Permission has been granted for a housing development on car parks at Arnos Grove Station after a planning inspector overruled a decision to reject it.

The plan to build 162 flats in blocks up to seven storeys high at the Grade 2-listed station, which will lead to the loss of 292 parking spaces, was backed by the government-appointed inspector in a decision published on Wednesday (March 30).

Enfield Council’s planning committee resoundingly rejected the proposal by Connected Living London (CLL) – a partnership between Transport for London (TfL) and property firm Grainger – in January last year.

The committee ruled it would not provide enough family housing, fail to make up for the loss of car parking, as well as fail to preserve or enhance the setting of the station building.

But after CLL appealed the decision, the council decided not to defend the reasons for refusal at a public inquiry in early March – partly as a result of subsequent changes to planning policy.

Residents’ groups Cockfosters Local Area Residents Association (Clara) and the Friends of Arnos Park gave evidence against the scheme during the inquiry, but the council’s formal position was that permission should be granted.

In the decision report, planning inspector David Prentis wrote that the proposal "is in accordance with the development plan [the council’s Local Plan] as a whole".

The inspector said the area is "well-served by public transport" and that by prioritising pedestrians and cyclists the scheme would accord with policies designed to "reduce the dominance of vehicles on London’s streets" and improve access to underground stations.

The development is set to provide 40 per cent affordable housing, although only nine per cent of the homes will be three-bedroom ‘family-sized’ units.

The decision notice refers to the fact Enfield Council has been failing to meet its housing targets in recent years, meaning added weight has to be given to new housing schemes.

Enfield Southgate Labour MP Bambos Charalambous said he was "very disappointed" by the inspector's decision, adding: "The strength of feeling was clear, as there was real concern that this development would be an overdevelopment of the area, place significant pressure on local infrastructure, and reduce accessibility for the tube station for the disabled and elderly. I continue to share these concerns today."

Daniel Anderson, a local Independent ward councillor whose petition against the scheme gained more than 3,000 signatures, said he was "extremely disappointed" by the decision and claimed even the affordable homes would be out of reach of those on median earnings in Enfield. 

He added: "This is a development that will not help residents in the borough or neighbouring boroughs […] effectively, the development will bring more people into the area on short-term tenancies and will not in any way enhance the borough."

In a statement, the Federation of Enfield Residents and Allied Associations described the loss of parking spaces and the failure to provide a drop-off zone as “a purge on car use that benefits nobody”, claiming the scheme would “degrade transport links for many thousands living in the catchment area”.

It added: “We find it inexplicable that TfL, charged with delivering the best service possible, is pressing for a sell-off of assets that conflicts with its prime duty.

“Park and ride is settled national policy, helping many to make more use of public transport and reducing car miles. But the mayor believes London is different – he should spell out why, then how he will return to strengthening public transport instead of degrading it.”