments only from the truly committed rather than more typical residents.

I am writing to object to a variety of draft policies.  

1. I am writing to object to the following Policies: SP PL10, pages 80-87, and Figure 3.11; Policy SP PL9, pages 77-80 and Concept Plan Figure 3.10; Policy SA45: Land Between Camlet Way and Crescent Way, Hadley Wood, page 364; Policy SA54, page 374; and Policy SA62 page 383 and SP CL4 pages 277-279:

All of which propose the redesignation of Green Belt for housing and other purposes.
These sites are part of historic Enfield Chase, which is unique in the southeast and played an important role in the development of Enfield. It is a rare and valuable landscape asset, and its loss would cause permanent harm not only to the Green Belt, but also to the very character of the borough.

2. I also object to Policies SA62 page 383 and SP CL4 pages 277-279:

Because they transfer part of Whitewebbs Park, a public amenity, into private management. I reject the Council’s analysis that Whitewebbs Golf Course was losing money and call for its reinstatement.

3. I am also objecting to Policy SA52 page 372:

Which would remove part of Rammey Marsh, a wildlife area and public amenity, from the Green Belt.

4. I am also objecting to the tall building policies on pages 156-160, Figure 7.3, Figure 7.4 and Policy DE6, and SA2 Palace Gardens Shopping Centre page 321:

I absolutely abhor the Encouragement for tall buildings, including in sensitive locations such as the town centre conservation area (see pages 156-60, Figure 7.3, Figure 7.4 and Policy DE6, and SA2 Palace Gardens Shopping centre page 321). A higher quality version of figure 7.4 is also available, showing proposed maximum building heights across the Borough. 

There are many reasons to be sceptical of the proposals for more high-rise blocks in the London area, and particularly here in Enfield. I will list just a few:

Security: Unlike a traditional house on a street, a lot of the public space in and around a tower block is not overlooked by residents. Crucially the entrances to tower blocks are often concealed – there are no twitching lace curtains to put off would-be thieves and muggers. The absence of so called “defensible space” means that tower blocks can be frightening places to walk in and out of – the fear of crime in such places is often worse than the reality. And because it is unclear who is responsible for the space around tower blocks, that space is often abused with litter, abandoned cars and graffiti.

Anonymity: The sheer number of people coming in and out of tower blocks means that residents do not question the presence of strangers. In privately run blocks security can be vastly improved by the employment of a porter, but such a luxury is usually out of the reach of cash-strapped councils.

Location: Tower blocks are only really popular when they are located in fashionable areas. For example, while Erno Goldfinger’s Trellick Tower in Notting Hill is very popular, Goldfinger’s Balfron Tower in unfashionable Tower Hamlets is loathed. And try telling the residents of Park Hill estate in Sheffield that they live in a modern masterpiece.

Families: High-rise living is particularly unsuitable for families because of the absence of outside space. One of the reasons that tower blocks have such a bad reputation is that councils placed so many families in tower blocks against their will. The reputation of tower blocks may begin to change if people have more choice about where they live. Doubts will remain, however, about a building type that is only really suitable for those without children.

5. I am also objecting / supporting mentioned policies on pages 64-65, Figure 3.7:

Objection to (2): should deliver new homes including through high density development that also preserve key views of the station. This may include tall buildings only in acceptable locations as identified in policy DM DE6 Tall buildings and Figure 7.4 (and any updating successor).

There is a clear objective by the council and its administration to see areas like Southgate become concreted over with high-rise developments.

Whilst I recognise the need for additional housing in the borough, I thoroughly object to the suggestion for high rise buildings in places like Southgate.

May I also bring to the attention of officers the recent decision by the planning committee to reject proposals for such high rises at Southgate Office Village, after the community made clear the concerns ranging from character, impact on cultural heritage in the circus area, in addition also to the effect on the skyline. Moreover, there was a clear communication from Heritage England on the effect it will have from Groveland’s park and how the skyline again will be impacted.

I do not need to go more deeper into this case as the planning documents and the reasons for refusal by the committee were clear and published. Given this precedent has been set I would encourage the council to look at such decisions before resurrecting the failures of the past.

I would also like to mention the clear conflict of goals mentioned by the council in this document. To be specific point (2) conflicts with (3D) (3E) (3A).

Referring to point (3D) the type of buildings in Southgate is that of semi detached or detached housing going into the Meadway, Oakwood and Groveland’s estates therefore the conflict here regarding high rise buildings is clear.

Referring to point (3E) the exact refusal of Southgate Office Village which its intentions was to promote high rise dense housing was partly because of the lack of existing office space in the area, and the issue that this development would take the last remaining significant office block in Southgate out of action.

Referring to point (3A) I need not to go deep, in that again the department for planning recognise and must respect the Grade II listed status of Southgate Tube and thus must not seek to distort the surrounding area in favour of housing targets. We must show respect for our town centres and Southgate’s unique character must be preserved.

Support of point (4) in the Draft Strategic Policy SP for Southgate

Support of point (5) in the Draft Strategic Policy SP for Southgate

Support of point (6) in the Draft Strategic Policy SP for Southgate

Support of point (7) in the Draft Strategic Policy SP for Southgate

Support of explanation point (3.6.3) in the Draft Strategic Policy SP for Southgate

Part Objection of explanation point (3.6.4) in the Draft Strategic Policy SP for Southgate

Officers and those drafting the plan are trying their best to subtly introduce the word high rise into points made in the section for Southgate, once again I reiterate my comments above that the decision for Southgate Office Village sets a major precedent against the plans for high rises in Southgate. This must be respected, and the council should drop this comment.

Major Objection of explanation point (3.6.5) in the Draft Strategic Policy SP for Southgate

May I echo many residents’ concerns in having to now contemplate the building on top of supermarkets, therefore worsening their shopping experience in Southgate all together and adding yet another layer of inconvenience.

On a more serious note, there is no guarantee from supermarkets that they would be willing to see such construction on their sites, again due to the impact of customer experience, but also in what respect will the council look to partner with the council on such schemes? Enfield council have clearly struggled in prior development schemes such as Meridian Water for example, hence such foresight is if anything too ambitious when the council cannot even work on schedule for its existing developments. There is no real obligation by supermarkets to work in partnership with local authorities on such causes- hence the council might want to be careful when partnering up with profit seeking groups like supermarkets.

When supermarkets were contemplating their original construction, I am sure their sole purpose was to satisfy shoppers and not the local authority and their goals / targets. Therefore, the intentions of the council to work in partnership is actually a little too ambitious, as the common values of business and citizen satisfaction i.e. ASDA and Enfield Council goals for Southgate in this case are far apart.

Support of explanation point (3.6.6) in the Draft Strategic Policy SP for Southgate

Support of explanation point (3.6.7) in the Draft Strategic Policy SP for Southgate

I would also like to refer to one resident who made the following point in relation to the distribution of a leaflet by the Leader of the Council Nesli Caliskan:

“To be fair, the uncertain nature of the projections is recognised in some of the more technical Local Plan documents, but it is conspicuous by its absence from the headline statements, where these can be found, or from Councillor Caliskan’ s “Future Enfield: Enfield homes for Enfield people” leaflet distributed to households a few weeks ago.

However, the discussion of future housing need in the documents is very heavily influenced by the housing targets set by central government and the GLA. The demographic contribution to the future need is of course related to the uncertain household projections discussed above. A large chunk of the targets which government has been trying to set is due to central government’s use of formulae which place great stress on affordability, essentially based on average house prices in an area with average wages of those working in the area, wherever they live. Affordability of rental accommodation is ignored; of course, there is a relationship with house prices, but it is not a simple one.

This culminates in the statement in Councillor Caliskan’ s leaflet that the government would like us to build 4,397 homes per year. This appears to be taken from central government calculations consistent with what was probably the most mutant of their formulae in December 2020. However, they dropped this formula in April 2021. The figure of 4,397 was dead in the water at this point and should not have been used in any documents prepared after this point, including Councillor Caliskan’ s leaflet. Some might think that the purpose of using the figure make anything significantly less seem like a good result or compromise for the borough.

This means that it is probably the worst time possible to be committing to plans for the next twenty years. There is a real danger that Green Belt is given up or unsuitable tower blocks built because it is assumed that the projected growth is bound to happen. If it doesn’t, we have ruined parts of our borough for nothing.”

6.I am also objecting to DM BG10 in the Draft Enfield Local Plan. This allocates Firs Farm Wetlands (Site ID SA59) as a site for burial and/or crematorium use. I oppose this policy because: 

Firs Farm wetlands is a vitally important community resource, essential to the health and the draft Policy directly contradicts Strategic Policy SP CL4 in the draft Local Plan. This identifies Firs Farm as facilitating and contributing towards developing sport and leisure facilities in Enfield. 

The proposal will significantly affect the local Site of Interest for Nature Conservation and reduce the biodiversity and nature conservation interest of Firs Farm wetlands, contrary to several other policies in the draft Local Plan. 

The proposal will reduce the effectiveness of the flood alleviation provided by Firs Farm wetlands, which Enfield Council has spent more than £1 million to provide. 

The proposal will adversely affect the environment and local traffic, and this has not been properly considered in the Integrated Impact Assessment of the draft Local Plan.

The policy introduces uncertainty into the future use of Firs Farm wetlands that jeopardises funding for projects secured by local community groups (e.g. from Thames Water) that have been endorsed and supported by Enfield Council. 

I now move over to my recommendations:

  1. Does the vision for Southgate set out an appropriate vision for the future of this place? If not, what components do you think should be changed or are missing?

The vision for Southgate from the outset is extremely vague in the areas that bare some positive comments, please see reference to my points above which I agree with. With that said I am surprised to see officers focused on the more significant changes in the area, focusing mainly on high-rises instead of the wider more significant issues which I will mention in more detail below. I believe the below points have been mainly left out or not commented on in enough detail:

  • Cleanliness of Southgate

There is a serious perception that this council does not take pride in the cleanliness of the local area, this perception must change if we want to attract quality shops and shoppers to our area. In turn with a good high street will come happier residents, and with that I feel that we must look to clean up Southgate once and for all

  • Green in Southgate
    The point about open spaces was very vague, and I feel officers have let down residents and councillors with recent actions such as the implementation of parklets on Chase Side. Many residents feel they take up unnecessary space, congest the pavement, and do not add any green value to our high street. Many residents expressed that they feel planters, hanging baskets, SUD’s and even vast flowerpots where the pavement widens outside CYNERGEY BANK would have been more beneficial. Also mentioning the green space outside NANDOS which has been left neglected.
  • Art in Southgate
    As a home to a local college and a high concentration of primary schools in the area there is a unique opportunity for the council to collaborate on cultural projects with schools. For example, street art on walls, and council funded painting schemes that have brought about the colourful zebra recently on Chase Side. Generically speaking anything to brighten up and colour our street is welcome, and this again was left out
  • Congestion in the Southgate Circus area
    Many residents are appalled by the way in which the council has not addressed the issue of congestion in Southgate which has only been getting worse in the last two years. Winchmore Hill Road, Chase Side and Bourne Hill as well as High Street have seen more congestion- note all these key roads have recently experienced even more congestion due to the introduction of the LTN’s which have exasperated the issue. I therefore ask the department to look for a solution to make Southgate a pleasant commuter spot for both motorists and those who use public transport and rely on bus routes into our town. May I also ask the department look to suspending the LTN scheme to relieve the area of extreme congestion, and in addition to come up with a new scheme that will stem the flow of traffic on Southgate roundabout.
  • Farmers Market in Southgate- Something unique…
    We must be more creative in our approach and one of the ideas which really stood out from one resident was the idea of closing Minchenden Car Park for a timeframe during the week, maybe even the weekend, and utilising it for farmer use. This will add another element to our town and attract a new type of custom that will be unique like the market in Enfield Town. The space is there, the setup is possible, and the benefits will be better economic activity for our local area
  • Parking in Southgate
    If we are to talk about helping our local shops then we must take the decisive step and give an incentive for local shop owners to give their customers complimentary parking. I am talking about a scheme where council authorised coupons are delegated to shops and provided to drivers who shop local. Half an hour free parking for local shops will dramatically transform the fate of our high street which can get a boost of confidence, and shop owners will feel we are trying to support them post pandemic.

