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Doubts even after eight storeys knocked off Forest Gate regeneration tower

PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 March 2012

Not good enough – that is verdict of campaigners in response to a revised regeneration plan for Forest Gate.

Developers Obsidian changed their application following local opposition and criticism from the Greater London Assembly and Newham Council’s Strategic Development Committee.

A tower block has been reduced from 27 to 19 storeys, the Methodist Church Hall has been saved from demolition and proposed buildings in Earlham Grove and Sprowston Road have been reduced by two storeys.

Housing has been cut from 774 homes to 695 with more family homes. Overall density has been reduced by 10 per cent.

Obsidian vow to replace existing community facilities with new buildings managed by existing stakeholders.

Richard Cutler, Obsidian’s project director, said: “We have listened. The changes we have made are significant and are a positive response to the issues raised by Newham Council, the GLA and local residents.

“The revised scheme is financially viable, can be delivered and will help transform Forest Gate for the better as a place to live, work and visit, in line with the overwhelming wish of local residents to see regeneration happen.”

Campaigners Save Forest Gate Ltd are happy the church hall has been saved but “still strongly object to [Obsidian’s] amended masterplan”.

The buildings are still too tall, they say, as 62 per cent of residents are opposed to structures eight to 12 storeys tall.

They said: “We are confident that just as many people are opposed to a 19-storey building, which is still completely out of scale and character.”

They say demolition works go against advice from English Heritage and the number of family homes is still too low, while there is “no guaranteed affordable housing”.

Campaigners remain concerned about the usage of community spaces such as Durning Hall. Obsidian is forcing out small businesses and those on lower incomes, they allege.

A provisional date of March 20 has been set for the Strategic Development Committee’s decision.


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