Enfield Council have set up a working party to establish a Heritage Strategy for the Borough. You may think that there is very little to warrant a strategy, but you would be wrong on two counts. Firstly we have many local features which would encourage a visit by “tourists” to the area, from Forty Hall to Grovelands Park, Firs Farm Wetlands and to the Lea Valley. We have many individual buildings and historic areas with quality townscape and landscape.
Secondly we have a Heritage which surrounds us every day to which we should be ensuring that it is not, by our own actions, destroyed. This, because of its slow encroachment, due to time lapse, it is difficult to notice. Much of this is due to the increase in the population but it is also due to each individual requiring more space. The area of public open ground is under pressure, buildings are extended, but the most significant user of space is the mobile and static car and of their need for a growing number of traffic directional signs.
Moreover with new building, or extended building, it can be seen from planning applications that the quality of design is very poor, particularly with ground floor extensions, oversized “box” dormers, replacement windows and shop fronts. New technology is also playing its part by the growth of telecommunication masts and the plethora of associated cabinets.
All these are subject to planning consent, except a growing number of those which are now exempt due to recent legislation. Until Local Authority Planning Departments are given more effective powers and the Appeals system simplified, then poor quality design will continue. This, sadly, is the legacy we are passing on to our children. We must all take responsibility for the quality of our heritage.