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South Woodford landmark flats plan will ‘desecrate a historic community’

PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 October 2016 | UPDATED: 12:00 27 October 2016

Woodford Green MP Iain Duncan Smith, centre, with Cllr Emma Best and members of the South Woodford Society, protesting against plans for a contemporary landmark in the centre of South Woodford.

Woodford Green MP Iain Duncan Smith, centre, with Cllr Emma Best and members of the South Woodford Society, protesting against plans for a contemporary landmark in the centre of South Woodford.

Archant

Activists have claimed a 120 flat housing development will “desecrate a historic community” and damage local businesses.

The South Woodford Society, ward councillors and Iain Duncan Smith MP are campaigning against Redbridge Council’s proposal to build a high density “contemporary landmark” in Eastwood Close, South Woodford.

The small trading estate off George Lane is home to a three story red brick building, containing several companies, a nursery and The Shrubberies business park.

The council owns some of the land, and as part of the borough-wide Local Plan has earmarked the site for “a contemporary landmark” of approximately 120 homes.

Nicky Tranmer, chairwoman of the South Woodford Society, said: “We are not against development, doing nothing in terms of housing is not an option, we are just against this kind of development.

“We don’t want high density tower blocks in the middle of South Woodford.”

Mrs Tranmer explained the society had made representations asking for a pocket park and a community centre to be integrated with the flats, but thought it was unlikely to be successful.

She said she was concerned the small businesses in The Shrubberies would not be able to afford the new commercial space promised by the council.

“We don’t want South Woodford to become a ghost town,” Mrs Tranmer added.

“This is affordable business space, who knows how much the developer will charge.”

The Local Plan specifies the landmark will include commercial space.

Chingford and Woodford Green MP Iain Duncan Smith told the Recorder the development had “to work for the whole community”.

“The council just sees money, that’s all they see,” he said.

“We will work together on this. I will write to the council calling for a better deal that benefits the community.”

Society committee member Rena Pathak said: “South Woodford was here before us and it will still be here after us. We must not desecrate a historic community.”

A Redbridge Council spokeswoman said: “The Station Estate site has long been earmarked for potential mixed use development.

“The draft Local Plan aims to locate new homes in the most accessible locations, such as South Woodford, which are in close proximity to key transport routes and other services.”

She added that any application would have to go through the normal planning process.


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