39a - 49a Woodgrange Road- regeneration plans

Tuesday, 22 March 2016


This short post is a summary of the regeneration plans currently out for consultation concerning 39a - 49a Woodgrange Road (between Gregg's and Barry's) - see map and photo for location.

In the apparent absence of any other on-line "community forum", this blog can be used as a medium for people to share views on the proposals.  For full details of how this could work, see the footnote at the end of this article.


Most of the shops and buildings
 covered by the proposal

London Iron Works (LWI) is a medium sized east London-based firm of developers who have worked up proposals for the redevelopment of this small stretch of Woodgrange Road. They have nothing to do with the much larger and controversial plans put forward and then abandoned by Obsidian four years ago.

LWI held two consultation evenings on 21 and 22 March at Durning Hall. We attended, as did many others.  Helpful staff from the developers were on hand to answer questions, and as far as we could discern, they were very open and honest about the challenges and opportunities the proposals present.


Location map
Below is a short summary of what we discovered and felt worth sharing with others who were, perhaps, not able to attend.

We have no vested interest, whatsoever, in the outcome of the consultation, although, for the record, were impressed by the proposals. Let that, however, not inhibit those with alternative views from sharing their thoughts, below.

There are currently 12 retail units affected by the proposal.  They, and the accommodation behind, would be demolished.  The accommodation is largely officially vacant, although it is believed there are a number of squatters in situ.

The proposal would be to "revitalise" the shops. There would be no guarantee of tenure for the existing shops in the new development, and in any case they would have to close or move for at least 12 - 15 months around the rebuilding period (see anticipated timescale, below).


Artist's impression, from the south

 Rents in the new shops will be considerably higher than those currently paid by the present occupiers.  This is likely to be a significant issue for Barry's, the butcher, for example.

The proposal is to construct around 60 residential units.  The exact mix will be subject to negotiation between developer and the council.  It would, for example, be in the financial interests of the developer to only build one-bedroom flats for sale.
  
The council, however, will wish to see some larger properties (2 and 3 bedrooms) to ensure a good demographic balance of families, singles etc in the development and also to guarantee that there is an appropriate mix of social and owner-occupied properties. The developers accept this, and negotiations between council and developers will determine the final outcome mixture.


Artist's impression, from Earlham Grove:
 flats on far right of drawing representation
 of separate development plan - see text

All, or almost all, units will have balconies, most of which will be south facing.
There will be some recreational space (roof gardens etc) in the development and provision for cycle parking.

There could be some consequential modifications to the local road lay-out and this will doubtless feature in the mix of negotiations between the developer and the council.

As mentioned above, London Iron Works, the developers are an east-end firm specialising in medium size developments, like this one, that aim to fit in with local community needs and are empathetic to the local architecture (so no 19 storey building proposals, here).

They are working with Newham council on other developments in Manor Park - near the railway station and in East Ham, in what was the old Co-op site (the car park next to the Denmark Arms).


Artist's impression, from corner of Hampton Road

Although they aim to be empathetic with Victorian architecture, they are building in and for the 21st century, so will not seek to replicate 1880s buildings.  In trying to be sympathetic, they will pay due regard to the local skyline, and brick work, for example.

Little is known about what is likely to happen to the former "Obsidian lands", although it is inconceivable, with the imminence of Crossrail, there will not be significant development proposals coming along soon.

It does seem likely that there will be a development, built around the same time as this Woodgrange Road one, a little behind it in Earlham Grove. It will be in the land boarded by blue hoardings, between Barry's and the Community Garden.


Artist's impression: front elevation

We understand that London Iron Works was interested in developing this too, but found negotiations around acquisition and planning extremely difficult. Instead, it would appear that the Council-back and owned Red Doors company is likely to do the construction and Swan Housing, who effectively run the council's outsourced housing management function, will operate the development.

We idly ask whether these council "insiders" found negotiating life for the plot as difficult as London Iron Works seemed to. You may smell a rat, we couldn't possibly comment.

It is interesting, however, that although this Earlham Grove development is being advanced by those with great insight into the local authority, its ways and, presumably the local community, they have not found it desirable or necessary to seek the views of the affected public on their proposals, as London Iron Works has.


Artist's impression of a possible floor plan

If you would like to comment to London Iron Works directly about their proposals, the e.mail address is WoodgrangeRoad@yourshout.org. Their freefone number is 0800 458 6976.


