Friends of Trent Country Park

Minutes of the June 24, 2024 Public Meeting

Minutes of the June 24, 2024 Public Meeting


 Report by Peter W Gibbs, Chairman

Report on Proceedings of the General Meeting, held at 7.30pm on June 24thh 2024 at Christ the King Catholic Church  hall, Bramley Rd, Enfield. With added explanatory notes.

The Chairman opened the meeting and welcomed 16 members and guests;

Cllr. Edward Smith

Cllr. Ruby Sampson

Colin Bull, Chair CLARA

Apology from Cllr A Georgiou.


The Park presents this year as a beautiful haven of green vistas, untrammelled by commercial events, damage, disturbance, and general loss of amenity. Long may it continue as such.

This is no accident, but results from years of campaigning by residents and councillors alike against misuse of the Park by Enfield Council in its failed attempt to monetise a major cultural asset. TCP is and remains unequipped to support heavyweight events. We foresee having to continue representations to ensure this respite carries over to seasons to come, for the benefit of the million visitors a year who depend on it. And for its own value as a unique London asset.

The Park’s long term needs remain largely unaddressed. The Friends submitted a schedule of necessary works over two years ago, and still await a response – even after the help we offered to bring about Improvements and additions. Sadly our council continues to see parks, at least in the west, as a load rather than a major public health, social and ecological asset.

The council has recently revived the idea of reinstating park plans, probably spurred on by the approach of the Local Development Plan. Friends remember that parks used to have 3 year rolling plans, removed pre-Covid for resources reasons. Friends wondered how assets could be efficiently deployed if there were no plans. Now we know, they can’t.

Friends recall that TCP was awarded Green Flag quality status nearly a decade ago but LBE withdrew TCP from the scheme in 2017 and promised to maintain the GF standard, but it has not. We have not determined if recent talk of restoration of Green Flag is a feint or reality in the making. We continue pressing on your behalf.

The Friends have attempted again to offer practical support where appropriate on a quid pro quo basis. It is not our aim to demand a fairer share of council spend without coming forward ourselves, but the Council’s response has been muted.

On one issue, security, the Council has now stepped up to the plate and we recognise that illegal rave gatherings are now effectively kept out of the park. This change is most welcome although tinged with regret that we were told for years that action to combat raves was not possible.

The Berkeley estate progresses, albeit at a slower pace, the enhancement prospects now just as attractive as when development began. The Mansion remains in redevelopment and the promised WW2 museum should open next year, a prospect we can all be proud of. This has been a long road to park improvement, but honoured as intended, and visitors can draw comfort that their voice has been heard.

The Friends remind all members of the value of writing in to the council with observations, and proposals. Short notes are fine and keep councillors informed of our views.

Alternatively all notes sent to the Friends will be responded to, and passed on if this is preferred. By writing in twice a year, boosting the committee’s efforts, members make the public’s views plain to LBE. The chances of improvements are much increased with widespread support.

PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS: Members are requested earnestly to address concerns to us and also make their views known via the following LBE councillors / officers:

Agenda reports

 Events Programme (Colin Bull of CLARA)

This year LBE restrained promoters to no more than 10k attendees per day. Uncertainty over TfL train services added pressure to de-escalate larger events; partly as a result, no major events took place this year, our two community gatherings (Mauritius and Ghana) transferred to Barnet council. But Enfield Council will not clarify its intentions for 2025, and appears once more set to avoid the real limitations of the site and neighbourhood in trying to extract real revenue from events.

Everyone supports community events in the park of a size commensurate with the facilities in the park, but appeals to LBE to encourage activities of interest to our community, which for the most part in the past it has ignored. The need to respect quality of life expectations for neighbouring rate-paying residents remains a potent argument.

Efforts to control events traffic and parking, and the impact on the area had not been totally successful and continue to be a matter of consultation between CLARA / Friends and officers from the two adjacent boroughs who have genuinely worked to find solutions to major public incursions. However, there is a limit to the additional marshalling costs promoters can bear. Nobody wants to chase away suitable promoters with disproportionate costs, but operating in an area not prepared for large gatherings is a fixed impediment. CLARA continues to work towards an acceptable solution, but will oppose licence applications that damage the interests of residents and park visitors.

CLARA has vigorously opposed TfL plans to build 4 high towers on the Cockfosters station carpark, which would ruin the outlook from the park as well as overshadow the neighbourhood. At present progress is halted by an order from the SoS at the DfT. This restriction may not prevail if there is a change of administration shortly and the building ambitions of the newly elected Mayor are sure to put the station carpark back in play, which CLARA and other residents groups will do their best to oppose.

