Monday, October 12, 2015

Redbridge must deliver
– says Prime Minister

In a press release today the Prime Minister states:
“Councils must produce local plans for new homes in their area by 2017 – or the government will ensure, in consultation with local people, those plans are produced for them.”
However, Civic Voice respond with a cautious welcome …
Ian Harvey, Executive Director of Civic Voice, said; “We believe it is essential that every place has a plan and that is why we called for it in our manifesto "Localism for Real". Nonetheless, our support is not whole-hearted. We are concerned that Government intervention, while fixing the immediate problem, does not deal with the causes. Planning departments are woefully lacking in capacity, as bodies such as the British Property Federation, have pointed out. The process of agreeing housing numbers is fraught with difficulties, the duty to co-operate is proving hard to implement and plans are being undermined by frequent legal challenges. We would like to know how the Government proposes to tackle these systemic problems".
Not to mention having somewhere to actually build them without selling off iconic, well-used playing fields or other amenities that attract people in the first place.
Harvey finished by saying “We would like to see the detail of how the Government will ‘work with local people’ to produce plans to be sure that there will be a genuine collaborative planning process rather than tokenistic consultation. We also fear that faced with this sanction local authorities will be tempted to quickly cobble together local plans to meet the 2017 deadline without sufficient engagement with residents and businesses. Government intervention may be a necessary evil, but more work is needed to get our local-plan-making process working effectively for people and places. We look forward to debating this issue with the Planning Minister, Brandon Lewis MP when we see him in a a few weeks time".
The pressure is now on for Redbridge council to bite the bullet and make that decision on Oakfield, one way or the other. They can’t just keep putting it off due to the proximity of elections.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Garden Grab in Old Barkingside
– Episode III

Gabrielle Collard, a local activist down in Wanstead, writes about the Redbridge Planning Department and developer tactics on a planning application for Wanstead High Street, known as “The Cube”.
Over the last year, the planning department at Redbridge has undergone a complete personality change. The experienced planners have gone, the conservation officer is no more and the new head of planning is a mystery. The officer running the case of 73 High Street is part time.
The ongoing combination of developer’s tactics plus poor organisation at Redbridge could quite easily wear people down. Perhaps that’s what is intended.
Full article here.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated case, it goes on all the time.

Back in July 2013 we had the first phase of garden grab in old Barkingside where a developer had bought up the rear part of the back gardens of a row of cottages in Tanners Lane and submitted a planning application for 7 terraced 3-storey town houses at right angles to Sandringham Gardens with an access road abutting the rear gardens of properties in Sandringham Close. This application was refused.

Then we had episode II in October 2014 with a new application, this time for 5 terraced houses with loft accommodation and facing Sandringham Gardens with drop down kerbs for off road parking, which would have reduced the amount of available on-road parking for other residents and visitors. This application was also refused and is the subject of an appeal.

And now, notwithstanding the appeal, we have Episode III (ref: 3519/15) – an application for 4 terraced houses again facing Sandringham Gardens but with no drop down kerbs and a parking area where the access road was on the first application, backing onto the rear gardens of Sandringham Close.

A decision has not yet been made on this latest application, but I am expecting another application soon for 3 terraced houses …

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Parking in Redbridge
– Just the Ticket?

Earlier this year, in July, we had a Redbridge Council Consultation on Parking provision within the borough. There were 1,659 responses from which a draft strategy is being developed and we are now at stage II where you can feed back and tell them if they are on the right track. It’s a short internet survey and it’s very heavy on strategic words and intentions, which hardly anybody could object to (Barnum statements), and short, well actually non-existent on any firm proposals on what exactly they propose to do. Go see for yourself.

We really need to challenge the myth that parking on High Streets helps business – it does not. 30 minute free parkers are not the type of customers High Streets need. Supermarkets and shopping Malls know this and provide parking away from the main shopping area, which is then safe, pollution free and a pleasant environment and, this is the key point, encourages shoppers to spend more. We need to start thinking about our High Streets in the same way, but this is only difficult because High Street traders do not see themselves as a collective and mutually dependent upon each other, sadly reflected in their lack of support for and involvement in the "Business Partnerships".

There are also two public meetings where you can feed back to the council with your views:

Wednesday 21 October at the Local Forum meeting
Prospect Hall Community Centre, 28 - 42 Prospect Road, Woodford Green IG8 7NA
6.30pm to 7.30pm - parking discussion
7.45pm to 8.45pm - regular Question Time

Monday 2 November, 7pm to 8.30pm
Fullwell Cross Library, 140 High Street Barkingside IG6 2EA

Before you do so you may wish to consider this interesting little fact. If the proportion of public space allocated to cars, as opposed to people, were replicated in the way we design homes, this is what we would end up with …

Courtesy Savvas Verdis

Friday, October 02, 2015

New Bus route along Forest Road to commence on 9th January

Following the public consultation on the proposals to re-route the 462 bus route along Forest Road back in February and March this year, Transport for London report that they will be going ahead with a slightly amended version of the original proposal.

Don’t get your hopes up that it will serve the cemetery, the cycle centre or the Business Park at the end of the road, because it won’t. The slight amendment is to allow passengers to stay on the bus during its stand time at Limes Farm estate rather than having to get off, walk across the estate and get on again.

The consultation itself received 546 responses, 539 from members of the public and seven from stakeholders. 77% were in favour or partially in favour of the proposal, with 21% against with 2% undecided.

Subject to the necessary physical works for the new bus stops and stand being completed to schedule the new service is planned to commence on 9th January 2016.

For more details including the full consultation report and TfL's response to issues raised, please go to

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Enforcement, fly-tipping, beds in sheds, booze ban & Handyperson scheme

New Enforcement Team
A brand new uniformed enforcement team will soon begin to be put in place. The new team will be charged with improving civic pride and clamping down on those who don’t treat the Borough with respect.
The Redbridge Enforcement Team will be made up of 19 officers, with a further 26 to support them. They’ll be tackling the issues we know most matter to you like anti-social behaviour, licensing, and envirocrime.
Find out more about the Redbridge Enforcement Team

Fly-tipping near bins
Residents are being reminded not to dump their rubbish or recycling outside bring banks and communal bins if they are full. Yes, if you leave your recycling next to the bin it is fly-tipping and if caught you will get fined.
As part of its crackdown on fly tipping the Council has recently issued 20 £80 fixed penalty notices to those dumping rubbish near communal bins or bring banks.
Read more about fly-tipping near bins

Beds in Sheds
The Council has taken action to shut down 93 outbuildings which have been used as unlawful residential accommodation as part of a tough clampdown on ‘beds in sheds’.
These developments can be dangerous, poor quality places to live and a nuisance to people living in neighbouring properties.
How we are tackling beds in sheds

Street Drinking
The Council is looking to take tough action against those who drink in the street in certain hotspots in a bid to reduce anti-social behaviour.
A Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) could soon be in place to address persistent street drinking and associated problems in the west of the Borough.
A scheme that sees off-licensees volunteer not to sell cheap super strength beers and ciders has been hailed a success.
All shopkeepers who took part in the pilot in Cranbrook Road, Ilford, now have permanent conditions on their licences not to sell beers, ciders and lagers over 6.5%.
Find out more on the booze ban scheme

New Handyperson scheme
A new Handyperson [sic!] scheme has been launched to provide small home repairs to vulnerable residents.
Working in partnership with the Council and local organisations including Age UK and London Fire Brigade, the scheme run by Home Energy Efficiency Training Ltd (HEET) will undertake various types of jobs to keep residents safe and make their homes easier to keep warm.
Read more about the Handyperson scheme