The Enfield Small Sites Programme pioneers how small brownfield sites can deliver a significant number of homes through innovative design and collaborative planning on sites that would otherwise have been overlooked.
Due to the constrained nature of these sites, the design approach has been key to overcome some of the issues small sites face with regards to preserving neighbouring amenity to creatively address overlooking concerns. The planning involvement from both the public and private sectors has been key to unlocking the development potential of these small sites, along with an ambitious client and a skilful architect. The Programme maximises the amount of housing available on underutilised land and contribute to delivering much needed affordable homes.
Overall, the programme delivered 28 homes (5x1-bed, 9x2-bed, 14x3-bed) on four sites of 0.05-0.19 hectares in the London Borough of Enfield. Fifteen of the homes were built for affordable rent.
The constrained nature of the sites forced our design team to push for innovative approaches to addressing issues with light, overlooking and enhancement of the existing residential environment.
Enfield’s portfolio approach to identify and assemble small sites has generated a number of positive outcomes from widening the supply of housing across the borough through to enhancing the character of the local area. Positive feedback from a local resident in November 2017 demonstrates the value of combining high quality architecture and increasing the supply of housing in the borough:
“I just wanted to say how pleased I am that the council has chosen a reputable firm of architects, to design much needed housing in the borough. I sincerely hope that the partnership continues.” - Local Resident, November 2017
The proposed schemes embed sustainability at their heart, by making effective use of underused brownfield sites, in keeping with the wider planning policy context. The existing sites are all garage sites, many of which are not fully occupied, or are in disrepair. The redevelopment of the brownfield garage sites is supported by adopted local, strategic and national planning policies, and can provide a more efficient and appropriate use of land than the existing underused garage courts. Many of the garages are not even currently in use for car parking, meaning the land is not in effective use at all.
All of the individual sites take an approach of delivering housing in the form of houses, with a strong emphasis on family homes. The aim of this is to provide for the needs of families within the borough – considering the long term sustainability of the general demographic of the area, rather than defaulting to an approach that chooses to maximise the number of homes that can be achieved on these quite small and challenging sites, by proposing smaller 1 and 2 bedroom flats.
This project won the 2018 RTPI Award for Planning Excellence to Deliver Housing (Small Sites). The RTPI Awards judges picked up on the strong community consultation when praising the scheme:
“We were impressed with the council’s proactive approach to delivering affordable housing on previously developed, difficult to develop land in their authority. The planners were central to this project from using planning policy to identify the sites for development through to understanding the kind of housing the community wanted to resolving some of the design issues. As a result, the project has strong local support.”