A property developer behind a controversial proposal for a shopping arcade in a conservation area has appealed to the Secretary of State, claiming Redbridge Council has failed to make a decision within the required time.

Bali Singh-Digpaul applied to build a three-storey shopping development and flats in High Street, Wanstead, in September.

He claims he is being ignored by the council, but the authority insists Mr Singh-Digpaul has failed to respond to a request for a meeting.

Planning applications should be processed within eight weeks.

The proposal has been criticised for being out of keeping with the surrounding area.

An appeal was lodged with the Planning Inspectorate on March 6, but a date for a decision has not been set.

Most appeals take less than 8 weeks to be completed, however the council have advised Mr Singh-Digpaul that his application is unlikely to be approved. 

A council spokeswoman said: "The council has been in conversation with the applicant since the application was submitted.

"Larger and more complex applications do sometimes take longer to consider. In this particular case, the applicant has chosen not to have a pre-application meeting.

"These are strongly recommended for larger applications, as it helps to make sure the applicant has understood the planning policies relevant for the area, and means planning officers are already aware of the application before making a decision.

"The council has been in regular discussion with the applicant and has advised him that the application, in its current form is unlikely to be approved.

"We have suggested he withdraws the current application and requests a pre-application meeting so that we can advise on changes that would adhere to planning policy."