High-rise tower blocks risk damaging the character of suburban parts of the borough and should be limited to brownfield sites.

That was the view of Conservative councillors who called for restrictions on high-rise housing developments at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday (September 18).

It comes amid plans for several major high-rise schemes in Enfield – some of which would be close to listed buildings and conservation areas.

Transport for London wants to build flats at Cockfosters and Arnos Grove tube stations in projects that could involve building on commuter car parks.

Meanwhile, a proposed development near Southgate Underground Station could see blocks of flats up to 17 storeys high constructed within a conservation area.

And at Colosseum Retail Park between Enfield Town and Ponders End, a 29 storey-tower block would soar above the low-rise surrounding buildings if it is approved by the council.

The Conservative Group said the council should ensure developers build high-rise blocks at industrial and brownfield sites rather than in suburban areas and outside of town centres.

Cllr Edward Smith (Conservative), Cockfosters, said: “We believe these types of developments are too high, too dense and out of keeping with the suburban character of these areas.

“We also think they will place even greater strain on already overstretched health services and schools, and generate more traffic.”

Cllr Smith accused the administration of lending a “surreptitious helping hand” to the developments to cover up its “pitiful” record on building affordable homes.

The Conservative Group called for the council to stick to existing planning policies rather than the higher targets in the draft London Plan and draft Local Plan – both of which have yet to be officially rubber-stamped.

Cllr Smith pointed out a development management document published by the council in 2014 said inappropriate areas for tall buildings included those close to the green belt, listed buildings and “sensitive areas”.

But members of the Labour Group said some high-rise buildings would be needed to cope with a soaring demand for homes.

Council leader Cllr Caliskan (Labour), Jubilee, pointed out both the Mayor of London and the Government believe Enfield needs to significantly ramp up its rate of housebuilding.

She said the Mayor’s new London plan would include a target of 1,900 homes a year, while the Government’s assessment of the borough’s housing need is 3,500 a year.

Cllr Caliskan said: “Whichever figure you take, there is clearly a need for some sort of step change.

“Intensification and residential development in industrial areas while building on retail parks is, of course, important.

“The council is taking a brownfield and town-centre approach to accommodating growth.

“However, let’s be absolutely clear, this alone will not be enough to meet the needs of our borough.”

The leader said the height of buildings would be dealt with on a “case-by-case basis” and transport hubs could be used to accommodate “excellently designed buildings”.

She added that the borough could not continue to only build high-rises in Edmonton, where thousands of families live in “cramped, sub-standard accommodation”.

Cllr Caliskan said: “We should also be willing to see development on the western side of the borough.”

The council leader said the council is planning to bring in restrictions on controversial office-to-flat conversions that have been widely criticised for providing poor-quality homes.

Enfield Council previously had an application for these restrictions – known as Article 4 directives – rejected by the Government, but it has now launched a fresh bid for them to be approved.