Residents voice concerns over proposals to redevelop Little Gearies in Barkingside as consultation deadline looms

A number of residents have raised concerns over plans to build 103 new homes in Little Gearies, Barkingside, as the...

A number of residents have raised concerns over plans to build 103 new homes in Little Gearies, Barkingside, as the consultation deadline approaches on December 3. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

A number of concerned residents have spoken out about the plans to redevelop Barkingside’s Little Gearies estate as the consultation deadline approaches.

With the deadline for objections this Thursday (December 3), tenants from both the estate itself and its surrounding areas have contacted the Recorder regarding the development plans.

Fronted by Redbridge Council, the application — if successful — would see 103 new council homes on the estate with 11 existing units replaced.

Properties 73 to 83, just off Cranbrook Road, would be demolished, alongside a set of garages close to both that street and Kenwood Gardens.

Four and six-storey blocks would be built to accommodate the new homes.

A resident of one of the properties signalled for demolition — who wishes to remain anonymous — is very worried about what will happen to her as a private tenant if her property is demolished.

She is unable to work due to both physical and mental health issues, and has only left her home once since the start of lockdown for a dental appointment.

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When asked about its obligation to re-house private tenants, a spokesperson from Redbridge Council said: “The council has different obligations to private tenants of leaseholders than it does for its own council tenants, because the relationship is different. While it is true that statutory and policy requirements mean that we prioritise council tenants, there are also measures we take to support private tenants in this situation.

“This may mean working with the leaseholder to find an alternative private home for the tenant or working directly with the tenant to find an alternative suitable private rented home which the council may support with an incentive for the landlord. Ultimately, as a council, one of our key priorities is to end homelessness in our borough, therefore, we are absolutely committed to doing everything possible to ensure all our residents have a home.”

A resident of one of the properties not due for demolition also got in touch.

Usha Mohammed is fearful that the new builds will leave his flat “in darkness 24/7” and compound parking problems in the area.

He said: “How do the people responsible for the large development expect it to work, with 103 new families and cars too when we already have problems?”

Sue Grant from the nearby Sunnymede Drive also expressed reservations over the plans to build six-storey blocks, alongside questioning how local amenities will cope.

Citing the example of her own GP, the Eastern Avenue Practice on Cranbrook Road, Sue said: “They have a very big caseload of patients at the moment and you can never get through on the phone. I wonder how they will cope with the influx of new residents.”

Lawrence Kaizer believes he and his fellow Southwood Gardens residents were not adequately consulted on proposals which, if successful, will affect them.

He said: “The Townscape Character Assessment omitted views from Southwood Gardens where our properties will be overlooked and would show clear sightlines when the trees are not in leaf from the proposed windows and balconies on the sides of the six-storey buildings.”

Lawrence added that this assessment focused on streets such as Cranbrook Road, Kenwood Gardens and Bute Road which he argued will be less affected than his.

He also echoed the above concerns over sunlight and parking.

In response to these concerns, the council spokesperson said: “The planning application for this development is currently being assessed by council planning officers, therefore, it would not be appropriate to comment on any material planning considerations at this stage because it would undermine the integrity of the planning process. However, it is our statutory responsibility to ensure all relevant planning considerations are assessed and considered before making a judgement.”

If successful, the development would take place in two phases to begin in March 2021. Phase one would see the garages demolished and replaced by a new street block, behind which would be three new terraces near Cranbrook Road.

The second phase would see the properties demolished and replaced by a second street block, behind which would be another terrace close to the same road.

Have your say by December 3.

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