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Winchmore Hill Residents Association is a non-political group run by residents, who seek to protect the quality of life in Winchmore Hill, now and for future generations

Recent News

Petition to stop Enfield including Green Belt land in local plan

 

We have discussed and outlined the local plan and what it means for the borough and more specifically to us in Winchmore Hill. The plan has met a great deal of resistance and opposition especially to the idea that large chunks of Green Belt could be used for development. There is a campaign group that is trying to get at least 3124 online responses via Enfield’s own petition pages in order to force the council to consider their petition and a debate on this issue. The deadline is 31st July 2022. Here is a link to the petition: https://governance.enfield.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?Id=256

Here is a link to a poster from this group so you can understand more about the issue and their aims. Please share this information with all local friends and family, the plan could have a lasting impact on this borough for generations to come and there are elements to it that need further consideration.




Winchmore Hill Ward Forum

The Winchmore Hill Ward Forum took place on Friday 1st July at the Friends Meeting House at the top of Church Hill. We apologise that we hadn’t promoted this meeting widely as we should. We will let you know about the next one as soon as a date is arranged.

Here is the agenda and here are the minutes (they will open up in pdf format in a new window). The crime figures for the last two months and a year on year comparison were also shared. You can see this document here.

There wasn’t a member of the WHRA committee in attendance but as you will see from the minutes the focus was on the Grovelands Forest School Nursery and there were a number of other matters raised by some of the 20 or so people who attended.




Grovelands Forest School Nursery

You may or may not have heard about the proposed forest school nursery in Grovelands. We want share what we know about this for you to make up your own mind as to whether this is an acceptable use for a small corner of Grovelands. The information below was presented at the last general meeting and there were no questions or issues raised at that time about it, although we know previously there have been questions and opposition from some residents in particular in Seaforth and Branscombe Gardens.

If you click on the image below, it is link to the supporting document for the application for the Certificate of Lawfulness submitted to Enfield Council which provides all the necessary information in one document that is also summarised below.

For those that don’t know, a forest school nursery is effectively a daily meeting up of nursery age children to enjoy the woods and recreate almost all their learning activities in a woodland setting.

The information we have comes from a meeting with Mike Campbell the owner of the Forest School Nursery. Like many people the WHRA were surprised to hear about this and had many unanswered questions about how the school would work, what safeguards were in place to protect the woods etc.

We met at the park at the area of the woods between Branscombe and Seaforth Gardens to look at the site and to ask questions about the set up and to find out what controls something like this is subject to.

The idea has been in discussion with Enfield for many months. We feel that Enfield should have made the councillors and the Friend of Grovelands Park aware that this application was going to be made, both of whom have the right to know about this and to be involved in discussions about it at an early stage.

Mike did let residents in Branscombe and Seaforth Gardens know about the plan in April and is meeting with anyone who wants to discuss the plans in more detail.

Early involvement from both Enfield and Mike with local residents, councillors, Friends of Groveland’s Park and WHRA would have been beneficial for everyone concerned and allowed this to develop with a wide consultation and full understanding of what is being proposed.

That said the purpose of this talk is to clear up any misconceptions that we know have been circulated about the Forest School Nursery, these misconceptions and concerns are understandable without clear information being available as to how this will operate.

We hope this explanation offers clarity and insight as to what is being proposed.

Background to Forest School Nurseries and Mike’s involvement

Forest School Nurseries are not new to the borough and there is one in Trent Park and Enfield Town Park which we assume work well and Enfield are familiar with how they work, any potential issues and how to monitor and control their activity.

The Trent Park nursery has operated successfully for six years we understand on the same basis as to the one in Groveland’s, ie without any permanent structures.

Mike is familiar with the set up of the Enfield Town Park and Trent Park operations, his daughter goes to the one in Enfield Town Park, he is passionate about the benefits of allowing young children to learn in an outside environment and wants to offer this opportunity to residents of Winchmore Hill and the local area.

This is not a money making venture as the high level of supervision means that there are very high costs for staffing. It takes a lot of time and there is a lot of paperwork and safeguarding to follow to set this up.

Planning application and the physical set up

They do not need to submit planning application as there is no building or structure required.

They will not be putting a permanent structure in the park. They will be setting up each day with a tent for napping and tent for nappy changing and a potty for those children who are able to use one. No doubt on occasions they will use the public loos at the café if nearby

They have had to apply for a licence to operate in the park just as you would to do a one-off event except that it is continuous for a year. They are subject to all the public liability and risk assessments that are part of event licensing.