Anticipated timescale for Woodgrange Road proposals

Spring 2016 - exhibition and local consultation

Summer 2016 - having taken consultation on board, submit development scheme for planning discussion/consent

December 2016 - planning approval, or rejection.  If consent:

January 2017 - give one year's notice to quit to existing shops and tenants

January 2018 - begin construction work

Jan - March 2019 - completion of project: new owners/tenants move in.

Update - March 2017

Forest Gate North Councillor Rachel Tripp provided an update on progress with this application in her extremely good and detailed branch newsletter of 1 March 2017. It is quoted, verbatim, below.  A decision on the planning application was deferred by the Council in February, because of:
 
Concerns about parking, but I and other members expressed a number of other concerns based on the design we saw that night, including the design of the building, the density, the lack of family accommodation and the lack of affordable housing on the site.
I am not opposed to new developments, I'm not opposed to sympathetic modern design on a Victorian high street and I think this space on Woodgrange Road is a prime site for something that offers some retail and some residential, but I was glad that this iteration of the application was deferred and hope that the developer will go away and do some more work before it comes back.
Based on this, it would seem that the scheme will be at least three months behind the projected time-table outlined above, even if it is eventually approved in some form.
 

Footnote: using this thread as a discussion forum

At the end of this article is a Comments box. Would-be contributors are invited to post their thoughts and share them with other local people. (This site gets over 250 hits per day, so people may feel it is a good vehicle to act as a discussion forum).

If you wish to contribute, simply fill in the comments box, below.  You have the option of leaving your name and or a pseudonym, or posting anonymously. Your posting e.mail address will be known by the site.  We undertake to share it with nobody, if that is your choice.
At the foot of the comment box there is a check box, by ticking this, you will receive an automatic e.mail  every time somebody responds to the thread of comments, and you will, of course be free to reply to those, as you wish.

We guarantee that there will be no editorial interference with responses on this forum (which was not the case on other local forums at the time of the Obsidian proposals), expect for posts which are: abusive, potentially libellous, or discriminatory on grounds of ethnicity, gender, age, ability, religion etc.

Posts that are totally irrelevant to the subject will be deleted and posts that are excessively verbose will be summarised and then only published with the explicit approval of the original contributor.

The forum will be open to those supporting and opposing the proposals . The developers, are invited to contribute and answer questions etc, should they wish; although we are anxious that this does not simply become a PR medium for them.

If this suggestion works as an effective discussion forum: fantastic.  We may adopt the approach for other topics of local controversy on this site, in the future. If it doesn't work, fine!

37 comments:

  1. I am still rather concerned about the height - it shows best in the artists impression of the front view- it rises to 7 storeys. I feel that when the Durning Hall side is redeveloped that will be taken as the new acceptable level.

    The developers feel that there is a capacity for 10% more on street parking in the area, Residents of the Osbourne Road side may disagree!

    The floor plans seem to bring very little natural light and ventilation to the kitchens and inner rooms, and a nit picking point - the balconies mainly face East or West, as South would be towards the Romford Road.

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  2. The existing tower block in the Durning Hall complex is 6 storeys high at one end, so i'd have thought it won't be too hard to argue precedent for slightly higher buildings.

    Has anything been mentioned about the Council's previous assessment that the existing block was of "heritage value"? Seems a bit of a stretch given its current state, but I have no idea what impact that has on planning.

    The commercial units will hopefully be a good opportunity. Perhaps a chance for some interesting independents, rather than the almost inevitable Costa.

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  3. I'm all for this development, Of course it's not perfect but I think overall it will improve the area which desperately needs investment like this.

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  4. I think the plans are awful to put it mildly ,they do not fit in with the exsisting buildings at all. Also the group of shops along there are all going concerns they are not empty shops but some like Barry have been in business there for years and he is the only butcher that is not Halal so where do his customers go ?and why should the locals be deprived of the shops they use . No thought is ever given to any new builds around just like the one near the Eagle and Child a total 20th century slum . There are some very beautiful buildings in Woodgrange road so why do they not just leave them alone and build the flats or whatever behind the shops , there are many people here with good ideas like the market stalls , the street festival , the community garden the coffee shops and the refurbished railway tavern they are things that improve the area a make it a better place to live we already have enough 20th century slums we dont need any more .

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  5. In an area like Newham I don't see how small retailers and tenants can get turfed out of their livelihoods and homes. Regeneration and gentrification should not come at any price. Newham is awash is betting shops and chicken shops and no one has done anything about them. Yet, decent shops like Barry get the push and will not be back unless they pay the exorbitant rent that will be asked for. I look forward to finding out how much of the proposed development will be social housing. I watched a troubling programme recently on the BBC called 'The Estate We're in'. This is the sign of the times and is not right.

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  6. With the exception of Barry's I can't think of another shop in that row that is unique in the area. And while it will be a real shame if Barry's is unable to relocate nearby, I think the benefits of the scheme outweigh that negative.

    As for the architecture, it isn't particularly inspiring I agree, but Woodgrange road hardly has a coherent style, and that row of shops really isn't anything special to look at.

    There's obviously wariness in the community of massive regeneration/gentrification, but these plans seem pretty measured and if there's a chance to have something that isn't another chicken shop / betting shop / newsagent / phone shop that would be great.


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  7. There is also the Santander bank which is used by quite a few people(some older) and Gregs and just because the others may not be to everyones taste doesnt mean they are not used by many people WHY should people be put out of business and locals have to find another place to shop because someone else wants to build another lot of rubbish that doesnt blend in . I think the little villa's are lovely and some of the blocks are different because of the war , those on the hill were partly bombed and some remained standing so during the 60s I think these were demolished and the parade was built along with Durning hall
    all very 60s buildings the block where Tesco and the Methodist church stand were also destroyed by bombing and if I'd had a say at the time I hope I would have said that they were also a load of rubbish . The large building that replaced the Pawnbrokers alms houses were refurbished some years ago by the only regeneration people that we have had in this area with any sense of history and style and if we could have them back I would be very happy , these buildinsg would be better of a some holiday resort abroad .

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  8. If the existing local businesses are excluded due to affordability from the new premises, this poses a real risk to the local economy as the shops affected are the only ones providing the products and services they do. The character of the high street is inclusive and on the whole about small, family owned and run businesses. This is precarious at best but faced with the upgraded station area there is an inevitable sense that all prices will rise which is highly likely to create huge change, which will not be sympathetic to the long standing business such as those at risk. Additionally, the pressure on public services such as the local schools and GPs is a major concern, along with additional cars. Lastly, the proposed height of the new development will surely cut out a great deal of natural light to the road and have a considerable impact on the general ambience which, whilst not perfect, at least is not dark and oppressive - yet.

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  9. I own the Drycleaners on the high street for the last ten years. The area was run down ten years back we independent businesses put lot of hard work and keep high street going on the tough economic time. Because now cross rail is coming and house is cheaper then compare to other parts of London and transport links are good lots of people moving from other parts of London to here. And they what to change the area into their liking. Which is nothing wrong but not at other peoples expenses. The newsagents is been there for last 40 years. The dry cleaning business i own has been there running for last the 35 years I took over for last ten years .my advice to James is come and stay with us for a day and see how hard we work for our family like yourself and then see whether it's right.

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  10. From Newham Recorder, 29 March 2016:

    "Residents have said developer Iron Works has not publicly stated what proportion of the new homes will be social housing and the design by dRMM architects does not fit with the area’s other buildings.

    Butcher Barry’s Meat Market could also be at threat from rising rents as a result of the changes and six employees attended one of the two public consultations held last week to share their views.

    Owner Barry Parsons, 47, who has had the shop for 30 years, said the plans were a “big worry” for the future of his business and employees.

    He said: “I do not want to start again. They are going to take two years to do it – we wouldn’t have a business in two years.

    “The other concern is that if they do bring us back, what rent are they going to charge?”

    Iron Works director Daniel Harris said the comments from the meeting were “really appreciated”.

    He said: “Feedback from local people will help shape the final planning application we submit to Newham Council in the summer.

    “As discussions continue and develop with the council, we will update local stakeholders on the key issues raised at the exhibition including residential mix, affordable housing provision, transport and environmental impact.

    “We will also continue our established dialogue with the existing retail tenants and work with those wishing to return to site following redevelopment.”

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  11. Yet another hideous cheap looking modern development. Forext Gate has a lovely villagey feel & a number of great new businesses in older properties are springing
    up. I thunk this development will totally dominate our High Street & destroy its feeling & soul. It is great to live in an area with lots of independent businesses. Devolpments like this inevitably bring bland chains who are the only ones.who can afford the rents. It would be such a shame if this development was to go ahead & ruin the character of the high street.

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  12. I don't think Barry's Meat Market has anything to worry about. It has the greatest potential to grow as a business from possible gentrification. Which butchers do you think the influx of white middle class professionals moving into the area will support? Barry's or the halal? Don't think I need to answer that for you. Anyone who has run a successful business will know that you have to change with the times, wishing anything else is just a fantasy.

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    1. Barry's future shop needs to be at least the same size as it is now. After the development, at least 2 years from its start, Barry will have to pay for two of the new shops to equal his present shop size. What gentrified person is going to shop on our highstreet anyway? They don't now! And none of us will be able to afford meat that's twice as expensive as now!

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  13. Sorry, how does a butcher change with the times? Barry serves a wide range of customers giving them what they want. The butcher on Wanstead High Street shut up shop in December, after 90 years of business, because of the hike in rent. Closer to home, Black hairdressers, Debron on Woodgrange Road also closed down a couple of years ago because the landlord wanted too much money. Whose in the premises now? Subway... I think Barry and the other retailers have a great deal to worry about.

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  14. Why doesnt Barry butchers have anything to worry about they are planning to demolish the whole of that block so Barrys Butchers will no longer be there so how does it grow as a business .???

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  15. Why can't we have something that complements the architectural style of the area?



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  16. I'm by no means the biggest fan of the architecture, but let's not kid ourselves that Woodgrange Road is some village from the Cotswolds. I'd say the proposed building is as nice, if not substantially more so, than the existing tower blocks at either end of the road.

    I can appreciate that the project would have a huge impact on the businesses affected, and if i were them i'd likely protest too. But can't they attempt to relocate locally? There always seems to be places opening in the vicinity.

    I'd also worry about a mass invasion of chains, but this seems unlikely, and realistically they are already here (tesco, coop, iceland, greggs, subway, superdrug, poundland, wh smith etc.)

    Given that you're never going to be able to please everyone, i still think these plans seem fairly measured on the whole.

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  17. The tower blocks and buildings like these new plans are what you get when people that have no idea about an area are let loose to build anything , the tower blocks should never have been built and why should well established businesses relocate just because someone wants to build another load of cr*p we used to have dance halls a cinema ,a roller skating rink and lots more things to do in this area until money became more important than happiness and a decent way of life so its about time people stopped getting chucked out of their business or home just because someone else want to make piles of money out of another load of junk and the area gets even more slum dwellings because that is what they are slums of the very near future.

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  18. A few years ago nobody wanted to come to Forest Gate but that has all changed now with the coming of Crossrail. No doubt if Barry and the other shopkeepers had been told of these proposals, much earlier, they might have been able to relocate. I see that food giant Sainsburys has put in for a license on the car lot on Woodgrange Road. That will have a catastrophic effect on the small grocery shops in the area. Just a little further up on Woodford Road, hairdresser Kekeli, next door to Websters, also had to close up shop last December. She had been there for nine years and is another victim of rent increase. There is only so much small businesses can take.

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  19. Shame about Barry's and some businesses having to move, but personally i think Forest Gate needs regeneration on the entire high street. I love forest gate but the high street looks old and dirty. New buildings will give the town a more fresh, clean look. I would also like to see betting stores and fried chicken shops removed, or significantly reduced.

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  20. Forest gate looks old Dirty??Forest gate is old thats part of its charm, dirty that can be sorted if people in general played their part you cant love Forest gate and say you would like to see it all changed in the same breath that doesnt make sense Forest gate doesnt need regeneration if people want up to date modern rubbish buildings then Stratford would be more of a sensible option and why should people lose the businesses they have worked hard for just because people want to make plenty of money without working for it for years .

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    1. Yes, many many people I have spoken who live in forest gate have said that forest gate looks dirty. Other towns in London are also old but they don't have a 'dirty' look about it about them. Fly-tipping and littering is a big issue in this borough. We want to live in forest gate but we want the town to look cleaner. I am constantly reporting littering and flytipping to the council but it's an endless battle. Forest gate definately needs regeneration. I work alot in developing markets, and I tell you that alot of cities in developing countries have cleaner streets and presentation than Forest gate high street/town.

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    2. Yes, it would be ideal to keep the same buildings but personally, i don't think the majority of people will play their part in keeping FG clean. It's a shame for the local businesses and i understand that they've worked hard, but on the other side i think the selection of stores on the high street is poor. It's a repetition of betting stores, fried chicken shops, pound stores, phone card stores, laundrettes, pharmacies and newsagents. Not inspiring at all. New types of business, including those that promote more healthy eating need to come into forest gate.

