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Campaigners worry South Woodford could become ‘ghost town’

PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 November 2016

Woodford Green MP Iain Duncan Smith, centre, with Cllr Emma Best and members of the South Woodford Society, protesting against plans for a contemporary landmark in the centre of South Woodford.

Woodford Green MP Iain Duncan Smith, centre, with Cllr Emma Best and members of the South Woodford Society, protesting against plans for a contemporary landmark in the centre of South Woodford.

Archant

A residents’ group is concerned Redbridge Council’s development proposals could push local businesses out of the town centre.

Part of the Local Plan – the council’s strategy for house building over the next 14 years – includes developing a “contemporary landmark” in the Station Estate, in South Woodford.

The road currently holds a business park, several offices and a children’s centre.

At a public meeting on Thursday members of the South Woodford Society said they were concerned these companies were being driven out by the development plans.

“It is certainly not the case we are driving businesses out, some of their leases are running out, but that’s different to us driving them out,” responded council leader Cllr Jas Athwal.

“We want retail and we want office space, we want people to shop and run businesses in the borough,” he told the large crowd in South Woodford Library, High Road.

“It would be foolish for us to get rid of businesses when the council will get most of its funding from business rates soon.

“We are trying to make a better tomorrow to support businesses and residents,” he added.

The Local Plan specifies the contemporary landmark will include business space, but the South Woodford Society is concerned this will be out of local companies’ price range.

Chairwoman Nicky Tranmer told the Recorder she was concerned the development could lead to South Woodford becoming “a ghost town”.

Woodford Green MP Iain Duncan Smith is backing the society, and said they would work together “to get a better deal for the community”.


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