Island History

Enfield Island Village is an urban village on the boundaries of London, Hertfordshire and Essex bounded by rivers and canals. The Island is on the North Eastern boundary of the London Borough of Enfield in picturesque surroundings flanked by the River Lea and Lee Valley Park to the West/North West, Sewardstone Marsh and Epping Forest to the East.

Historically part of Essex, it became part of the London Borough of Enfield after the closure of the Royal Small Arms Factory at the end of the 1990’s. An estimated 3,000 people now live on the Island in over 1,300 private houses and flats and social housing.

Enfield Island Village was built on land previously occupied by the Royal Small Arms Factory. It is close to the borders of Essex and Hertfordshire and adjacent to the River Lee Navigation, River Lea, Cattlegate Flood Relief Channel, Newmans Weir to the north and open countryside, including Epping Forest.


The site was decommissioned by the MOD in 1984 and was sold to British Aerospace (BAe). BAe together with Trafalgar House launched a joint venture company- Lee Valley Developments (LVD). In 1996 the land was sold to the housing wing of Hillsdown Holdings, Fairview Homes.


The housing estate was built by Fairview New Homes between 1997-2003 on a 100-acre brown field site and comprises a mixture of housing ranging from one bed flats to 5 bed family homes. In line with national standards, 25% of the housing was designated as social housing, and some of the original buildings have been retained. The village has a central parkland area and a small shopping centre. The shops include a small supermarket, a pharmacy and a take away. The Island also has its own General Practitioner (GP), private fitness centre, and a new (2003) primary school - Keys Meadow in nearby Enfield Lock. A new library opened in 2008.


Like some of London's central areas and the Enfield Island's surrounding area, the Island is on a flood plain. However, the Environment Agency's assessment is that, even without the flood defences that surround the Island, there is little risk of serious flooding (0.1% or 1 in 1,000 years) compared to the surrounding area (0.5% or 1 in 200 years).


Riverside Gardens


The River Lea flows through the island. As a private development, residents are responsible for many aspects of life on the Island through the Enfield Island Village Trust. The Trust is responsible for the upkeep of common land, including the ornamental canal and parkland, utilities such as the waste water system, and for enforcing legal covenants covering the development.

There was a campaign against the development by Friends of the Earth and the Enfield Lock Action Group in the late 1990s. The campaign resulted in the Enfield RSAF (Royal Small Arms Factory) Review Panel being set up, informed by environmental reports carried out over ten years and including evidence from witnesses including the Head of Land Quality at the Environment Agency and a team of environmental consultants. The review concluded that the site was safe for development and that rumours of dangerous materials by campaigners were untrue.

Planning permission was granted for the development, supported by the European Union and by the Enfield Enterprise Agency. It was developed as a model brown field development, with a clay cap at a depth of one metre under the topsoil. Historically inspections have been completed every six months and have now been reduced to annual monitoring only.