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'We will not be silenced' - Tesco Goodmayes campaigners question supermarket boss on plans for flats

PUBLISHED: 17:00 14 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:02 14 June 2019

Habiba Alli and another campaigner outside Tesco in Goodmayes. Picture: Habiba Alli

Habiba Alli and another campaigner outside Tesco in Goodmayes. Picture: Habiba Alli

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Campaigners have stepped up their fight to stop a supermarket site being redeveloped to house 1,360 flats and a school.

Campaigners outside Tesco Goodmayes on June 11. Picture: Habiba AlliCampaigners outside Tesco Goodmayes on June 11. Picture: Habiba Alli

Developer Weston Homes is yet to submit a full planning application for the development at Tesco in Goodmayes, but the initial plans include a mixture of one, two and three-bedroom homes, along with a new primary school and an underground car park with up to 600 spaces.

Opponents have warned the plans will lead to overstretched healthcare facilities, increased traffic and overpopulation.

Campaigners from Reclaim Redbridge, a group set up to oppose the plans, attended the company's annual general meeting on Thursday (June 13) to ask a question to the chief executive.

The group asked: "Do Tesco believe creating such densely populated sub-communities in areas which are already over-populated is a good idea, especially because of lack of infrastructure?"

Children also joined the protest ouside Tesco Goodmayes on June 11. Picture: Habiba AlliChildren also joined the protest ouside Tesco Goodmayes on June 11. Picture: Habiba Alli

The chief executive answered the question by directing the group to Redbridge Council.

One campaigner, Habiba Alli, 34, of Chadwell Heath, who was at the meeting, said: "We are trying to get some answers. Why are they passing the buck?"

The full planning application is due to be submitted at the end of July, Tesco bosses said at the meeting.

It is understood that the supermarket has been identified as an opportunity site by Redbridge Council.

Campaigners outside Tesco Goodmayes on June 11. Picture: Habiba AlliCampaigners outside Tesco Goodmayes on June 11. Picture: Habiba Alli

But Habiba asked: "Why are the council allowing Tesco to build here? Yes, there is a need for housing, but why is Ilford South taking 1,400 new homes and nowhere else is taking it?

"I can tell you why - because they are expecting us not to have a voice in this area.

"We have had to put up with this for too long. There is growing concern in the community. People are growing angry and there is a lot of rage about the uneven distribution of housing in the borough.

"We are the ones taking the brunt of housing in the Crossrail corridor."

Some 40 campaigners turned out to a photo call on Tuesday (June 11) and Habiba said this is just the start of their campaign.

"We are not a marginal community of idiots," she said. "We are not going to be pushed into having all this regeneration.

"They want to silence us. We have been forgotten for a long time."

A spokesman for Redbridge Council said: "Weston Homes have submitted a pre-application to the council which many developers and applicants use to help inform a formal planning application.

"This stage is still open and has not been concluded and should a formal submission of a planning application be made, lengthy engagement with residents and key stakeholders will take place to ensure they are fully consulted.

"The council are aware residents will have concerns on a proposal of this size so we would encourage local residents to participate fully with Weston's engagement programme to ensure their views are taken into account."

A Tesco spokesman told the Recorder: "We're excited to be working with Weston Homes as they continue to engage with the local community on their proposals for our Goodmayes site, which will include a brand new Tesco store for our customers."

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