Seven Kings flats plan approved

Redbridge Council’s planning committee has greenlit plans for 27 flats in Seven Kings, the first application it has approved since last October.

The council claims no planning committee meetings were held for almost a year because developers fear submitting controversial applications during the local election period.

Following its eleven-month break, the committee met this week (21st September) to approve developer PTB Partnership’s application for one seven-storey and one three-storey building at 1 Aldborough Road South.

One of the two ‘cottages’ currently on the site will be replaced by the seven-storey tower while the other will be “retrofitted”, with an extra floor containing nine one-bed flats.

Overall, the development will contain 16 one-bed, 7 two-bed and 7 three-bed flats, with a communal roof garden and children’s play space downstairs.

Members all voted in favour of the scheme.

Conservative member Paul Canal said: “There are parts of the development I’m not particularly fond of but it’s five minutes from the station.

“It could be an ideal starter home or perhaps a retirement home… and I can see no reason not to say yes to it.”

The committee heard that the development would contribute a “net gain” of 18 homes to the council’s targets once the nine units being replaced are subtracted from the total.

According to the planning report prepared for the committee, which recommended the scheme, the council has accepted an offer of £220,000 instead of affordable flats on the site.

The report said this offer “outweighs the harm” of rejecting the site, given that no affordable housing landlords would be “willing or able” to manage three “isolated” homes.

The offer of £220,000 homes is equivalent to 10% of the homes being affordable, significantly lower than the Mayor of London’s target of 35%.

However, council planners accepted the offer after studies carried out by a surveyor argued that, even if no affordable homes are included in the scheme, the development is set to lose £720,000.

Planners received 47 written objections to the application related to the size, design, density and loss of privacy to neighbouring homes, but no members of public spoke at the meeting.

Labour’s Gurdial Bhamra said he was “a bit disappointed” no one had asked to speak, adding “we like to hear from residents”.

Councillor Shanell Johnson said the car-free nature of the development disregarded the “real-life situation” of car use in the borough but also voted in favour.

Owners of PTB Partnership Lalit Pabila and Marios Trattou did not attend the committee in person.

The scheme will not gain final approval until the Health and Safety Executive has approved a fire report as a version submitted initially was not deemed acceptable.

Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter