March 13 2014 Latest news:
by Lizzie Dearden, Senior reporter
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Almost 100 people have called for a burnt-out convenience shop to be repaired and reopened after a devastating fire left an “eyesore”.
Londis in Shenfield Road, Woodford Green, has been derelict since the blaze spread through the flat above and destroyed part of the roof in June.
No one was injured but the shop was ruined by water used to douse the flames, which took almost three hours to put out.
It was expected to reopen after refurbishment work but the building remains empty and covered in scaffolding and plastic sheeting.
Tom McLaren, of the Church End Action Team, said the plastic is noisy and has been ripped off by the wind several times, landing in gardens and wrapping around telephone wires.
“We have spoken to residents that have serious health problems that have to take a taxi or drive to the supermarket just to get a newspaper or a bottle of milk.”
Residents believe the abandoned shop is attracting rats and rubbish was left outside the entrance until a complaint was lodged with Redbridge Council.
Emma Best, of the Action Team, said: “The site has been a disgrace, a real eyesore, so getting it cleaned up was a real win.
“This is a private business but it’s so embedded in the local area that it almost a community asset and residents are desperate to get it back open.”
Almost 100 people from roads surrounding the shop have signed an open letter to Londis asking the chain to commit to reopening the shop within a set time.
A Londis spokesman said repairs and reopening are down to the shop’s freeholder, who could not be contacted.