Councillors have slammed ‘half-baked’ plans for an office block on a town centre car park after warning they could breach several key planning policies.

Enfield Council’s planning officers wanted councillors to give the green light to plans for a new headquarters for multinational communications firm Metaswitch on Genotin Road Car Park in Enfield Town.

But at a planning committee meeting yesterday (Tuesday, September 25), members complained they were being asked to rubber-stamp the application even though key details were missing from the report.

Councillor Mike Rye, Conservative member for Town ward, said: “What I can see here is an application by the council being rushed through and the report not being fully developed to answer all the concerns we have had.

“My view is it certainly needs to be deferred until all of the issues are resolved and clear – not a half-baked application on a landmark site that really should have been something of outstanding quality and design.”

Cllr Gina Needs, Labour member for Turkey Street, raised concerns that the proposed five-storey office block did not meet security standards set out by the Metropolitan Police.

She also pointed out that the report showed the drainage system designs did not meet the water quality requirements for major developments.

Several councillors raised concerns that the number of parking spaces proposed in the report was higher than the recommendations set out in the Mayor of London’s London Plan.

In the planning report, officers claim the extra parking spaces are needed to meet the demands of the firm’s commuters.

Councillors also suggested the plans did not meet the goals of the Enfield Town Masterplan – which was only adopted in March this year – because the building would not be a ‘mixed-use’ development featuring residential and retail units.

The council’s planning officers said negotiations with Metaswitch were ongoing and claimed several of the issues raised by councillors had been resolved since the report was drawn up.

Andy Higham, head of development management, said planning officers had to balance the requirements of different planning policies against the case for retaining a major local employer.

Metaswitch employs around 400 people and the new premises would create room for further expansion.

The council fears the firm could leave the borough if the development does not get the go-ahead – leading to a loss of revenue from business rates and rents.

Consultation letters were sent out to 426 neighbouring and nearby properties, with only 17 people raising objections and eight coming out in favour of the proposals.

But councillors remained unconvinced and demanded more clarity from planning officers.

Labour member for Southbury Chris Bond said: “We are simply bending over backwards to keep (Metaswitch) in – what will happen if another company comes in? Will we be giving them the same assistance – say, for example, to a competitor of Metaswitch?

“That, to me, is a bit of a worry – that’s state aid.”

The planning committee voted to defer the application to allow officers to address the issues they had raised and present a more comprehensive report.