    Moreover, the council must seriously look at the way in which delivery companies have been neglecting our high street parking bays along Chase Side. Many shoppers and residents are beginning to desert out centre as the availability of parking, and the way in which delivery drivers on motorbikes dominate the scene have made the centre unattractive to shop. Many shop owners also are talking about packing up and going online because of this reason. We must now instigate a discussion whereby the council must make it mandatory for bikes especially outside McDonalds to sue their loading bays behind the store on Crown Lane to mitigate this negative effect.
  • Festivities for Southgate
    I am not surprised to see the council not meeting the attachment to culture when it comes to festivities. Southgate is home to a large Greek, Cypriot, Turkish, and even Jewish and Chinese community. The council does not make the effort to celebrate the communities which make our area, and I would advise the council to look at celebrating with its communities’ events such as Orthodox Easter, Hannukah and even Chinese New Year. With the progression of social media and cultural awareness we must look to celebrate and advertise that Enfield council recognises the contribution made by communities in Southgate. May I add other parts of London, such as Barnet, celebrate Hannukah with a placement on Golders Green Square. Also closer to home is Cockfosters who do the same. This should be pan-borough schemes and all areas should celebrate with other wards.

Conclusion:

Council officers will be reading my comments above, and may I make it clear that these comments although from my document are mostly compiled of views of local residents which I have moulded into a wider viewpoint. Most of the issues mentioned are bread and butter issues where the council if they just kept the place clean, tidy, green, then I am sure in turn the respect by businesses, residents and passers by will be far greater than is currently the case. We must therefore work to resolve the most basic of issues before we progress onto major projects, and I hope officers will listen to the points I believe have been missed out. On a more serious note I am heavily concerned with the views on high rise developments and I hope the departments relevant will note that prior applications have been met with much opposition by local residents and councillors who all voiced heavy views against the development. The plans also for ASDA are concerning as both parties (business and council) do not have shared interest therefore this ambition could just be a la-la land idea in an ideal where that businesses will partner with councils to make genuinely affordable homes.

DAILY STREET CLEANING REINSTATED FOR SOUTHGATE TOWN CENTRE

You asked for it- we got it done.

After many months of haggling with Enfield Council over the cleanliness of Southgate Town centre, I am pleased to say the department responsible have reinstated Monday-Friday daily sweeping and litterpicking, and this will be alongside a mechanical road-sweeper that will assist in deep-cleaning all parts of the road and pavement.

This will also continue on the weekend by a separate team.

The document below shows the rota that includes 21 roads in the Southgate Town centre.Great result, and great team effort to get this reinstated.

Read the statement below from the council:

“Dear Councillor Ioannou

Thank you for your recent e-mail raising residents’ concerns about the cleanliness of main shopping areas in Southgate.

After many difficulties I have been able to reinstate the handbarrow service in Southgate.  This means that there will be a manual cleanse daily of Chase Side, High Street, Ashfield Parade and Crown Lane.  Please see the attached beat sheet detailing the areas cleansed. 

After just a few days, when I checked the area last Friday I was impressed by the difference the operative had made. 

His work will still be assisted by a small mechanical sweeper on the pavement and a regular cleanse of the channels by a large machine.  At the weekend a team takes over responsibility for cleansing these areas on both Saturday and Sunday.

I will review the condition of the pavement in Chase Side and will advise you when it can be jet washed.”

Southgate Library- REOPEN!

I am very happy to see the council listen to the residents concerns here, and decide to reopen Southgate Library.

Conservatives were the first to raise concerns at Enfield Councils decision to close our library, and I am happy to see it will be renovated and have full time staff. See the email below sent to me, which outlines its plans in the future.

 

Dear Councillor Ioannou,

Please see a combination of Property and Library officer replies to your MEQ:-

1-Why was this decision taken?

In 2016 an informal, reciprocal agreement was made for Barnet & Southgate College to use the space in the original Southgate library building for their office use, in return for Enfield Council’s Southgate Library Service being located within the College’s student study area. The College has now requested that the Library Service vacate the student study area so they can expand provisions for their students, in time for the new term in September. In return, they are vacating the original library building, freeing it up again for Enfield Council’s use.

The move is expected to bring a new lease of life for Southgate Library. The revived offering will provide an exciting hub for the Southgate community with many prospects being considered for the new space including class visits and Toddler Times. We are investigating partnership opportunities and delivering exciting events. Equally the building will become an important provision for young people. We are expanding PC provision as know this is important to Southgate Library customers. We hope to be able to confirm a number of new activities in the near future.

Southgate Library will be moving in the weekend of 17-18 August, and will open the doors to its new home on Monday 19 August.

2-Was there ever a plan to sell the land to Southgate College?

The college have expressed interest in a joint discussion regarding the future of the site but there are no plans to sell it to them.

3-Will it be renovated to a decent standard?

Improvements to the building are currently being carried out to ensure that it is fit for purpose.

4-Will there be any extra facilities alongside the library it’s self?

As mentioned, many prospects are being considered for the new space including class visits and Toddler Times. We are investigating partnership opportunities and delivering exciting events. Equally the building will become an important provision for young people. We are expanding PC provision as know this is important to Southgate Library customers. We hope to be able to confirm a number of new activities in the near future.

5-Approximate cost of reopening?

The £82,000 expenditure will be funded within existing capital budgets, half by the Corporate Property Investment Programme (CPIP 2019-20 allocation)  and half by the Libraries Capital Programme  (CO10134).

6-Approximate numbs if staff?

The library staffing will remain the same at 1 FTE plus possible volunteer and partner support

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WALKER PRIMARY SCHOOL 20MPH SPEED LIMIT

WALKER PRIMARY SCHOOL 20MPH SPEED LIMIT

It has been a long enough wait, but the result for Walker School is a great achievement. Now both pupils and parents can cross the road without the fear of 40mph speeding vehicles, and safety will be increased despite the lollipop lady sadly leaving Walker School soon.

Walker Primary School is one of the very few schools in the Borough not in a 20 mph zone and we are keen to rectify the situation with an effective scheme that is nevertheless sympathetic to its location in the conservation area.

Our proposals are shown on the attached plan and comprise the following key elements:

  • Introducing a 20mph speed limit immediately outside and on the approaches to the school, including associated zone entry/exit signs.
  • Constructing four asphalt sinusoidal road humps to help make the scheme self-enforcing.
  • Rationalising the existing signs, removing unnecessary signs and reducing the size of others where possible.
  • Replacing the existing anti-skid surfacing on the approaches to the crossing and refreshing the road markings.

 

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WALKER SCHOOL REBUILD- SUCCESS

Modern teaching facilities will replace “crumbling” classrooms at an Enfield primary school after plans for a new building were approved.

Walker Primary School has been given the green light to build new facilities – including a new IT centre – at its site in Waterfall Road, Southgate.

Plans for the new building were deferred in December last year after concerns were raised that the design could harm the surrounding conservation area.

Planning officer Kevin Tohill told a planning committee meeting on Tuesday (April 23) that the designs had been amended and the building would make “a more positive contribution to the conservation area”.

Cllr Stephanos Ioannou, Conservative member for Southgate and a school governor at Walker, spoke in support of the plans.

He said: “When a school such as Walker has a waiting list of 79 for the reception class, it is fair to say there is considerable demand from local families for this school.

