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Bodgers could become ‘tallest tower block in Ilford’ after developers speak to Redbridge Council

PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 March 2018

New York skyline. Picture: Ellena Cruse

New York skyline. Picture: Ellena Cruse

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Bodgers could be turned into a 30-plus storey tower of flats with commercial units at the bottom after Redbridge Council confirmed it is in talks with developers about a mixed-use property on the site.

A tall building in the big apple. Picture: Ellena CruseA tall building in the big apple. Picture: Ellena Cruse

Labour councillor Khayer Chowdhury has big ambitions for the town centre and said he wants Ilford to become a mini-Manhattan, and the economic heart of the borough.

“For too long, Ilford has been left behind and its economy has become stagnant,” he said.

“The council has embarked on an ambitious programme to build thousands of new homes and create hundreds of new jobs in the town centre.”

“Ilford is rising and we should be proud of that.”

No planning permission has been submitted for the Bodgers site but a council spokesman said it is in discussions about a retail/restaurant ground floor with homes above and is looking at whether a height like Pioneer Point would be feasible.

“The town centre is the right place for tall buildings to attract economic growth, investment and jobs,” added Councillor Chowdhury.

“When the iconic trams of Ilford went 80ish years ago there was opposition and change can be scary but we have an opportunity to really see the town flourish.”

Leader of the Conservatives, Cllr Paul Canal said Ilford is on the cusp of a bright future and residents should be involved in the decision-making process.

“Bodgers tower could be the tallest tower block in Ilford,” he said.

“It is absolutely vital that the people of Ilford help to shape the future and destiny of the town.

“We don’t want Ilford turning into Dubai.

“I don’t agree with Councillor Chowdhury’s vision for Ilford.”

Premier Inn is also eyeing up locations in the town centre with a spokesman for the group adding: “Ilford is an exciting market for us and we are actively looking at opportunities in the area, however, we have no concrete plans at the moment.”

The skyline of Ilford could resemble the silhouette of New York in a few years time, but leader of the council, Councillor Jas Athwal said any development in the borough would have to go through a planning committee process.

“It’s sad that Bodger’s has closed, and we want to make sure that the right building for the town centre is put in its place, whatever that might be,” he said.

“This includes appropriate provision for social and affordable housing for our residents.”

Local campaigner Paul Scott thinks the former Bodgers site should be kept primarily for retail.

“We may well need housing but we need it evenly spaced across the borough and all the infrastructure to go with it.

“The greatest demand is for family housing and a town centre location should be for retail and leisure.”

“The Bodgers building has been part of Ilford for over a century – we don’t need a tower block it will not do anything for the area and contribute to congestion.”


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