Transport for London’s plan to build blocks of flats at Cockfosters Station has been narrowly approved despite thousands of local residents opposing it.

TfL secured permission for its controversial 351-home scheme during a marathon meeting of Enfield Council’s planning committee on February 3, which ended shortly before midnight.

It will see four blocks up to 14 storeys high built on car parks next to the Grade 2-listed station, leading to the loss of 323 public parking spaces.

The development will be available entirely for rent with 38 per cent of homes designated as affordable including a mixture of London Affordable Rent, London Living Rent and discount market rent housing.

More than 2,800 residents submitted written objections to the scheme while an online petition to save the car parks gained almost 3,900 signatures.

Enfield Southgate Labour MP Bambos Charalambous and Chipping Barnet Conservative MP Theresa Villiers also opposed the plans, along with neighbouring Barnet Council, which warned of an "unacceptable impact" on the borough’s roads.

Colin Bull, chairman of Cockfosters Local Area Residents Association, said the scheme would fail to meet a London plan target to provide 50 per cent affordable homes on public land, with no social rent housing.

He added: "This entire development would be of short-term tenancy, and it would place more burdens on the local infrastructure."

Kate Bishop, from East Barnet Residents Association, claimed building over the "extremely well used" car park would harm protected groups, including women, older people and those with disabilities.

The development is set to include 12 parking spaces for blue badge holders and a pick-up and drop-off point consisting of seven bays near the station entrance.

Enfield Independent: Cockfosters tube station in Cockfosters Road. Credit: Google MapsCockfosters tube station in Cockfosters Road. Credit: Google Maps

Several councillors from across the political chamber raised concerns at the meeting, including Labour's Hass Yusuf who described the proposal as "hideous" while Independent member Cllr Derek Levy said the scheme would not address Enfield's housing needs.

After a three-and-half hour debate, Conservative member Cllr Michael Rye proposed to refuse the scheme and the meeting was adjourned to prepare detailed reasons for refusal, which centred on the design of the scheme and its impact on heritage.

However, when the motion came back, it was lost by six votes to five, with Labour member Cllr Doug Taylor, who had abstained, proposing to defer the application but this was also lost.

A third motion to approve the application was backed by Labour members - except Cllr Taylor - so with the votes tied at six apiece, committee chairman Sinan Boztas used his casting vote to approve the scheme.

Enfield Independent: Entrance to Cockfosters station car park. Credit: Google MapsEntrance to Cockfosters station car park. Credit: Google Maps

During the meeting, representatives from Connected Living London – the formal development partnership between TfL and property management company Grainger – defended the scheme and claimed it would benefit Enfield.

Ben Tate, head of property development at TfL, said the plans would "help tackle the housing crisis and generate long-term, sustainable income that can be reinvested back into London transport networks".

Planning agent Matt Sharpe claimed Enfield Council's draft local plan is supportive of tall buildings at Cockfosters, adding £179,800 would be provided to support health facilities.

However, council planning officers admitted at the meeting the proposed scheme failed to align with local policies on tall buildings and heritage assets, as well as a London Plan policy on open space. They conceded the buildings would harm the station, Trent Park and Trent Park Conservation Area.

But officers claimed the scheme’s benefits, such as providing affordable homes, "outweighed the negative impacts", particularly given the authority’s consistent failure to meet its housing targets.

The scheme is one of several planned for tube station car parks across London.

A smaller development at Arnos Grove was refused by the same planning committee last year, but the council later withdrew its reasons for refusal following an appeal by the developer. An appeal hearing is set to take place in March.