Campaigner on Ilford regeneration: We don’t want to be a dumping ground
PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 July 2016
Campaigners against high-rise development in the south of the borough have called for more “creative solutions” to tackle the housing shortage.
Noise (Neighbourhoods of Ilford South Engage) made a deputation at last week’s full council meeting, insisting the town centre “doesn’t need 30-storey tower blocks”.
At the meeting in Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford, Cllr Ross Hatfull, cabinet member for civic pride, asked the speaker Meenakshi Sharma if she agreed Ilford town centre was “becoming a dump filled with chicken shops, bookies and shisha bars”.
The campaign group said it opposed plans for high-rise developments before defending the area following Cllr Hatfull’s question.
Ms Sharma told the chamber: “There’s lots of activity in the town centre – there’s lots going on, it doesn’t need regeneration – whatever that word means. Yes, more investment, some planning, but it doesn’t need 30-storey tower blocks.”
After the meeting, Cllr Hatfull defended his comments and said he was trying to highlight that the local plan was not just about development.
“It does a lot of good things. There’s a lot that restricts takeaways opening near schools.
“We’re also trying to point out we can’t live in a world where there’s no development.”
He said the Local Development Framework, which forecasts how the borough will be developed until 2030, was about meeting housing targets and seeing the town centre “developed to its potential”.
He said: “If you’re not prepared to embrace some redevelopment, an area will just decline. We believe there are many avenues and opportunities with Crossrail coming in too.”
Cllr Hatfull said the council had “no choice” but to allow development in the south.
“We want a Redbridge where people who have grown up here have the housing they can afford,” he said.
Campaigners remained sceptical about the effect on infrastructure.
“It’s ridiculous in a very congested area,” said Ms Sharma. “This is destroying our area – we don’t want to be a dumping ground. We need more creative solutions to this.”