  1. Local Environment Matters (Cllr Ruby Sampson)

 Waste collection and removal looms across the area, in and around the Park. New bins have been secured at Cockfosters station from TfL and LBE has agreed to service the bins. Waste accumulations continue in the area for lack of service, as well as the Park where litter is a pressure, especially in fine weather. The meeting was appreciative of progress in this area.

The condition of the café carpark was raised – it is wearing badly at the entrance and needs maintenance before claims for damage to passing cars is reported.

The cratered condition of the west end of Limes ave was also discussed. Remedial work was agreed by LBE nearly 3 years ago but only the section outside the operations depot has been resurfaced. Resurfacing or at least patching requires immediate planning as a health and safety issue.

The heritage gate has lain damaged for nearly 15 months now and LBE’s arguments that repair is under discussion carry no further weight. Friends have pressed repeatedly for action with increasing impatience. However (post meeting) a meeting between parties was held and repair and conservation work scoped. Insurance and maintenance budgets now need securing for rebuilding work to start. The Friends want this done before winter sets in, and visitors will experience reduced access for short periods as the north pillar and archway are removed and rebuilt to heritage standards. We continue to press the Council to implement and enforce with penalties its restrictions on large vehicles using this gate, and not give way to trucking companies who try to bulldoze their way past officials.

  1. Local Development Plan ( Cllr Smith and Carol Fisk for ERW)

 Enfield Road Watch has worked for some years to represent residents’ views on the growing pressure to develop open countryside across west Enfield. The latest iteration of the Local Development Plan (LDP) reached Regulation 19 consultation stage earlier this year; ERW , in collaboration with The Enfield Society, campaigned and prompted over 4500 objections to this plan which would grind large areas of N Enfield under concrete over the next 17 years. Huge developments proposed for Vicarage Farm (Bramley Rd) Hadley Wood, and Crews Hill, amounting to small townships would certainly change the character of the area, and pressure infrastructure as never before. Trent Park would be impacted too. It is a listed park and gardens, containing ancient woodlands and other habitats that qualify it as a nature conservation area [a SINC].  The proximity of 4,000+ new homes on Vicarage Farm and the increased traffic through sensitive areas would be very detrimental to the ecosystem and biodiversity.  The park would also be harmed by overwhelmingly dense towers, as currently proposed at Cockfosters station, and for these reasons the Friends actively campaign with CLARA against the LDP and oversized local development proposals.

The target build of 33,500 / 35,000 new houses by 2041, way in excess of the borough’s known housing needs (5000 homes), indicate an additional 60,000 residents by 2041. This is not sustainable and unreasonable.

What is missing from these proposals is a genuine regard for the heritage of Enfield as part of the ancient Enfield Chase lands north of the capital. The market town character of Enfield is already subsumed and would disappear, to resemble any characterless crowded inner borough. Loose talk of developing “denatured green belt” is for the benefit of developers who make more profit from using open land than redeveloping brown field sites across the borough, especially the East where regeneration is sadly needed.

Campaigners do not deny the needs of the unhoused, rather to deter many thousands more from taking up limitless numbers of homes for investment purposes to the cost of our communities. This would be altogether the wrong model for the progressive evolution of London. Local councils like Enfield see matters otherwise, their interest being the search for any revenue whatever the downside, a model that brings them into an unhealthily close relationship with aggressive developers.

  1. Volunteering with the Friends

Friends of Trent Park would welcome more volunteers to assist in all sorts of work in the park to enhance and improve the facilities and their presentation to the public. Some help with email writing and attending meetings to press our case is always valuable, but there is spade work for those able to undertake it. Those with horticultural knowledge, legal experience, sports backgrounds, architectural and planning experience, social media outreach skills, event planning and management, and fund-raising experience, are especially needed, but we also welcome anyone who can spare a few hours canvassing in the park for new members and helping with other  one-off tasks.

  1. Social Media

Please Like our Facebook page and share it with friends and family. This is the first place to look for news of events, alerts or just pretty pictures of the park.   We would like to increase our Twitter and Instagram activity.  If anyone can help, please get in touch.  And our website has lots of good information about the park, council contacts, etc.:

 Next Friends meeting

The next meeting is planned for Nov 2024.  A further newsletter will be issued later this year.


Meeting closed 21.10hrs.                                                                                             PWG 2.7.24