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Yay or nay?: Will a 42-storey tower be built in Ilford? Councillors decide on Thursday

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 July 2019

Do you like the plans for the former Bodgers site? Picture: Polity

Do you like the plans for the former Bodgers site? Picture: Polity

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Will a 42 storey tower be built in Ilford? The fate of the former Bodgers site will be decided by a group of councillors next week.

Plans for the Bodgers site. Picture: PolityPlans for the Bodgers site. Picture: Polity

On Thursday, July 18, members of Redbridge Council's planning committee will decide if access self-storage will get the go-ahead to demolish the former shop in Station Road, and build a 380-apartment development.

It will also discuss a planning application for 144 flats at the former Recorder building in High Road, Ilford, which was bought by the same company.

Bodgers held a big sale before it closed down. Picture: Ken MearsBodgers held a big sale before it closed down. Picture: Ken Mears

Speaking to the Recorder previously, Access Self Storage head of development, Jonathan Stevenson said the projects are long-term investments.

"I hope they can really help Ilford," he said. 
"I say that hand on heart - we are not looking to develop them quickly and turn them around for profit, we will be here for a long time.

The view from Cranbrook Road. Picture: PolityThe view from Cranbrook Road. Picture: Polity

"We know there is a real need for housing in Ilford and we are really excited about the development."

The Bodgers site will comprise of studio, one and two bedroom, privately rented apartments and is targeted at young professionals.

The Recorder site will be "100per cent affordable" and lends itself to family-sized housing and play space.

"Across the two sites, 35pc affordable housing is provided and this exceeds what has been achieved in recent developments in Ilford," he added.

Historic images of the Bodgers store. Picture: Ceidog CommunicationsHistoric images of the Bodgers store. Picture: Ceidog Communications

Residents have raised opposition to the proposal and campaigner Paul Scott has created a petition against the scheme.

"It's creating a ghetto of classes, you are housing all the social housing in the Recorder building and all the professionals in the tower by the station."

Historic images of the Bodgers store. Picture: Ceidog CommunicationsHistoric images of the Bodgers store. Picture: Ceidog Communications

He is urging like-minded individuals to sign his petition (change.org/p/london-borough-of-redbridge-save-bodgers-site-ilford) or get in contact if they would like to get involved in his anti-tower movement.

In January, Network rail also raised "major safety concerns" about the build.

Hundreds queued for the Bodgers closing down sale on Tuesday, November 14. Picture: Dharam SahdevHundreds queued for the Bodgers closing down sale on Tuesday, November 14. Picture: Dharam Sahdev

As well as worries about the weight of the proposed development on the train bridge in Station Road, Ilford, the company said the electromagnetic fields produced by its overhead electric line must be risk assessed to ensure residents are not adversely affected.

Network Rail also flagged up a whole host of other potential operational issues if Bodgers is demolished and highlighted the risk of balconies being built above a live track in a statement sent to Redbridge Council's planning department on January 16, 2019.

"Any lighting associated with the development (including vehicle lights) must not interfere with the sighting of signalling apparatus and/or train driver vision on approaching rains," said a Network Rail, town planning technician.

"The location and colour of lights must not give rise to the potential for confusion with the signalling arrangements on the railway."

Bodgers Tower. Picture: PolityBodgers Tower. Picture: Polity

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The Met Police also gave feedback and said they could not support the plans without "further dialogue".

However, Pc Ruari Robertson did provide a list of thinking points for the developers to consider.

"We recommend that the planting and street furniture installed around the site does not compromise the natural and informal surveillance that is available," he said.

"Furthermore it should not be of a design that could promote anti-social behaviour or its use as a place of concealment for drugs or weapons.

"We recommend that the proposed brick relief is designed in such a way that it does not form a climbing/scaling aid to the face of the building".

The Greater London Authority (GLA) also previously gave feedback about the tower and raised concerns that more than 120 construction vehicles may need to access the former Bodgers site daily to build the complex.

The proposals for the Station Road site would result in blocking pedestrian access on the northern footway for three years which is not acceptable," said GLA chief planner Juliemma McLoughlin.

"Furthermore the construction management plan does not sufficiently address the construction logistics management for the site which will involve up to 124 vehicles a day going in or out of the site.

"No swept path analysis or any detailed analysis on construction vehicle accessibility has been undertaken - these matters should be addressed."

Giving feedback on the application the GLA warned Redbridge Council that it must consult with the Mayor of London before granting planning permission.

"The mayor considers that the application does not comply with the London Plan and draft London plan," she added.

"If your council subsequently resolves to make a draft decision on the application it must consult the mayor again."

A spokesman for applicant Access Self Storage said: "The GLA's letter, which is an early Stage 1 response, is entirely expected and very consistent with the authority's responses on major schemes of this kind.

"It's important to note that on key matters of principle, the GLA is expressing support.

"The letter indicates that the residential-led development of both sites (Bodgers and the Recorder's former offices Media House) is supported and that there are no in-principle concerns with the proposed heights of the buildings at both sites.

"We are engaged in a positive dialogue with the GLA and we fully expect to address the detailed matters raised on affordable housing, design, energy and transport."

Not all residents are against the plans and in a Recorder poll just under half said they are happy for the former shop to be converted into flats with a commercial unit at the bottom.

The meeting will take place at 6.30pm at Redbridge Town Hall.

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