In a letter today to Chipping Barnet MP, Theresa Villiers, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that he has refused an application made to him by TfL to allow them to build tower blocks over Cockfosters station car park.
Ms Villiers has spearheaded a lengthy campaign against this project, and others by TfL and the Mayor to build on further station car parks such as High Barnet. Labour-run Enfield council had approved the Mayor's proposal for 14 storey tower blocks to be built at Cockfosters, but he also needed permission from the Secretary of State to remove the land from its current use as a park-and-ride scheme.
Welcoming the news, Theresa Villiers said "It was shocking when Labour councillors in Enfield signed off on this scheme for high rise development in the outer suburbs and the removal of almost all parking spaces for commuters. They disregarded over 2500 objections from local people. I have been campaigning to save Cockfosters from the Mayor's plans for years and it is hugely welcome that the Transport Secretary has now stepped in to put a stop to them."
"Unfortunately this is not the end of the story. The Mayor and TfL may come back with a revised scheme and try again to get it through. I will keep fighting to save Cockfosters as well as other station car parks like High Barnet. These perform an important park-and-ride function, helping people get on to the public transport network."
"People with impaired mobility would be especially hard hit by the loss of station parking facilities and there are also serious concerns about women's safety and security if they can no longer park their car at a station."
A DfT spokesman said "The decision has been taken to reject a TfL application to turn almost the entire car park next to Cockfosters station into housing. This will ensure residents can continue to have adequate parking facilities to access this vital station and the rest of the capital. We are committed to supporting Londoners return to the network, with close to £5 billion provided in emergency funding for TfL over the last two years."
Theresa Villiers' long running campaign on saving station car parks has involved a range of activities including petitions, rallies and a lobby of City Hall. She repeatedly urged transport Ministers to take action to protect these facilities. She has paid tribute today to the dedicated work of residents groups, such as CLARA, and local Conservative councillors, Felix Byers, Nicole Richer, Alex Georgiou and Ed Smith in securing this outcome.