Hainault Business Park made exempt from new planning laws in council bid to protect jobs source

Redbridge Council has blocked a change in planning laws from threatening one of the borough’s largest source of jobs.

Employing at least 2,500 people at the northern tip of Redbridge, Hainault Business Park, is home to the second highest number of local jobs after Ilford town centre,.

Last night (October 22), cabinet voted to exempt the area from new permitted development rights introduced by the Government, which would allow developers to build homes without full planning permission.

Cabinet member for transformation and digital Cllr Helen Coomb said: “[The business park] is very important to the borough and we need to do all we can to withstand new changes which threaten it.”

Under the recent Town and Country Planning Order, office, storage or light industrial areas can be converted into homes without planning permission from the local authority.

Redbridge’s leadership first blocked threats to the business park in September 2020 but further law changes, coming into effect on 1st August, have again made it possible to change the park’s use without permission.

A report before the cabinet warns of an “increased risk” to business and employment due to “recent proposals”.

It adds: “The direction is necessary to avoid wholly unacceptable adverse impacts to employment levels on the business park and to protect the wellbeing of the area.

“Striking the balance between commercial and residential uses is important to avoid the kind of market failure that leads to large scale negative impacts arising from uncontrolled individual conversions.”

Despite a predicted high demand for industrial land in London, more than 1,300 hectares were released for other uses from 2001 to 2015, the report notes.


Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter