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On Monday new plans to increase the height of a “vast” development at Ilford’s Sainsbury’s Superstore will be decided by a Redbridge planning committee.
Sainsbury’s and its development partner Telford Homes say new fire safety rules requiring second stairwells in tall buildings mean that three of five planned towers will need to be taller.
Two storeys would be added to the tallest tower, bringing it to 36 storeys, while two other blocks would increase by one storey.
According to a planning application submitted late last year, the “minor” height increases would also see the 837 planned flats homes rise to 860.
The number of student bedrooms would increase by 20 to 467.
Planning permission for the five blocks at the Sainsbury’s Superstore site on Roden Street, Ilford, was granted by Redbridge Council’s planning committee in 2022.
Sainsbury’s and Telford Homes say the proportion of homes classed as “affordable” will remain at 35%, in line with the Mayor of London’s planning rules.
However, the Mayor’s planning department – which has a veto over all major developments in London – has warned that the original application does not comply with his planning policies.
Although the Mayor’s planners were supportive of the towers close to Ilford station, they said the design of the tallest building lacked “articulation” to make a more “positive contribution to the local townscape”.
The height of the buildings could also “harm” nearby heritage buildings such as the 12th-century Ilford Hospital Chapel.
Other “significant concerns” included “convoluted” and “very cramped” student rooms, with no access to communal rooms offered to studio flats.
Sainsbury’s and Telford Homes have been contacted for comment.
The planning application is due to be decided by the committee on Monday 22nd January.
During a debate over the original planning application, in December 2022, Conservative member Joel Herga called the scheme “vast”.
He said: “It will bring in all these people to the area, make the supermarket facility smaller and the need for more doctors does seem to be quite concerning – I have huge concerns.”
The committee’s Labour members also raised concerns about the strain 2,249 new residents would place on local schools and health services but eventually voted in favour of the scheme.
NHS North East London told the Local Democracy Reporting Service additional healthcare capacity will be provided by a new health and care centre in Ilford Exchange shopping centre.
Planning officer Julian Pye told councillors Redbridge would receive £10m in community infrastructure levy (CIL) when the development is complete, but could not specify whether any funds would be directed towards NHS services.