“Pig ugly” Loughton office building approved

A four storey office building overlooking a London Underground railway line has been approved by Epping Forest District Council, despite committee members branding it “pig ugly”.

The block will be built on the Oak Hill Industrial Estate in Loughton, near Debden tube station.

Plans by Mr Aaran Hall were approved by the council’s development management committee at a meeting on November 16.

But Councillor Chris Pond (Loughton Residents Association, Loughton Broadway) criticised the proposals at the meeting, warning they could be an eye-sore for residents living on the other side of the railway line.

He said: “The building we are about to consent ought to be much greener than it is at the present.

“I note that there is no landscaping condition that I can see unless I missed it and there is no requirement to do anything with the pig ugly wall which will face Lushes Road across the railway.”

He also suggested the four electric vehicle charging stations proposed were not enough.

But Cllr Sam Kane (Con, Waltham Abbey Honey Lane) said this would be “unreasonable and unenforceable”, and also rebutted Cllr Pond’s attempts to soften the appearance of the building.

He said: “I’m fascinated to see what landscaping could be achieved in a one metre strip at the back of the building, to have any rational effect at all.”

According to a council report, the site is currently a scaffold yard with, with storage structures and portacabins which are set to be replaced with the new building.

Cllr Helen Kane (Con, Waltham Abbey South West) said this area is already industrial and the houses are quite far away. However, she noted that building next to the railway line has caused problems in the past.

The committee also voted to add planning conditions to the application, including to remove permitted development rights in an attempt to stop the building from being converted to residential use in the future.

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Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter