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Is Ilford the new Los Angeles? One newspaper thinks so

PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 May 2017

The Guardian compared Ilford to Los Angeles at the weekend (credit: Josh Divney)

The Guardian compared Ilford to Los Angeles at the weekend (credit: Josh Divney)

Josh Divney

Our tallest building is Pioneer Point and the town isn’t home to thousands of film stars but Ilford has a lot of great points.

In The Guardian at the weekend, residents may been surprised to see journalist Tom Dyckhoff compare Ilford to celebrity hotspot Los Angeles. He said:

In his regular column “Let’s Move To...”, which is a mini guide brochure to their featured town, the journalist cast his eye over Ilford this week.

He said: “Ilford’s attraction is not immediate.

“I rise past it most weeks on the North Circular; you might be in any outer London suburb, Kingston or Kingsbury, Bromley or Barnet.

“If you squint hard (health and safety warning: not when you’re driving), you could even be in Los Angeles. Maybe. Look, Ilford has its moments.”

Highlights, according to Mr Dyckhoff, include “green pockets such as Valentines Park, ace south Asian grocers and Turkish grills” and bakers Percy Ingle.

He also said that the popular town centre was “not a beauty”, adding “It’s as if a giant toddler tipped out its building blocks on to the Essex borders.”

Whilst we might not have a walk of fame in Ilford yet, there certainly are enough big names from the borough to get one started.

Celebrities such as actress Maggie Smith, comedian Simon Amstell, and TV entertainer Noel Edmonds all started here.

Now, the imminent arrival of Crossrail has sparked a flurry of funding for the town centre.

A four-foot green wall filled with flowers is set to brighten up the town centre, next to Redbridge Town Hall, and a steady influx of popular chains, including Starbucks, have recently opened.

The multimillion project to improve the town centre is set to take place over eight phases and work should be finished by July.

Cllr Jas Athwal, head of Redbridge Council, said Ilford’s connections will be “incredible”, thanks to Crossrail.

He said: “The vision for the future of Ilford includes a leisure complex, a better range of shops and night-time economy.

“But these improvements are not just for people interested in moving to Ilford, it’s got to be for the people already here.”

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