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Plans to build a ‘toxic Tesco towers’ of more than 1,200 homes will go ahead, but the delivery of a proposed new station entrance remains uncertain.
Hundreds of people wrote to Redbridge Council’s planning committee to oppose the redevelopment of Goodmayes Tesco Extra, while 3,000 signed a petition against it.
Most objections cited the pressure the huge influx of residents would place on public services and traffic as well as air pollution created by the scheme.
However, after hours of discussion, all but three councillors voted for developer Weston Homes’ plans, which will also see a new Tesco, a primary school and a village hall built on the site.
A total of 1,280 new homes, of which 415 will be “affordable”, will be built in towers ranging from four to 23 storeys high at the site in Chadwell Heath High Road, Goodmayes.
Health campaigner Andy Walker argued at the meeting that allowing the development would contradict the council’s commitment to reduce air pollution near schools.
He told the committee: “Nitrous dioxide levels at Chadwell Primary School (about ten minutes’ walk from the site) have exceeded the legal limits for six out of the past seven years.
“The legal limit is far above the healthy limit and above where permanent damage to childrens’ lungs occurs.
“Chadwell Primary School has 52 students with asthma and Barley Lane Primary School (also ten minutes away) has 50; both schools are concerned and have objected to this plan.
“The developer will try to assure you with fancy arguments that everything will be fine but this is a house of cards.”
Ward councillor Cllr Neil Zammett (Lab, Goodmayes) – speaking for himself and his colleagues Cllr Chaudhry and deputy leader Cllr Rai – expressed concern about the effect on traffic.
He told members: “We are not opposed to development per se. We are very conscious of the housing crisis and often deal with the heartbreaking consequences in our own ward.
“But the junction remains a pinch point and we think the developer could do more to improve traffic flow.”
He suggested Weston Homes could create a slip road between High Road and Barley Lane and also asked for a “firm commitment” the new station entrance would be delivered.
Cllr Robert Littlewood, Labour councillor for the neighbouring ward of Seven Kings, echoed his traffic concerns, arguing there is a “current crisis in parking in the area”.
He also called for more “low rent housing” in the scheme, adding: “The view of residents is that it’s not for them and it ought to be. People fear a sort of gentrification of their area.”
The applicant plans to provide limited parking on-site: 420 spaces for the rebuilt Tesco, 240 spaces for new residents and only one disabled space for the school.
Steven Hatton from Weston Homes responded that the developer has “worked tirelessly” on its affordable housing provision, which he said was “tailored to meet local requirements”.