They can have their licence revoked at any time during this year or not renewed and this will be monitored if there any breaches of this licence.

Mike has made it clear to us that they are fully aware of this and will make sure that they don’t create a situation that would lead to the licence being revoked, they want it to work for everyone.

They also have to apply for a certificate of lawfulness which is due to be decided in the next couple of weeks.

They are also applying to be Ofsted approved and monitored with all the safeguards and responsibilities that this entails. Ofsted have done their initial approval and Bambos our M.P is supporting the application and liasing with the Government department to help move the application along as there is a long backlog for their second and final onsite inspection.

Operational considerations, noise and impact on environment and locality

The nursery will be operational 9am to 3pm

There will be around 12 children to start with going up to a maximum of 24.

All the requirements of a nursery in terms of education and understanding of the world around them can be met in this setting.

Children will be heavily supervised with a 4 to 1 ratio of carers to children which is much higher than a normal nursery.

Parents will be asked to cycle or walk where possible and not in any way cause disturbance to residents of Branscombe or Seaforth. There is a limited number of car journeys that will happen and the impact on these roads is likely to be minimal. Parents will be asked to leave the nursery if they continue to cause issues in relation to car parking for the local residents.

The site they propose to use sits at the top of the hill near the boundary fence along from the entrance by Seaforth Gardens and Branscombe Gardens. It is a suitable spot with a natural clearing and an area that is much less visited than the main clearings in the wooded area of the park near the playground.

Most people naturally walk along the bottom and join the tarmac path leading up to the gates at Branscombe Garden or Seaforth Gardens and don’t cut across the top.

Boundary markers such as ribbons on a tree trunk (which will be removed each day) will set the boundaries that the children are allowed to go.

They won’t be there the whole time but will go off in groups for various activities around the rest of the park during the day.

In terms of noise, it is felt that younger children are likely to be much less noisy than older children in a school playground setting and other children who are in a nursery playground. This is because there are lot less of them in a much bigger space, they are not cooped up all day and don’t need to let off steam in the way that maybe children in an indoor environment need to.

The aim is to leave the area each day without any visible impact on the area and children’s activities and behaviour will be monitored to make sure that happens.

 




Update on the changes to the Green

As we reported earlier in the year there will be changes to the layout of the pedestrianised area of the Green. The scheme has been made permanent and here is a link to the changes that have been proposed. The councillors were not kept informed of theses changes and asked for a consultation on these changes so the local residents could have their say. This was agreed to but that was in January and it was expected that this process would go ahead at the very least after the local elections. There is no date for it as yet and the WHRA along with the councillors will be pushing those responsible in the council to get this process underway so these changes can be made.

When the consultation is announced we will let all our members know so they can have their say.

Our views on the whole scheme are clear in other posts, we want the illegal parking of cars and mopeds to stop through physical closing off of the spaces they currently use plus proper enforcement which has been non-existent in the last 18 to 24 months. These proposals will solve some of the problems associated with the anti-social and illegal parking of cars and mopeds however it doesn’t go far enough and we would like the mopeds moved to the slip road on the far side of the Green that runs from Broad Walk past Uplands Court to the roundabout by the Kings Head. This is the best place for them to stay away from the Green itself but still have easy access to Going Greek to collect orders.

We already have 200 people who filled in our online petition, if you haven’t filled it in and agree with us that the mopeds should be by Uplands Court and not be moved further up the Green outside the Larder or the cobbled area at the top of the Green which has been suggested then please click on the link below.

 

Recently as many of you will know, Espresso and Co decided to build their own ice cream stand out of OSB boarding which received quite a few complaints and was taken down within hours. Our understanding is that they are now going through the correct channels to get permission for an ice cream stand of a more traditional style as shown below. We have subsequently become aware after investigating further that a cart or other place to trade from is allowed within the pavement licensing scheme under which the table and chairs were allowed.

Although the design shown in the photo above is quite in keeping with the conservation area, certainly more so than most designs, the risk of the other businesses wanting to sell food or drink like this will need to be closely monitored to make sure their designs have been carefully considered. The impact on the Green and trying to maintain cohesion in terms of the conservation and heritage will be further damaged by ill considered designs that may be submitted by the other businesses in due course. We want to support local businesses but there has to be consideration of the conservation and heritage nature of the Green not just the quickest and cheapest option to increase turnover.