Criticism is growing of a “horrific” proposal to quadruple the density of housing allowed in Wanstead and Woodford.
A panel of councillors met behind closed doors yesterday to debate six options for the Local Development Framework 2015-30.
One of the proposals would see large-scale developments in traditionally suburban “major corridors” in Woodford Green, South Woodford and Wanstead.
This would require significant changes to current planning guidelines for the areas, which would see them treated as town centres to enable a greater density of homes.
The exact locations of possible development sites have not been specified.
Reacting to the proposal, Geoff Horsnell, chairman of the Wanstead Society, which campaigns to protect green space and protected areas, said: “Just the phrase quadrupling the density is a horrific idea.
“It could be a sympathetic approach and I would need to view the proposal in more detail before saying much more, but I can say that my initial thoughts are shock horror.”
Carlton Terrace Residents Association treasurer, Jacqui Thornton, believes the local infrastructure would struggle to cope.
She said: “The Times recently called Wanstead one of the best places to live in London.
“It is idyllic around here you see the green belt from the high street which is totally unique for miles around.
“We only have one high school, the police station has been shut and parking is already difficult and we do not have the facilities to cope with more developments.
“I’m really worried about the knock-on effect of these developments would have, bring in larger chain stores and damage our small businesses.”
Natalie Howard, 27, of Peel Road, South Woodford, fears the area’s identity could be threatened.
said: “People like it here for the way it is today.
“There are better ways to spend money on improving the streets of South Woodford and supporting local businesses.
“The diversity of the new and old buildings from before the war is so attractive so we need to retain this areas character.”
Other options being considered include building on existing, unspecified “parcels” of green belt land and developing Oakfield playing fields in Fencepiece Road, Ilford.
Redbridge council said the public was not allowed to attend last night’s meeting as it was a preliminary discussion between councillors.
A spokeswoman for Redbridge council said: All of the potential options considered by the panel will then be subject to formal consideration by the neighbourhood and community service committee and cabinet and will then go out to public consultation.
“Any proposals discussed at the moment are purely at a preliminary stage and the preferred option or options will not be decided until after public consultation.”