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Just under 700 new homes in Ilford may be given go-ahead despite previous criticism over lack of affordable housing

PUBLISHED: 18:52 16 October 2017 | UPDATED: 18:52 16 October 2017

Mock-up images of the proposed Sainsbury's development in Roden Street, Ilford. Picture: Sainsbury's

Mock-up images of the proposed Sainsbury's development in Roden Street, Ilford. Picture: Sainsbury's

Archant

Nearly 700 new homes in Ilford town centre may be given the green light - despite fury over the amount of affordable housing previously offered by the developers.

The proposed development by Sainsbury’s to build 683 new homes on Roden Street was refused permission in July last year after councillors criticised the developers for only offering four per cent affordable housing.

That would mean 14 one and two bedroom flats, 12 three bedrooms and a single four-bedroom home out of 683 homes would have been offered at an affordable rate.

Rents would be capped at 60 percent of the market rate for those 27 properties.

A council planning committee refused permission for the development by five to four votes, stating that the affordable housing quota was too low.

At the time, Councillor Lloyd Duddridge argued that approving the development would send the wrong message to developers in the future.

But ahead of the retailer’s public inquiry to reverse the decision, which begins tomorrow, Redbridge Council withdrew its opposition on Saturday.

A council spokesman confirmed that they no longer opposed the application.

He said: “The council has reached an agreement with Sainsbury’s which we believe will secure significantly more affordable housing than has previously been offered through their Ilford scheme.

“As our original refusal of the scheme was based on the lack of affordable housing offered, we have made the decision not to contest their appeal through the inquiry.”

Campaign group, Noise (Neighbourhoods of Ilford South Engage), which has criticised the application since the beginning, will still oppose the application.

It has been granted “group” status, which allows them to cross examine and call witnesses of their own at the eight-day hearing.

Alongside the issue surrounding affordable housing, members have raised concerns about transport, parking and density problems.

Meenakshi Sharma, of Noise, described the decision as “ridiculous.”

She said: “This application should never have got off the ground.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous. It just shouldn’t have.”

Ms Sharma, which will be representing Noise at the inquiry, expressed concern that the group was now the sole objector to the application.

She said: “We only learnt on Saturday that the council had withdrawn its application.

“We applied for an adjournment to the inquiry, as we would like more time to prepare now we are on our own, but this has been refused.

“We are all local people, some of us have jobs and some of us are retired.

“But we are going to do our best to represent the community tomorrow.”

The council spokesman added that Redbridge Council will attend the inquiry tomorrow to explain its new position.

“We believe that property values in Ilford will rise over the lifetime of the development with the opening of the Elizabeth Line, for example, and wider development of the town centre likely to support growth in house prices.

“Under the agreement reached with Sainsbury’s, we will now be able to share in the benefits of this growth to deliver more affordable housing - including additional provision on the development site.

“The council will be closely monitoring the progress of the development to ensure that the maximum amount of affordable housing is ultimately delivered.”

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said they looked forward to the outcome of the appeal.

He said: “Our plans will help kickstart Ilford’s future regeneration by driving growth and job creation, as well as provide a broad mix of housing for local people.”

The appeal will be heard between October 17 and 24 at 10am at City Gates Church, Clements Road, in Ilford, and the public can attend.

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