Redbridge population boom sparks concern over pressure on infrastructure

The population of Redbridge has rocketed by nearly 40,000 in the last 10 years – prompting worries that the infrastructure cannot cope.

Data from the 2011 census shows the borough’s population has soared by 15 per cent in the decade, to a record 279,000 people.

In a poll on the Recorder website, 88 per cent of respondents said the borough’s infrastructure “cannot cope” with pressure from the growing population.

Four per cent said there was pressure but services were adequate and eight per cent said there was no pressure.

The census figures are way above government estimates, which increased steadily through the 2000s (see graph).

The latest estimates predict the population of Redbridge to reach 327,000 by 2020.

Redbridge Council leader Keith Prince sees the rise as a “compliment” to the borough.

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He said: “I think it says all you need to know about Redbridge.

“It’s a great place to live but more importantly we’ve got some of the best schools in the country and that’s a magnet.

“Certainly the services are quipped to cope with the extra numbers and as far as housing goes, people are living here already.”

But Labour group leader Jas Athwal said he was concerned the council is not prepared for the boom.

He added: “We must make sure the supporting infrastructure is in place.

“We have housing targets to meet and I think there are certain parts of the borough that are over and under-developed.

“We haven’t been proactive, we’re reacting to the problems as and when they come.”

The council has laid out its plans for services and housing in the Local Development Framework.

The boom was seen in most London boroughs, excepting Kensington and Chelsea and the City of London.

Deputy council leader Ian Bond believes the rise is being caused by more children being born in the borough.

He said: “Clearly the population is rising very quickly and that’s a challenge we’re well aware of, especially with school places.”

The reason for the rise will not be known until the figures are broken down into more detail later this year.

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