New Southgate, London Borough of Enfield

Planning Potential and Communications Potential successfully secured flexible consent on an ‘Opportunity Site’, allowing landlord and tenant to benefit from continued retail use pending wider redevelopment opportunities coming forward.

We were instructed to advise and secure consent for Aldi to occupy a former DIY unit in New Southgate. The unit was subject of a restriction against sale of food, which needed to be varied before Aldi could take occupation. However, this was set against a complex planning background, as the site formed part of a much wider opportunity area and was subject of both site allocations and a masterplan promoting significant residential-led mixed-use development. Matters were further complicated due to the range of ownership interests across the wider site area.

The proposals were initially met with resistance by officers due to concerns that continued use of the site would prevent the long-term redevelopment aspirations from being realised. A first application was refused on this basis.

Working closely with officers, we won their trust by demonstrating that realising the site’s full potential would take time and would certainly not be met within the short-term. During this time, it was not in anyone’s interests that the site be vacant, and we demonstrated that both London Plan and the council’s own policies sought to encourage meanwhile uses. Our application was applied for on an interim basis and offered a Section 106 agreement whereby any consent was terminated in line with development breaks should a wider regeneration consent be granted.

Research had also shown that the local area lacked a supermarket, and this was further apparent when our public engagement demonstrated overwhelming support for a new Aldi. The application was unanimously approved at planning committee.