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Woodford residents push council to prevent building work at WW1 memorial

PUBLISHED: 17:00 13 May 2020

Woodford residents pressured Redbridge Council to issue a stop order to works being done at one of the oldest buildings in the conservation area. Picture: Julie Pearce

Woodford residents pressured Redbridge Council to issue a stop order to works being done at one of the oldest buildings in the conservation area. Picture: Julie Pearce

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Woodford Bridge residents are celebrating after Redbridge Council was forced to back track and act to protect the Village Rest, a local landmark and site of a First World War memorial.

The Village Cafe as it originally looked is now the site of a First World War memorial. Picture: Paul CanalThe Village Cafe as it originally looked is now the site of a First World War memorial. Picture: Paul Canal

Residents were furious that builders were carrying out demolition and rebuilding work at the site in Chigwell Road in the Woodford Bridge conservation area despite not having planning permission.

The builder said he has submitted a planning application and the only work which is being done now is to secure the site to prevent squatters from entering the building.

He said there are two builders on site who are working at least eight to ten metres apart from each other to comply with social distancing guidelines and the work should be completed tomorrow (Thursday, May 14).

Residents tried for weeks to get the council to take action against the illegal building work. Picture: Julie PearceResidents tried for weeks to get the council to take action against the illegal building work. Picture: Julie Pearce

The council issued a stop order at the site six years ago and plans to create a tent and timber deck in the rear garden were denied in December 2016.

Residents complained when the building work started up in the past few weeks and the council initially did nothing.

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Last week Cllr Paul Canal requested a formal review of the refusal to issue a stop notice and after the Recorder enquired the council reversed course and put in a temporary stop notice on Monday. May 11.

A Redbridge Council spokesman said the owners have stopped work and the site will be sealed off.

“The Temporary Stop Notice lasts for 28 days and will be extended if necessary.

“Should the owners decide to breach this notice, the council can escalate the matter.”

Cllr Canal said the Village Rest, one of the oldest buildings in the Woodford area, “deserves the highest level of protection we can provide” and thanked the 300 people who signed a petition with their support.

Residents Julie and Richard Pearce wrote to council leader Jas Athwal on Monday before the building works were halted pleading for him to intervene.

In their letter they said: “Why when Cllr Paul Canal contacted the Building Enforcement Officers, did they decide on a visit to the site, to allow the building works to carry on?”


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