“This new building will be vital in securing the future of all the parties involved in Walker School.

“Should this go ahead, pupils will arrive at a school with new frontage, new model classrooms and a sensible sized hall for P.E. lessons”

“And, of course, extending the vegetable patch so that the next generation can learn about sustainable living.

“Most important is that the redevelopment plans incorporate an ICT (information communications technology) suite so pupils can gain knowledge of a key sector in our economy.”

Cllr Ioannou said the school was in such a state that teachers had to place buckets around corridors to catch water falling from leaking roofs and the headteacher had had to mop up a flooded classroom.

He said it was no exaggeration to say the school was “literally crumbling” and even the parents of some current pupils had been taught in temporary cabins while they were at Walker.

Cllr George Savva, Labour member for Haselbury, said: “This is a state-of-the-art school that will cater for the needs of children, families and the community for children to be educated in a proper manner.

“Children learn better if they are in a good environment.

“The head is there to run the school and not to mop up.”

The committee voted unanimously to approve the plans.

To see the full article click on this link.

 

Walker Primary School (Photo: Google Maps)

SAVE SOUTHGATE POLICE STATION

I fought long and hard before my election, both as a candidate and as someone who cares about policing in our borough, to keep Southgate police station open. Here you can see the letter I sent to the Borough Commander and the response I received.

INITIAL EMAIL:

To be delivered to the Borough Commanders Office….
Dear Borough Commander for Enfield & Haringey,

May I first say thank you for attending our community event at the British Legion, Southgate, on the 24th May. It is important people from all ranks in our public services show a presence at these events, and form a bond with residents and community leaders. I hope this wont be the last we see of you in our area.

This letter I am writing to you however is regarding the current situation at Southgate police station and its immediate future.

I would like to put the case why Southgate police station should remain open:

Southgate police station is not simply an added extra in our parade of shops. Businesses, both big and small, require the station to ensure order, and make sure that should theft or disorder take place we have the knowingness our police station will come out, and deal with the situations as they come. Having gone from door to door and shop to shop along the months of campaigning, I have heard stories from local business owners and customers about the increasing theft and disorder along our high street.
In one example, a gang of seven youths entered a well-known family shop on the high street and in broad daylight took produce and walked out. The shop owner expressed to me that because there are so many of them at that time, and no police presence, he felt there was no point in even calling the police as they’d be ‘long gone’. After encouraging him to send video footage of the theft to police, the local force unfortunately did not find the culprits.
We have a total of seven banks on our road, pubs, coffee shops and restaurants… a relatively good mix. But such a high street, particularly with such a volume of banks, should be better policed as the risk will surely be increased in future.

Following from the example I have given, this leads to another problem, that given the volume of youths passing through the area and studying in Southgate, shouldn’t we better the policing presence to protect our young members of society?
We have in total six primary schools and a secondary school in the area, followed by a renowned College. The current lack of policing means that we have increased crime against youth, and already residents have come to me with their stories. You will remember when I mentioned the time a young boy was taken at knife point to the Santander opposite the Tube, and forced to withdraw all his cash. This is unacceptable, and the Met should have more community volunteers on the beat, provided with a station open 24/7 so that people can seek refuge.

In addition to the above, residents on Queen Elizabeth Drive, Oakwood Park Road, Chelmsford Road and Wynchgate predominantly have come forward to express their fear as burglaries and theft on residential property increases. In speaking to residents, you will find the unease that a closure of the station brings…A reduced police presence with fewer patrols, the safety at night around Southgate Tube Station, the unease of literally walking down the street.

When the station closes for good, the response times from Edmonton will surely not be good enough for Southgate residents. How can you therefore reassure us that the police presence in the ward will not be affected, and that crime rates will improve in future?

In being pragmatic, I would like to ask for a PLAN B

Given that it may be a ‘done-deal’ in that the Mayor, and the Metropolitan Police, have decided that the planned closure will be going ahead, I will like to offer my views as to how we can keep a presence in the area.
Southgate is also home to the Southgate Fire Brigade service. This building is ideally located at the heart of the ward, next door also to Southgate Tube Station and opposite Southgate College.

