Chingford rooftop development approved

Extra homes are to be built on top of three existing Chingford blocks of flats, despite 96 objections from residents and neighbours.

The additional floor, which will add six flats to the original 18, was granted “prior approval” by Waltham Forest Council’s planning committee on June 14.

Several residents attended the meeting to speak in opposition, expressing concern about safety, overcrowded parking and how the 1960s building would cope with the added floor.

Speaking in opposition, resident Lisa Maxen asked how the extra floor could be deemed safe when the developer had not inspected the foundations.

She told councillors: “The proposal remains bulky, dominant, out of character and a detriment to the highways.

“The additional floor puts us above anything in the surrounding areas and any surrounding property… but most importantly it will not keep us safe.

“I was charged £70,000 last year to extend the lease by 125 years and simply want to be left to enjoy my rights. These applications only seek to line the freeholder’s pockets even further.”

Fellow resident Laurence Swain pointed out that a version of the plans that proposed two extra storeys had already been rejected last year.

He added that the freeholder had rejected an offer from residents to buy the property.

Planning consultant Jerry Bell, for “airspace” developer Southern Territory Ltd, admitted residents had “real concerns” about their properties losing value, the building process and the impact on their lives.

But he told Waltham Forest’s planning committee members that prior approval developments can only be decided based on whether the plans meet “technical requirements”.

Responding to residents, he said: “We’re keen to talk to residents about improvements… [and] we’re proposing a method of construction that will minimise noise.

“The government has seen fit to allow these developers to come forward through a prior approval process. We’ve gone through the assessments that the government asked us to provide.”

Councillors unanimously voted to approve the application after agreeing that “full details” of planned refuse and cycle storage facilities should be agreed before building work starts.

Due to “technical issues” with the recording of the meeting, no debate between planning committee members has been made public.

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter