Highams Park Forum
A group of local people all interested in the betterment of life in their area.

Tesco proposal - Results of Public Meeting

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Tesco Proposal - Results of Public Meeting - 3rd October

On Friday 3rd October 2008, the three main residents' associations of Highams Park (viz.: The Highams Park Forum, The Highams Park Society, and The Highams Park Residents' Association) organised an open Public Meeting to debate the latest Tesco Proposal. This proposal is the latest in a series of proposals for a major retail and residential development on the old C&A site in Larkshall Road. The previous proposals have had their planning applications refused for various reasons.

Highams Park residents were invited to attend to participate in the debate and to listen to the views of other residents.

45 people attended the meeting in The Church Hall, All Saints Church, Church Ave and the results of the meeting are briefly summarised below.

The organisers laid out, around the room, copies of the latest Tesco proposal (plans, diagrams and documents) as submitted to the council. Attendees browsed the plans and the organisers answered questions to clarify some of the detail. These plans can be viewed on request at Hale End Library (Castle Ave).

The organisers gave a brief history of the series of Tesco proposals, and the reasons for their rejection. It was explained how this latest proposal tries to address the reasons the earlier proposals were rejected.

This latest proposal is radically different from the earlier proposals. The proposed Tesco store is of a similar (large) size but now with car parking underneath rather than separate. The space freed up by moving the car park allows room for a substantial residential development of terraced houses and flats (261 units in total). Car parking allowed for the residential units is approximately 1 parking space for every two units.

Although the plans attempt to address the officially stated reasons for rejection of earlier plans, it was felt that they do not address many of the concerns expressed by residents.

A straw poll was taken amongst attendees to gauge opinion:

  • When asked whether they were for or against a Tesco store in principle (ignoring the details of the proposal) attendees showed a fairly even split of "for" and "against".
  • However, when asked if they supported this current proposal, all attendees without exception voted against. All attendees had concerns (even those who supported the idea of a store in principle).

Some of the concerns raised were:

  • Traffic problems. It was generally felt that the planners did not properly understand the traffic problems and that the scale of the development would cause severe congestion. The level crossing makes it especially difficult. The routing of delivery lorries down narrow roads was also seen as a problem.
  • Housing density. There was lots of criticism of the density of the housing, the social problems it could create, and the strain on services (e.g. schools, buses, trains, and health care).
  • Housing height. The height of the blocks of flats was criticised, as was the height of the houses which back onto the gardens of the houses in Selwyn Avenue.
  • Housing design. The flat roofs, bright colours, and stainless steel were criticised as being out of keeping with the area.
  • Overall, the comment was made that this development seemed more appropriate to a densely populated inner city area, not a supposedly spacious suburb.

Many of the comments echoed the comments raised in the combined residents' association meeting which took place earlier in the year. Details of this meeting can be seen here: Tesco Meeting

Given the diverse nature of opinion on the subject it was agreed that it was impossible for the residents' groups to create one consolidated response. All attendees were encouraged to write individually to the planning authorities with their specific concerns. Every letter counts and carries equal weight.

The closing date for commenting on the proposals is 13th October 2008.

Comments/objections should quote LBWF planning application references 2008/1490 & 2008/1491 and should be addressed to:

LBWF Planning Dept
Sycamore House
Town Hall Complex
Forest Road
E17 4JF

It would be valuable to send a copy to the Mayor's Planning office:

Colin Wilson (Planning)
Mayors Office
City Hall
The Queen's Walk

Attendees also suggested that copies could be sent direct to Boris Johnson and to Iain Duncan-Smith.


Confused about the nature and objectives of the 3 residents groups?
Click here for an explanation: The confusingly named residents groups

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