Has the Metropolitan Police considered sharing the resources for this building, and providing a future base for Southgate police and some of its offices at the fire service station?

Given that we understand the drain on Met resources, can we explore a potential partnership to utilise the fire station for both services? This idea has already been mentioned at Essex County Council, and has received some credit. If not the fire station, can the ward police explore a permeant base in a public building so that residents are aware where to find them?
Given the length of this email, I hope to simplify it better for you in a point by point, question by question list of what this letter seeks to achieve:

Q) Will the Metropolitan Police service look to re-open and make Southgate Police station fully functioning once more, for the benefit of residents, shop owners, schools, commuters, and frankly anyone who passes, lives or works in Southgate?

Q) Will the Metropolitan Police commit to keeping (at the very least) same or improving the level of police officers on the beat here in Southgate?

Q) Will the Metropolitan Police commit to working with Councillors, community groups, schooling institutions and businesses to ensure awareness of local crime, but in particular to make sure young individuals are aware of the causes and consequences of crime, and how they can prevent it?

Q) Will the Metropolitan Police look into sharing services with other public sector units such as the fire service in Southgate, to ensure we maintain some presence and a base that the community rely on?

Q) Will the Metropolitan Police give myself, community groups and residents an update as to the destiny of the station. Wil the station be sold off? Will it retain some community purpose? When can we expect it to be sold if the case. The quicker this issue is solved, the better the clarity for everyone.

Q) Will the Metropolitan Police look to better police presence in crime hotspots such as Southgate Tube Station to divert crime in future?

I hope to hear from you soon with answers to these questions, for the benefit to our community.
I kindly ask if you can email me your response at: cllr.stephanos.ioannou@Enfield.gov.uk

Kind Regards,
Cllr. Stephanos Ioannou,
Councillor for Southgate ward, London Borough of Enfield

Response:

Dear Councillor Ioannou,

Many thanks for your letter of 4th June 2018 to Chief Superintendent Helen Millichap who has asked me to respond on her behalf. I am the lead for Neighbourhood Policing for Enfield and Haringey boroughs and I oversee a broad portfolio including local ward-based policing and community, schools and youth engagement.

You may be aware that the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) carried out a public consultation last year on the MOPAC and Metropolitan Police Service’s Public Access Strategy, which recommended that each borough should maintain one 24/7 police station front counter. This strategy was ratified following the consultation and from mid-December 2017 each of the 32 London boroughs has adopted this approach, with Enfield’s front counter remaining at Edmonton Police Station. I have attached a link to the MOPAC website where full details can be found: https://www.london.gov.uk/mopac-publications/public-access-strategy

It is important to note though that the strategy is about far more than front counters, and reaffirms the Met’s commitment to visible and responsive policing at a local level. Every ward in London now has two PCs and a PCSO, overseen by a PoliceSergeant, dedicated to tackling the issues most important to local residents and building relationships with the community. You can find details of the Southgate Safer Neighbourhoods Team, along with details of the most reported crimes and crime prevention advice relevant to the ward here: Southgate | The Met. On this website (www.met.police.uk), in addition to finding out information about local policing, members of the public can report crime, seek advice and access a number of policing services.

Southgate Police Station, which as you know is not open to the public, currently houses a small number of officers working in local wards and this building will be released by the Met at a point to be determined, probably over the next two to three years. However, it is important to note that savings made from disposing of expensive to run buildings are being invested in front line policing: all officers are now equipped with tablets or laptops to enable them to complete reports whilst out in the community without having to repeatedly return to a police building; and increased numbers of officers are to be deployed in vitally important schools and youth engagement work. We are also committed to maintaining visibility and accessibility of local officers through weekly community contact sessions which are advertised on the website and elsewhere and we welcome suggestion as to where and when these sessions might take place. Enfield’s response teams, the officers who respond to emergency calls, have for some years operated from a site in the east of the borough and, as they are deployed across the borough in fast response vehicles, building closures will have no impact on the speed with which police attend urgent calls from the public. This model of response policing is in use across London.

