RESIDENTS have condemned reports that building work has started on a controversial new development before permission has been granted.

Neighbours of the Chepstow House site, Leicester Road, Wanstead, claim that developers have constructed a 12ft wide access road and buildings in preparation for construction work beginning.

But a spokesman for Telford Homes, which owns the site, denied that the company was "jumping the gun" and said they were awaiting the outcome of the regulatory committee meeting on July 20.

The Counties Residents Association (CRA) and Wanstead Society have been fighting plans to built six semi-detached houses and 18 flats on the site for the last three years.

CRA chairwoman Helen Zammett said: “Our residents are aghast. I want to know why Telford Homes appear to be pre-judging the decision of elected members.

"The council’s own conservation experts and their specialist Design Team have both identified serious shortfalls in Telford’s second application and have recommended rejection.

"They have explained how this planning application fails to meet the flaws in the first application and therefore Telford’s scheme still fails the fundamental ground for the Inspector’s rejection – it harms the character of the area, as it does not fit in."

Wanstead Grove - which contains the Chepstow site - was given conservation status by Redbridge Council in the spring and has already been put on the English Heritage "At Risk" List.

  Telford Homes managing director Mark Parker said: "No, we are certainly not jumping the gun. There are huts there and have been for some time but there is no access road - that is not correct.

  "It's going to committee on July 20 - I believe with a recommendation to approve - so hopefully the members will follow the advice of their officers.

  "And English Heritage have commented that they have no adverse objections to the site."