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  21. I think the overall scale of the development is appropriate for a london high street, and having a facade that is continuous with the buildings that will remain to the south will improve the streetscape and improve the high st feel- currently the single storey shops dont create a very coherent hight street. The materials look fine, and i've looked into the architects DRMM and they are very good by the looks of thinks. The flats dont look particularly nice as they all only face in one direction, either east or west. I too am concerned about the size of shops that will replace the existing. Its difficult to work out from the images but it looks like they will be big, deep units which would likely be unaffordable to anyone but the tedious, and ultimately destructive costa-pret-tesco metro crowd. With the likely development of durning hall, the worry is that this part of the high st becomes exclusively large chain stores- its safe to assume that the southern and northern end will continue to be appropriate shops for independent retailers. I think the challenge to the council would be to demand that somewhere in with this development and/or the durning hall development they make some provision for independent retailers, as this will what will retain the character of woodgrange road. Its the job of the council to look at the area holistically, but I think this particular development looks perfectly good on its own.

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  22. Here's the principles for ALL the sites (the one discribed above, the land behind it at earlham grove, and the durning hall/coop site) which the council list in the Supplementary Planning Document (describes how Newham plan Forest Gate to change in the coming years).

    Obvious questions-
    why, if these buildings are being demolished is there no 'new public space, to be of high quality design and landscaping'. The principles state the council's preference is to retain the existing- so why no public space in the event of demolishing them?

    'Design standards for residential accommodation should promote the use of dual
    aspect residential units'
    All the units in the proposed plan are single aspect (only have windows on one side)

    'The redevelopment proposals should include a relocation strategy for displaced
    local businesses, and community facilities as part of the S106 agreement. '
    Is this happening? Was this discussed at the consultation?

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  23. Key principles:
    • Residential uses with active ground floors (excluding hot food takeaways and
    betting shops) and primary retail frontage along Woodgrange Road;
    • Proposals to make provision for a new medium sized retail foodstore;
    • North of Earlham Grove (site a), there is potential for higher residential densities
    closer to Forest Gate Station and opportunities for taller buildings when brought
    forward as part as a wider comprehensive redevelopment. Any proposals that
    include tall buildings will be assessed against the Conservation Area Appraisal
    and the English Heritage / CABE document Tall Buildings Guidance;
    • Retain Earlham Grove but consider pedestrianising the eastern end to create a
    new public space, to be of high quality design and landscaping;
    • The Council’s preference is for the retention of the terrace at 39b-49a
    Woodgrange Road (site b) along with a programme of renovation and

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  24. refurbishment works to deal with the poor maintenance. It is recognised
    however that there may be practical issues in implementing this which mean
    that the terrace could be considered for redevelopment within the context of a
    wider comprehensive scheme which should enhance the Conservation Area;
    • Residential development to ensure adequate amenity space (shared gardens,
    roof terraces etc) to respond to an under provision of open space in the locality;
    • Development to incorporate larger family residential units within lower floors of
    proposals;
    • Design standards for residential accommodation should promote the use of dual
    aspect residential units;
    • Permeability should be increased throughout the site, however the existing
    street pattern should be retained;
    • New development to integrate with the existing character and respect the
    historic context and Conservation Area designation;
    • Development proposals should provide arrangements to retain or replace the
    Community Police Facility and other key businesses and community facilities in
    the local area, where appropriate;
    • Step heights across the site and scale down heights at the fringes to respect
    adjoining lower-scale historic properties;
    • Servicing for retail units on Woodgrange Road should be provided from the rear
    but from a road which has frontage, rather than a backland area;
    • Larger developments should seek to minimise the levels of car parking provision
    and should not exceed a provision of 0.5 spaces per residential unit, with
    undercroft car parking incorporated, where possible;
    • Retain building lines and use historic street patterns to define perimeter blocks
    and linear routes;
    • Development should provide animated frontages (active uses, front doors, etc)
    on ground floor façades;
    • Development should create dual aspect flats as much as possible, and in
    particular should exclude any north facing single aspect flats;
    • Consider community safety and take every opportunity to secure informal
    surveillance with development proposals; and
    • The redevelopment proposals should include a relocation strategy for displaced
    local businesses, and community facilities as part of the S106 agreement.

