Redbridge set to build 16,845 new homes by 2030 as Local Plan approved by government inspector

Redbridge Townhall.

Redbridge Townhall. - Credit: Archant

Plans to build a minimum of 16,845 new homes in Redbridge by 2030 have been approved by a government inspector.

After 11 months of examination, inspector David Smith deemed Redbridge Council’s Local Plan “sound” on January 24.

The plan sets out the council’s policies for building new homes, shops, leisure facilities and infrastructure across the borough, amongst other areas, over the next 12 years.

But Mr Smith’s rating is conditional on the council adopting 77 “main modifications,” detailed in a 93-page report.

A final draft of the Local Plan will be formally adopted at a full council meeting on March 15.

“The council endorses the inspector’s conclusion,” a council spokeswoman said.

The housing target, which amounts to an average of 1,123 homes being built a year since 2015, was set by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

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However, the target could change under Mr Khan’s London Plan, which was published for consultation in December 2017.

Since the final version of this is some way off, Redbridge’s final housing target has not offically been settled.

But with “too much uncertainty about [the London Plan] and the implications of Brexit,” the inspector has deemed the council’s housing target justified.

This target still falls 1,000 homes short of the borough’s actual housing needs as estimated in an assessment of Redbridge by a social research firm in 2016.

The report also recommends that the council increase its target to provide additional affordable housing by 5 percent to 35pc.

This means that the council will have to aim to provide a minimum of 393 affordable homes each year on average until 2030, up from 366.

But this falls short of the 833 affordable homes needed each year over until 2030 in the same housing market assessment.

The inspector’s report also recommends that Oakfields and Ford playing fields be removed from the plan’s strategic housing allocation.

This follows on from a planning inspectorate decision last October against council plans to build 850 homes on the site’s 21 football pitches and 9 cricket squares in Fencepiece Road, Barkingside.

The decision came to the delight of many councillors, dedicated campaigners and sports organisations, including West Ham legend Sir Trevor Brooking, who opposed the plans.

The Local Plan also lays out a series of measures to boost the number of homes, jobs and retail and employment floor space in five “investment and growth areas.”

These areas are Ilford town centre; the Crossrail corridor, encompassing Newbury Park, Seven Kings, Chadwell Heath and Goodmayes; Gants Hill; South Woodford and Barkingside.

In Ilford town centre, the inspector has recommended creating a “cultural quarter” - with “civic, leisure and retail uses” - and a “health hub.”

These investments, among others, aim to create 3,000 jobs by the 2030.

The target for creating new homes within the Crossrail corridor has been boosted by 150 to 4,850, while in South Woodford the target has been reduced to 430.

All local authorities are required to create a 15 year Local Plan detailing how future development across Redbridge will look.

A six-week public consultation on the plan for residents to give their views was held in July and August 2016.

The council then submitted the Local Plan for review to the secretary of state for independent examination in March last year.

Over three examinations hearings between June and July 2017, the plans were examined by Mr Smith to determine if the plan was sound.

But resident’s group Neighbourhoods of Ilford South Engage feel their views have not been adequately considered.

“We are disappointed but not surprised by this decision,” said the group’s spokeswoman Meenakshi Sharma.

“There has been an insufficiently rigorous approach and an insufficiently open mind.

“In light of this, should this plan be adopted by the Council, we will be taking it to judicial review.”

Read the inspectors report on the local plan here.