A CONTROVERSIAL development on green belt land which threatens the future of small businesses is set to be approved.

The council’s committee will on February 23 decide whether to allow Development Securities to demolish buildings in Roding Lane North and create 28 homes.

Council planners have recommended the approval of the scheme despite a petition signed by 53 people calling for it to be blocked.

Residents claimed too many homes were proposed for the site and the plan could pave the way for further large developments in the area.

However, council planners say the scheme’s density is within guidelines and covers the same space as existing buildings.

Several small firms on the site face uncertainty and some may be forced out of business

A spokesman for Woodford Self Storage, which employs four people on the site, said: “My heart’s in my stomach because there’s more than a fifty-fifty chance that it will go through.

“If they grant permission then that really is that for the company. We have been looking for the last three years for a site suitable for us and it’s very hard.

“We will probably have a few months before we have to move but that’s all.”

Resident Peter Hodges, 79, of Roding Lane North, said there was not enough controls on developers.

He said: “Developers can come in and build what they like – they don’t live here so don’t have to worry about how it looks.

“We will have a new, ugly Woodford Bridge stuck on the side.”

Breda Cooper, 63, of Marston Road, fears the scheme could pave the way for further development on green land.

She said: “Please could they just leave some green spaces alone?

"Developers take every bit of land they can get: they will go down the road and across the road and build on everything they can.”

The submission of a planning application for flats in Bedford Road, South Woodford, last week prompted warnings about planning rules being relaxed outside town centres.

The Planning Inspectorate previously ruled that the application should be treated as if it were in a town centre, where developers can build more on less space, because it was within walking distance of one.

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