Campaigners go to Downing Street over “Toxic Tesco” housing plan in Goodmayes

A letter objecting to a 1,200-home development on a Tesco Extra site in Goodmayes was hand-delivered to Downing Street on Monday.

The development, approved in May last year, will contain a total of 1,280 new homes in towers up to 23 storeys high at the site in Chadwell Heath High Road.

The letter, addressed to the prime minister, was signed and hand delivered by a coalition of representatives from four local political parties, Redbridge Trades Union Council and campaigner Andy Walker.

It cites concerns that the development, dubbed the ‘Tesco Toxic Towers’, is on a road so polluted that some flats will need mechanical ventilation and children in the planned on-site school will be at risk.

The letter reads: “This is unacceptable and we ask you to look into this development and, at the very least, recommend moving the school and affordable housing into an area at the site with lower pollution levels.

“There should not be the need for legal action to remedy this obvious oversight, which risks children’s health.”

A crowdfunded application to challenge the council’s decision to approve the plans in the High Court, organised by Andy, took a blow earlier this month as a judge rejected the arguments about the danger of pollution as having “no arguable merit”.

Despite this, Andy told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) he is “confident” that the case will have a full hearing in court in the near future once the legal arguments of the challenge are changed.

The judge is also expected to rule on Redbridge Council and developer Weston Homes’ application for Andy to face unlimited costs if he loses the challenge.

At the time of publication, 135 members of public have donated £6,705 towards his legal costs.

Those who attended Downing Street to hand in the letter included Ilford South Lib Dem member Ashburn Holder, the Green Party’s RoseMary Warrington and Redbridge Trade Union Council member Bob Archer.

Conservative London Assembly member for Havering and Redbridge, Keith Prince, told the LDRS that residents are “not happy” about the development.

He added: “I can see why they have chosen that site for development and suspect that, if done in moderation, the developer could come up with something acceptable.

“At the moment it’s far too dense and I’m not satisfied with the transport aspects.

“It’s always been a very poor junction there anyway, an increase in traffic would make it worse in pollution.”

Redbridge Council was approached for comment but had not responded at the time of publication.

To donate to the legal challenge, visit: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/stop-the-tesco-toxic-towers/

*

A spokesperson for Redbridge Council initially suggested they would not comment.

However, after publication they said their responsibility as a planning authority is to determine each application “on its details and merits” and pointed out that both the Mayor of London and the Secretary of State declined to call in the application.

They added: “The planning permission is currently the subject of an application for a Judicial Review in the High Court.

“Whilst the court refused the initial application, a date for an oral hearing of a renewed application will be set by the court in due course.

“It is important to stress that it was Mr Walker who decided to pursue legal action, which he subsequently lost, following a decision of the court.

“In this case, we did not apply for unlimited costs; instead, we requested that the court assess costs in the usual way, based on the financial statements submitted by Mr Walker in support of his application for a Protective Costs Order (PCO).

“Mr Walker’s application for a PCO was granted by the court on 3 October 2022, limiting his exposure to legal costs to the sum of £5,000.

“As a public body responsible for taxpayers’ money, we have a responsibility to seek to recover legal costs incurred by the council.”

Advertisement

Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter