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Longer read: Ilford campaign group hires legal firm to fight Redbridge Council’s housing plans

PUBLISHED: 10:47 13 November 2017

Meenakshi Sharma, 2nd from left with protestors over the planned development of Sainsbury's in Ilford Town Centre. Picture Ken Mears

Meenakshi Sharma, 2nd from left with protestors over the planned development of Sainsbury's in Ilford Town Centre. Picture Ken Mears

Archant

A campaign group has recruited a legal firm to challenge the Local Plan, should Redbridge Council approve it.

The Local Plan sets out planning policies until 2030 and identifies which land can be used for housing.

Neighbourhoods of Ilford South Engage (Noise) believes too many developments are earmarked for the south of the borough, and is planning a protest outside Redbridge Town Hall.

The council says the proposals are balanced, and added that there has been consultations on the Local Plan since 2011.

A spokeswoman for Noise, Meenakshi Sharma, said the Redbridge Local Plan is going through a final consultation on the modifications made by the inspection process.

“This has confirmed that the vast majority of the housing units in the plan have been placed in Ilford South, at least 12,000 out of the 17,000, nearly all of them in the form of high-rise flats,” she said.

“Many more units from the nearly 3,000 so-called ‘windfall’ will probably end up in Ilford South too.”

Noise took part in the inspection process but felt its points were not heard.

“It appears to us that the people who live in Ilford South are treated as second-class citizens,” she told the Recorder.

“They are a good source for council tax to fund the rest of the borough but it appears that their well-being and quality of life is dispensable.

“That is why we will be taking this plan to judicial review if the council accepts it – we have a legal firm who are currently defending Haringey residents in a similar case who are willing to support us and we are starting to crowdfund for this.”

Noise says that the Local Plan will increase the disparity between the south and west of the borough.

Ms Sharma added: “The plan seeks to demolish huge areas of so called ‘brownfield’ land.

“It is reminiscent of the destruction and social cleansing of the council estates in inner London, but Redbridge doesn’t have many council estates, so instead they are choosing to destroy something else.

“Look at Raphael House, Icon Tower, Pioneer Point – are these really the ground floor uses we want – more tuition centres, estate agents, council departments, derelict areas?”

“The plan has maximised densities in Ilford South using mechanistic formulas, without any thought for the context and character of the area and robotically refers to high public transport accessibility level neglecting to see the overcrowding on our transport networks.

“The plan makers say that Crossrail will cure all our ills.”

Noise is inviting residents to join them outside the town hall on Thursday (November 16) or donate to the legal crowdfunding appeal.

Cllr Helen Coomb, cabinet member for regeneration, property and planning said the plan is a positive strategy seeking to respond to the changes and challenges taking place in the borough, and more widely in London.

“It is about providing housing, jobs and supporting social infrastructure to meet the borough’s needs- recognising in particular that historically the council has not been delivering enough housing over the last 10 years,” she said.

“The plan takes a balanced approach to promoting sustainable growth in a way compatible with the specific context, constraints and opportunities of Redbridge.”

“Ongoing engagement and consultation in 2011, 2013 and 2014 involving local people, businesses, community groups and external stakeholder has informed the approach to key issues and policies which underpin the Redbridge Local Plan.”

Cllr Coomb said that a final consultation ran for nine weeks, rather than the statutory six week period in 2016 in order to maximise opportunities for stakeholders to comment which generated 9810 individual comments.

“It is important for the borough to have an up-to-date planning framework against which the aspirations of the council can be delivered – to tackle inequalities, deliver sustainable growth and protect the character of established residential neighbourhoods.”

Modifications to the Local Plan are being consulted on and residents have until November 27 to respond.

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