Developers deny they will ‘abandon Ilford’

PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 April 2016 | UPDATED: 16:23 28 April 2016

Mock-up images of the proposed Sainsbury's development in Roden Street, Ilford. Picture: Sainsbury's

Mock-up images of the proposed Sainsbury's development in Roden Street, Ilford. Picture: Sainsbury's


Developers have rejected suggestions they plan to “abandon Ilford” after Redbridge’s Conservative leader claimed regeneration projects could be pulled due to affordable housing quotas.

On Tuesday, Cllr Paul Canal published a statement alleging Sainsbury’s was to scrap plans to build 700 homes on its Roden Street store and said proposals to build 200 flats above The Exchange shopping centre were also under threat.

He also claimed a project to renovate the Harrison Gibson building, High Road, was “on the brink of failure”.

Cllr Canal blamed the council’s target of 30 per cent affordable housing in the developments, describing it as “bloody mindedness” and “economic naivety”.

But Labour council leader Cllr Jas Athwal denied the projects were on the rocks and accused Cllr Canal of playing “political football”.

“If we set a target of 30pc affordable housing, we cannot accept plans that are significantly under that figure. It sets a bad precedent,” he said.

Two of the projects’ developers told the Recorder plans were still going ahead. A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “We are still in ongoing conversations with Redbridge Council about the affordable provision for the development.

“We have been doing business in Ilford for over 100 years and remain committed to delivering a scheme that would provide significant employment and regeneration benefits locally.”

A spokesman for Lumina, which is regenerating the Harrison Gibson site, said: “This is not true.

“At present, the project team is working up the draft proposal, which will be subject to public consultation in due course, and before a planning application is submitted to the London borough of Redbridge.”

Meyer Bergman – developers of The Exchange – declined to comment. The company pulled out of a meeting last week – expected to decide the future of the project – at the last minute, due to “technical issues”, but a council spokesman said he is confident it will go ahead soon.

“The council is continuing to engage with the developers and both applications are expected to be brought forward for consideration by its regulatory committee in the near future,” he told the Recorder.

He said the Harrison Gibson scheme was at an earlier stage, but “council officers are working closely with the applicants to help bring this forward”.

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