Forest Gate regeneration delayed to consider Obsidian’s application changes

A decision on the future of regeneration in Forest Gate was deferred after developers Obsidian amended their application following a council report recommending refusal.

Council officials were due to discuss Obsidian’s regeneration plans last night at a meeting of the council’s Strategic Development Committee.

But the meeting has been delayed for another month as the developers submitted amended plans and documents to the council and wishes for those to be formally assessed before any decision is made.

Certain aspects of Obsidian’s plans have proved controversial, including ground level demolition, high-rise buildings and a 27-storey tower block.

But Obsidian claim a comprehensive regeneration is the only way forward for Forest Gate while the high rise buildings make the plans financially viable.

The changes and subsequent deferral come after the publication of a council report that recommended the regeneration plans were refused.

The demolition works, which include buildings at Westbury Parade, the Post Office Sorting Office and the Princess Alice pub, were refused on the grounds they would be “detrimental to the character and appearance of Forest Gate”.

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Reasons for refusal also included the development’s “excessive and discordant scale and massing” and a direct mention to the 27-storey tower block which would be “markedly out of context with the low-rise Victorian character of the area and would have a seriously detrimental effect on the human scale and historic grain and fabric of this conservation area”.

Housing was another issue outlined in the report which said the proposed plans would “fail to provide a sufficient number of family-sized units for which there is an identified need in the borough.”

Earlier this year, a Greater London Assembly report also suggested certain aspects of the plans needed improvement, calling the infamous tower block “unsuitable.”

The council will now have to reconsult residents and other statutory consultees to get their views on the changes and another report will be published by the Strategic Developement Committee.

It is likely a decision will be made at a meeting of the Committee on March 20 but the date will be confirmed when the council agenda is published.