Plans to build ‘toxic Tesco towers’ of more than 1,200 homes will go ahead but the delivery of a proposed new station entrance remains uncertain.

Hundreds of people wrote to Redbridge Council’s planning committee to oppose the redevelopment of Goodmayes Tesco Extra, while 3,000 signed a petition against it.

Most objections cited the pressure the huge influx of residents would place on public services and traffic, as well as air pollution created by the scheme.

However, after hours of discussion, all but three councillors voted for developer Weston Homes’ plans, which will also see a new Tesco, a primary school and a village hall built on the site.

A total of 1,280 new homes, of which 415 will be “affordable”, will be built in towers ranging from four to 23 storeys high at the site in Chadwell Heath High Road, Goodmayes.

Read more: 'Toxic Tesco Towers' plans cause concern

Health campaigner Andy Walker argued at the meeting that allowing the development would contradict the council’s commitment to reduce air pollution near schools.

He told the committee: “Nitrous dioxide levels at Chadwell Primary School (about ten minutes walk from the site) have exceeded the legal limits for six out of the past seven years.

“The legal limit is far above the healthy limit and above where permanent damage to childrens’ lungs occurs.

“Chadwell Primary School has 52 students with asthma and Barley Lane Primary School (also ten minutes away) has 50; both schools are concerned and have objected to this plan.

“The developer will try to assure you with fancy arguments that everything will be fine but this is a house of cards.”

A mock-up of the Goodmayes Tesco redevelopment (Weston Homes)

A mock-up of the Goodmayes Tesco redevelopment (Weston Homes)

Ward councillor Cllr Neil Zammett (Lab, Goodmayes) - speaking for himself and his colleagues Cllr Chaudhry and deputy leader Cllr Rai - expressed concern about the effect on traffic.

He told members: “We are not opposed to development per se. We are very conscious of the housing crisis and often deal with the heartbreaking consequences in our own ward.

“But the junction remains a pinch point and we think the developer could do more to improve traffic flow.”

He suggested Weston Homes could create a slip road between High Road and Barley Lane and also asked for a “firm commitment” the new station entrance would be delivered.

Cllr Robert Littlewood, Labour councillor for the neighbouring ward of Seven Kings, echoed his traffic concerns, arguing there is a “current crisis in parking in the area”.

He also called for more “low rent housing” in the scheme, adding: “The view of residents is that it’s not for them and it ought to be. People fear a sort of gentrification of their area.”

The applicant plans to provide limited parking on-site: 420 spaces for the rebuilt Tesco, 240 spaces for new residents and only one disabled space for the school.

Steven Hatton from Weston Homes responded that the developer has “worked tirelessly” on its affordable housing provision, which he said was “tailored to meet local requirements”.

He added: “We have also carefully considered the environmental impact of the proposal and made assessments and mitigation where necessary.”

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However, he was not able to promise that the new entrance for Goodmayes station would be built, explaining that there is “no simple answer” when pushed for a direct response.

Cllr Varinder Singh-Bola (Lab, Cranbrook) noted a letter from TfL stating it is “not confirmed that the full cost (of the entrance) will be funded” and asked if Weston Homes planned to cover this.

Steven told councillors: “We have already made a huge commitment to the station access anyway, investing well over a million pounds.

“We can cover all the construction and delivery costs (for the entrance), the problem is really all to do with the running costs… we do not know how much we would be committing to.”

Redbridge’s head of planning Brett Leahy explained the council is in “active conversations” with TfL about this, adding: “We are looking to support TfL with their financial woes.”

Councillors also noted that the Department of Education had objected to plans to build a three-form primary school on the site.

Mr Leahy explained this is because of a “difference of opinion” with the DoE about how many school places Redbridge will need in future and that conversations with it are also ongoing.

Mr Leahy also reassured councillors that Weston Homes has put aside money to pay for a controlled parking zone around the school to prevent parents parking nearby, also highlighting its commitment to create a new bus lane and pedestrian routes.

The plan is to begin work on the site in spring next year, completing the new Tesco and 732 of the homes by November 2023 and the new school and remaining homes by 2030.

The existing Tesco store will remain “fully operational” while its replacement is being built.

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