I am grateful for your helpful suggestions about co-locating local officers in the heart of Southgate with the London Fire Brigade. This is very much in line with the Public Access Strategy’s proposal for Safer Neighbourhood Teams whose wards are more than a mile from the nearest retained police station to work from Dedicated Ward Hubs shared with other service providers or partners. I will pass on your suggestion to the Southgate SNT to make enquiries as to whether this location may be viable. Other possible venues could be medical centres, libraries, council buildings or community centres. Whilst these hubs will not be accessible to the public, they will ensure that officers can spend the maximum time possible working in their communities and not spend time travelling.

We are absolutely committed to bearing down on violent crime and are doing a huge amount of work to prevent violence, including operations involving both uniformed and plain clothed officers around transport hubs and crime hotspots, and utilising the support of the Met’s central resources such as the newly formed Violent Crime Taskforce. Critically, this is underpinned by the work of our local SNTs and I will ask Sergeant Matt Bloomfield to make contact with you to discuss your thoughts on how best we can support community groups, residents and businesses in preventing crime in Southgate.

I hope this covers all the queries you raised. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss any of these points further.

Best wishes,
Nigel Brookes

Nigel Brookes
Superintendent, Lead for Neighbourhood Policing, Haringey & Enfield Boroughs, Metropolitan Police Service

NO CHANGES TO BUS ROUTES IN SOUTHGATE

Not an MEQ update, but this time just a bit of information regarding bus routes around Southgate. As you may be aware TFL launched plans last year to revise all existing bus routes in the London area.

Thankfully TFL have not planned any immediate changes to bus routes around Southgate, and you can check this from:https://TfL.gov.uk/modes/buses/bus-service-changes 

SOUTHGATE SANTANDER TO REMAIN OPEN

In response to a letter I sent back when I was a candidate last March 2018, I set out clearly my intention for Santander to keep its Southgate branch open to the wider Southgate population and businesses in the area, who use it for their banking services. 

Today I can confirm that Santander have announced that they will be keeping Southgate branch open but closing the Cockfosters branch. Although not happy for the residents in Cockfosters, this is a decent result for the people of Southgate who rely on this branch in differing ways. 

You can on this link see which branches are planned for immediate closure in the foreseeable year, and which branches have therefore been saved from closure.

FIXING SOUTHGATE TUBE STATION- TFL RESPONSE

I promised to get TFL to give Southgate Tube Station the refurbishment it deserved. 

I am proud to say that already my pledge has been successful, and we have a result.

RESPONSE FROM TFL:

Ref: 12013625 

Dear Cllr Ioannou 

Thank you for your email of 15 June and subsequent telephone call.

I do not yet have details regarding all the concerns you have raised but I wanted to share the information that I do have with you.

Photo 1 – The shelter will be redecorated this financial year.  The wires were used to raise and lower the lights on pulleys so they are not live and there is no risk of electrocution.  I am still awaiting news on when the wires will be removed.

Photo 2 – The lighting column was last inspected in November 2017 and did not pose any immediate risk.  Further tests are planned shortly.

Photo 3 – The benches will be repainted when the shelter is redecorated.

Photo 4 – The bins will also be repainted.

Photos 5, 7 & 8 – Both units 4 and 6 are under offer. Number 1 Chase Side only became vacant in the last couple of weeks.  We recently let units 1 and 5 on the station and units 1 2 and 8 on the Parade.

Photo 6 – The art-décor blue panels will be repaired during the works.

Photo 9 – The sign to the High Street will be repaired.

Photo 10 – The roof will be repaired and the solar reflective coating will be renewed.

In addition funding is being made available to strip and redecorate the escalator incline barrel and the lower concourse area.

Thanks again for contacting us. If there is anything else we can help you with, please reply to this email. Alternatively, you can call us on 0343 222 1234 and we’ll be happy to help you.