Homes approved for old Ilford school site

Former Hyleford School

The plan is to build 159 homes on the former Hyleford School site off Loxford Lane. - Credit: Google

Redbridge councillors have allowed the council’s own building company to build on a former school despite residents’ concerns about parking.

The planning committee deferred making a decision in October  on plans to build 159 homes on the former Hyleford School site off Loxford Lane, Ilford, after arguing late into the night.

Some councillors felt offering 35 per cent affordable homes, the minimum target in the council’s local plan and below the London-wide target, on a council-led development was unacceptable.

But the committee has now voted for it in accordance with officers’ recommendation.

Speaking at the meeting, resident Shakher Patel insisted the area “cannot cope” with the hundreds of new residents the scheme would bring.

He criticised a traffic survey, which concluded there was enough parking in surrounding streets for extra cars that could not fit in the scheme’s car park.

He said: “All these roads are covered in cars. A lot of houses have driveways but there’s still cars parked all the way down the road.

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“I do not think your traffic review has been done fairly. Redbridge are the developers here and the traffic review was done by Redbridge.

“You’re putting more than 600 people on this site but you’re telling me that’s only going to cause one extra car on the road? That’s unbelievable. 

“If this was an external developer, this would have been kicked out ages ago.”

There were 53 written objections to the plans, including from neighbouring Loxford School.

Cllr Shamshia Ali (Lab, Cranbrook) responded: “The difficulty is, we do have a (housing) shortage and where do you put developments? It does not matter where you put them, there’s always going to be issues.”

Cllr Vanisha Solanki (Lab, Fullwell) noted it was “great that we are making 35 per cent affordable housing on this scheme” but asked why it could not be more.

Cllr Paul Canal (Con, Bridge), who previously claimed this figure was “not only unacceptable” but “scandalous”, did not comment on affordable housing during the discussion.

David Mabb, associate at Montague Evans, speaking for the applicant, said the developer had shown this was the “maximum amount” it could offer in its viability assessment, reviewed by the Greater London Authority and an independent company.

He added it was necessary to include more market-rate homes because the affordable housing provided is all to rent or “community land trust” (CLT) units, which are less profitable.

The 21 CLT homes will be for sale at a price that reflects average local wages and run by a trust that ensures they remain affordable for locals when they are resold in future.

Mr Patel also contested the claim residents were properly consulted, including through the delivery of almost 7,000 leaflets, insisting many people he knew had not received anything.

The application was approved with an almost unanimous vote, with the committee’s two Conservative councillors – Cllr Canal and Cllr Michael Duffell (Con, South Woodford) – voting against.

The committee also agreed to the revised minutes for their meeting on November 19, where an application to build homes on the car park at Mont Rose College was rejected.

The new minutes now state that one of three reasons councillors chose to reject the application was because of the possible “detrimental impact” on disabled students.

This concern was left out of the original minutes, to the anger of almost all committee members, after head of planning Brett Leahy insisted it was not a “worthwhile” reason.

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