Havering Council Chief Damian White described the multi-million pound redevelopment plans for the Seedbed Center and Rom Valley Retail Park in Romford as “inappropriate”.
Cllr White has expressed her opposition to the general proposals, which the Recorder revealed earlier this month have been submitted to the board by Rom Valley LLP.
The proposals call for the demolition of existing buildings and the construction of up to 7,800 square meters of commercial and employment space as well as 1,072 housing units, with three of the blocks reaching between 16 and 20 storeys in height.
Cllr White, who backed a petition started by the Romford Tories, told the Recorder: âI think it doesn’t suit this Romford track and it’s an inappropriate development.
âI don’t think all of the proposals that have been put forward will help Romford regenerate. I’m not sure building a skyscraper just outside Romford town center is a suitable place.
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The sites are owned by Portland Capital property investors and the project will cost around Â£ 410million.
Another major housing development planned for the city is the regeneration of the Waterloo Estate, which will include more than 1,300 homes and a 16-storey building.
A hybrid planning request for this site was submitted by the board and the Wates Residential joint venture partners in June.
Asked by the Recorder if he would now raise the question of the height of the tower, Cllr White said: âThe Waterloo Estate is right in the center of town and it is only a few minutes walk from the train station. from Romford the difference is that the board involved intentionally limited the height.
âSo if we were to just be private developers and develop the site, you’d probably see 22, 24 floors.
âBut the board chose to go for a more reasonable height of a block of 16 and still take a step back from that.
“The proposals for the Seedbed Center are going to be higher and denser than the package for the Waterloo Estate, which is closer to the city center.”
Romford MP Andrew Rosindell also set out his objections to the redevelopment of the Seedbed Center and Rom Valley Retail Park in a letter to council.
He said: “The plans are blatant overdevelopment and totally inappropriate for the area, with insufficient infrastructure and little consideration given to the needs of the local residents who live in this part of Romford.”
The development, which will be called Rom Yard, is expected to include an energy center, a health center and up to 339 mÂ² of shops and restaurants.
A footbridge will also be built along the Rom river towards the city center.
Andrew Curtin, President of the Romford Civic Society, said: âHigh density programs are never popular, but we fully recognize that the local authority itself has provided the context for this program with the great developments it offers nearby.
“We particularly support the strong green vision of Romford inherent in this candidacy, in particular the proposal to strengthen biodiversity and nature conservation in the city by opening the river Rom, which we have long and strongly insisted on.”
A Portland Capital spokesperson said plans would include a new seeding center that’s double the existing one, which has 40 separate units in five warehouses, and existing tenants will be relocated.
But Cllr White criticized the proposals, saying they would not replace current commercial uses of the site âalikeâ.
He added, âIt will further worsen the ability of local residents to secure suitable boot space. “
The regeneration proposals have been the subject of a consultation process for the past 18 months, the Portland Capital spokesperson said.
They added, âLocal residents and businesses have actively helped shape these plans and have given us great encouragement to move them forward.
âFrom the doubling of the size of the employment space at the Seedbed Center to the scope of new local affordable housing and the opening of the site, this regeneration plan aims to deliver optimally on a brownfield site in the center. city ââwith a wide range of benefits for the community. “
The petition can be viewed on the Romford Conservatives’ website.