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  25. I have lived on the same road for 36 years in forest gate. how is any of this fair to anyone. and people will have to give up their lively hoods. what about the vulnerable old people and our British values , equality and diversity. we will have no banks, no butchers and certainly barrys meat market wont be there and I am a loyal customer. what do these developers really know about forest gate. and then you have people that cant even get an affordable home. and I have rad that the flats or houses they are building is going to be high rent and not affordable only to those who make 30,000 a year so how does that work. Santander I walked passed every morning to go to school opened up my first account there when I was 8. Greggs also has been there since I was 8 so why get rid of these places we all so like. why not place something there that the whole community can be involved in like giving all the shops a new look and making benches for people to sit down on. I have also seen that they are going to pave the high street which means no cars will be allowed down wood grange road I actually saw a 3d version of this months ago so they knew all this information and didn't tell anyone. I want no part of their lies they are making money to put into their back pocket. what about the employees where will they go.

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  26. We understand that the planning application has gone in, with few, if any alterations. The consultation period has produced very few objections, and nothing very substantial from those most likely to be directly affected (e.g Barry's).

    The developers still hope for planning approval by the start of the ye year. Most retailers are on a max 6 months notice period and these will be run down from next January; some are already in arrears and effectively looking for their next move, or closure.

    The shops are now effectively "planning blighted" and investment in them has stopped by owners and leasees (although the dry cleaners is installing an ATM, to compensate for that taken out by the now-closed Santander).

    Empty shops will increase in number along the affected row from the new year, although it is quite likley there will be some very short term pop-up options appearing, and possibly a charity or heavy discount clearance/bankrupt stock type shop opening.

    All confirmed news of progress, greatly appreciated. Please add below.

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  27. I heard from one of Barry's staff that the proposal had been given planning permission. He looked very glum. A crying shame. On the other hand we have another halal butcher opening up were the police office used to be....

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    1. Great just what we need another halal butcher. That makes it 3 in one street. Main while the one we all know and are familiar with Barry's gets to close

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  28. Three! Look again - there are five shops which are halal butchers or grocers/butchers on Woodgrange Road. On Upton Lane there at least four! I do wonder if any of them make a profit.

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  29. I think the plan looks fairly well judged. We don't want really want fake victorian style buildings that fit in with the local area. More people will bring the need for more and better standard of shops and cafes. Barry's will have alot more customers when the new residents are in which will cover the increased rent.

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  30. Any one know for certain if the planning went through?

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  31. A few thoughts from me:

    1. The current parade of shops isn't particularly attractive. That said, it is hard to gauge exactly what the new proposals will look like from some vague artistic impressions. Does anyone have any examples of other projects carried out by the same architects? This might give us a better idea of the proposals.
    2. I noticed the following comment with interest: "we used to have dance halls a cinema ,a roller skating rink and lots more things to do in this area until money became more important than happiness and a decent way of life". Is there any way in which the council could put a requirement on the development to ensure that there is come kind of cultural provision included (for example, a cinema/theatre/dance hall) as part of their planning permission? This could either be i. at ground level; ii. on the first floor (could we insist on such a space in place of flats at Level One?); or iii. at the reverse of the building if an outdoor facility.
    3. With regards to the impact on local businesses, i. I can completely understand the concern of Barry if he were to be uprooted for two years. I wonder if there is any way in which the council could give businesses impacted first reserve on other lots which become vacant between now and the proposal?; ii. If the proposal increases the population of the High Street, that will surely be good for local businesses, who will have more customers?; iii. At the Olympic Village, they took steps to ensure that the shops at ground level were independent businesses and not chains - I recognise these are all quite expensive, but I wonder if there are levers for ensuring a decent number of independent businesses; iv. Ultimately - and I recognise this is a complex issue - we as Forest Gaters decide which businesses thrive and which businesses fail according to how we spend our money. If we want to keep local businesses, then we need to keep shopping at them.

    Appreciate I might be very late to the party on this one.

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  32. So the planning has been knocked back. Hopefully there will be progress soon as it is all getting a bit shabby as no new investment. Understandably as all to be knocked down at some point. I do think people referring to a 'Victorian high st' as if Forest Gate is some kind of historical delight is a bit much though. Is everyone looking at the same high street as me?

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  33. At one time I was against the changes but now I agree with you. Woodgrange Road is going down hill rapidly. I will miss Barry but as for everything else I will be glad to see the back of it. At least we will have one less betting shop. Also, the paving on the whole road needs redoing as it is a health and safety hazard, particularly, for older people.

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