Redbridge town centres ear-marked for development

�Investment in a town centre should be spent on a greater variety of shops, relaxation of parking restrictions and shop fronts, according to the chairman of a business partnership.

As part of Redbridge Council’s corporate strategy, which was approved by cabinet last week, South Woodford, Gants Hill and Barkingside town centres will all receive added investment over the next two years.

South Woodford, which along with the other town centre plans will go forward for public consultation early next year, has been highlighted as a retail services and transport hub.

Chairman of the South Woodford Business Partnership, Kerk Davies, said: “It would be great to see the council encourage a greater variety of retail types, possibly through financial incentives during start-up. “Residents are likely to request improvements to the underpass at the bottom of George Lane and also a relaxation of parking restrictions which are known to be fastidious due to the revenue raised.”

A number of potential development sites, including the large Dairy Crest site and Raven Road industrial area, have been suggested as possible locations for improvement with an emphasis on employment opportunities.

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Mr Davies added: “The environment could be enhanced by drawing more attention to the various green areas as well as shop front grants which would be popular.”

Major development has already begun on the Barnardo’s site, Barkingside and a funding bid has been secured for the development of a new town square.

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The Oakfields site, to the north of Barkingside town centre, has been highlighted as having potential for a new school and other community facilities.

Gants Hill was also recognised for its night time economy and the investment will seek to build on this.

A council spokesman said: “There are a number of initiatives that we are already trialling which we will consider introducing in South Woodford including setting up town teams.”

“It is important that the South Woodford Business Partnership has a key role in the development.”

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