Hotel planned for controversial Redbriidge ‘Toxic Towers’ site in place of school

Land previously earmarked for a school may now be used for a new hotel, as controversial plans for a £500million development in Goodmayes rumble on.

The Tesco on High Road in Goodmayes has been earmarked for a large-scale development of towers comprising 1,280 homes, after plans were conditionally approved by Redbridge Council in 2021.

The initial round of plans for the twelve tower housing block included a store and community hub, as well as a ‘three-form’ school, with three classes per year group.

However, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request reveals that it has now been omitted in lieu of a hotel or a ‘class-E’ development.

A ‘class-E’ development can be a retail outlet, GP surgeries, or sports facilities. Hotels fall under class-C1.

Plans for the school were turned down by the council in October 2023 in a bid to protect pre-existing schools.

The number of children in both Redbridge and London had fallen sharply, the council said, with schools reporting an abundance of over 500 unfilled places.

Amanda Jennings, the executive headteacher at Farnham Green Primary School in Seven Kings, said there was “no need” for a new school that could “jeopardise” the future of others.

The scheme has also attracted criticism from campaigners due to their proximity to the busy High Road, which connects Chadwell Heath and Goodmayes.

Though Weston Homes’ proposals put sustainability “at the forefront,” members of the ‘Stop the Toxic Tesco Towers’ campaign say the site is so polluted that some flats would require mechanical ventilation.

However, the developers have previously said there is an “urgent need” for more low-cost housing in the capital and the scheme was deemed lawful by the High Court, following a legal challenge in October.

Andy Walker, a spokesperson for the campaign, said: “Although I am against the development due to its toxic location, if it does go ahead, the space previously used for a primary school should be exclusively used to benefit local residents, a GP practice and/or sports facilities using best-quality air filters.

“A hotel being considered for the site may help Tesco profits, but do little for the local area.”

Plans for the hotel are still in development and have not yet been formally submitted.

Amendments to the scheme revealed by the FOI also include the planned installation of a second set of stairs, in compliance with health and safety regulation, and minor amendments to the road and entrances.

The £500m scheme, known as Lorimor Village, is expected to be fully completed and housing residents by 2030.

It is named in honour of historic landowner Jocelyn Lorimer and architect Robert Lorimer, who Weston Homes says pioneered the building of ‘green suburbs’ – urban housing designed around gardens and landscaping.

Andy is currently fundraising for a second legal challenge, undeterred by the October defeat.

He is hoping to crowdfund £17,000, with £15,000 going to Redbridge and Weston Homes in legal costs and a further £2,000 going on legal advice.

He said it was “important” to challenge the plans in light of the ongoing “climate crisis,” calling the plans “irresponsible”.

Redbridge Council did not respond in time for publication.

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Sebastian Mann

Local democracy reporter