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Plans to build more than 560 new homes in High Road, Goodmayes – in seven blocks, ranging from three to 20 storeys high – have been approved by Redbridge Council.
Currently, the site is occupied by a permanently-closed Homebase store and car park.
It is a short distance from two other major housing developments: the Tesco Extra development, set to deliver more than 1,200 new homes, and a council-led development to build 236 homes on a public car park.
The seven approved blocks will each be different sizes – three, four, seven, 12, 15, 17 and 20 storeys tall – and will contain 568 flats, including 164 flats designated as affordable homes.
It is the first site being developed through a new joint venture between developer Hadley Group and Clarion Housing, the UK’s largest housing association.
Speaking to the planning committee on July 22, Hadley Group project director Danielle Torpey said they are “committed to seeing this space occupied” and “to swift delivery”.
She added that, if granted permission, they planned to start building as soon as possible and estimated the project would take around two and a half years.
However, environmental campaigner Andy Walker argued the “dust and construction lorries” involved in building three major developments on the high road would have a serious impact on residents’ health.
He pointed out that existing pollution on the high road is so concentrated that some ground and first floor flats in the new development will require air filters and sealed windows.
He said: “This site is not suitable for human habitation, it’s going to become punishment blocks for the poor. While some mitigation is being done, it is not enough.”
Committee vice-chair Paul Merry, however, argued “a car-free development replacing a large metal shed with several thousands of square metres of tarmac” would be “a net improvement” for air pollution.
He said: “I think this is the best scheme in the Crossrail corridor that has come before the committee so far. I’m very happy to see a developer come to us with a long-established social housing landlord.
“The only reservation I have is there’s not enough provision of free water points but I’m sure that could be rectified.”
One of the committee’s two Conservative members, Paul Canal, said that despite “longstanding concerns about the scale of developments” in the borough, he would support the scheme.
He said: “I suspect the residents of Redbridge were unaware… [the council is] actually building a mini-Chicago along the Crossrail corridor. I think most developments are superb but many are five to ten storeys too high.
“Notwithstanding that, I think this is a developer taking the shared ownership and social housing element seriously rather than just bolting it on.”