Recorder letters: Social housing, Bodgers development, Wes Streeting and Rydale Centre
PUBLISHED: 12:30 28 July 2019
Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.
Vulnerable areas are 'picked on'
Meenakshi Sharma, Ilford Lives Matter, writes:
There is bullying going on in London at the moment, facilitated by the planning strategies of the GLA's London Plan and exemplified in the Redbridge Local Plan that Redbridge Council, Conservatives and Labour alike passed last year.
Vulnerable areas, like Ilford, are being picked on and buzz words, coined by the GLA, such as Opportunity Areas, Housing Zones and 'regeneration in areas close to transport hubs' are facilitating overdevelopment to a point of madness; plucking figures for housing units from a virtual reality world.
The demolition of a functioning town centre is being restyled as 'regeneration'.
The planning committee which looked at this application was very remiss in not mentioning two key problematic aspects of this scheme - density and affordable housing.
This lack of rigor in the scrutiny process does not inspire trust in the planning committee.
The density of this scheme would be 1,480 units per hectare compared to a London Plan guidance level of up to 405, which makes this three times denser.
But of course there is always some planning documentation the planning officers can cite to back up doing crazy things because, unbelievably, the London Plan states that if the design is wonderful, the density can be as high as developers want.
However, in reality, the Bodgers design is not wonderful at all and there are huge drawbacks to the scheme from: safety concerns; poor living conditions; issues of light; noise; pollution; overshadowing; wind-tunneling - but all problems somehow get mitigated by planning officers in this virtual reality world.
The housing crisis is given as the reason why such developments are so desirable.
But who is this housing going to be for?
The Bodgers scheme is a build to rent development, which results in flats being on average over 10per cent more expensive than rental properties nearby, requiring a substantial income to qualify as a tenant.
There is no affordable housing on the Bodgers site and even with the affordable housing at the Recorder House site, the 35pc target of the Redbridge Local Plan (RLP) is not reached - it is only 27pc by unit.
The split of tenure of this 27pc, as stated in policy LP3 of the RLP, should be 60pc social/affordable rent and 40pc intermediate.
However it is a 48pc social/affordable rent: 52pc intermediate split in this combined development.
All this mean less housing for people who are at the lower ends of the economic scale, the majority of local people.
These people end up being pushed out of the area or having to share expensive housing units leading to overcrowding.
Only 24 units out of over 500 are family affordable rent units, which is what we really need in this area.
Of course viability assessments confirm that this provision is the maximum viable.
Viability assessments always show that high rises cannot provide very much affordable housing yet that is the model being pursued.
Developers and councils like them because they benefit financially but at the expense of the residents.
GLA should reject development plans
Mr Paul Scott, Reclaim Redbridge, writes:
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I would like to say that the Greater London Authority should overturn Redbridge Council's decision to allow these developments due to the following valid reasons:
1. The plans do not contain nearly enough affordable social housing that is locally well needed.
2. Having structures of up to 42 and 13 storeys will also block the daylight for people in this neighbourhood.
3. We have already had enough high density developments in the London Borough of Redbridge.
4. Many other local residents in Ilford will be adversely affected by this proposal.
5. This plan will create more congestion and put a large strain on the local infrastructure within Ilford town centre.
6. Members of the increasingly influential Reclaim Redbridge Group also oppose these plans.
7. There is an online petition against the proposed developments on the change.org website with at least 100 signatures.
8. We are also aware of the potential health hazard of having large residential blocks next to busy and polluted roads.
9. Certain local traders oppose this plan due to the effect it will also have on their businesses.
10. After events such as Grenfell Tower planners ought to be very cautious about constructing more residential tower blocks.
MP missed chance to raise issues
R Carter, Hainault Farm Cottages, Hainault, writes:
On June 12, I was watching prime minister's questions, suddenly the name Wes Streeting was announced.
I thought he was going to mention the big fire in Barking, no; the very high crime rate in Ilford, no; maybe the closure of the Axe in Goodmayes, no; the haul road in Aldborough Hatch which AHDA have asked him to intervene over; all of these are very important points.
What we got was a ridiculous question concerning the Queen and parliament.
It was met by a deafening silence from both sides of the house until the prime minister rose and gave him the answer his question deserved.
He had every chance to help one of the above causes; no he decided to be a smart alec.
A very embarrassing episode, he needs to do better.
Shelter closure could be tragic
Wendy Taylor, Cowley Road, Ilford, writes:
It is great to see the arrival of the first container bringing the opening of Salvation Army's Project Malachi ever closer.
However there are over 70 or more street homeless people and this project only has 42 beds and will only cater for 15 people with no recourse to public funds when there are many more.
It has not even been confirmed that all beds will be allocated to rough sleepers and once it's opened the Rydale Shelter will close, putting rough sleepers back on the streets .
Three rough sleepers died recently showing that its' not just a winter issue, so we must call upon the council to commit to keeping the Rydale Shelter open and ensuring there is enough short and long-term provision with adequate moving on so this issue, which brings shame to the borough, is finally eradicated.