New tower block approved for Seven Kings

A new Ilford tower block with only 11 per cent affordable housing was given planning permission last night after a tied vote.

Five councillors voted for the proposed development in High Road, Seven Kings, which will be 11 storeys at its highest point, while five voted against and one councillor abstained.

As per the council’s policy, the chairman of the committee was then given a casting vote to break the tie and permission was granted.

During the debate, Cllr Vanisha Solanki (Lab, Fullwell) said plans to offer just four affordable homes out of 35, well below the council’s policy of 35 per cent affordable homes, was “simply awful”.

She said: “A Labour council should not actually approve such a poor application, I genuinely believe we should reject this.

“I suggest the applicant goes away and calculates their numbers again.”

A report prepared for the planning committee stated the scheme, which originally included no affordable units, “cannot provide any more affordable housing and remain viable”.

It reads: “The reason for the low offer towards affordable housing is due to the construction costs being higher due to the high quality of design and high performances associated with tall buildings.

“In this instance, given that the site backs onto a railway line, there would be a need for highly insulated windows to deal with the railway noise and these are significantly more expensive.”

Concerns were also raised about the fact the site was not large enough to accommodate more than two emergency vehicles.

The council’s planning officer Catherine Zhandire said: “It’s regrettable that they can’t have more than two vehicles on the site.

“If [an emergency] does happen, they would probably have to block part of High Road.”

The councillors that voted against the proposal were Cllr Solanki, Cllr Hannah Chaudhry (Lab, Chadwell), Cllr Ayodhiya Parkash (Lab, Mayfield), Cllr Michael Duffell (Con, South Woodford) and Cllr Paul Canal (Con, Bridge).

Cllr Shamshia Ali (Lab, Cranbrook), Cllr Kay Flint (Lab, Mayfield), Cllr Gurdial Bhamra (Lab, Clayhall), vice-chair Cllr Paul Merry (Lab, Wanstead Park) and chair Cllr Jyotsna Islam (Lab, Aldborough) all voted for the proposal.

Cllr Varinder Singh Bola (Lab, Cranbrook) abstained from voting, meaning the vote was a tie and giving the chairman a second vote.

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter