Homes at former Hartley Centre site gets nod from Newham despite objections

barking road east ham

Newham Council's strategic development committee has approved a bid to build 75 homes at the former site of the Hartley Centre. - Credit: Ken Mears

A plan to build flats at the Hartley Centre's former site have been approved despite objections.

Newham Council's strategic development committee gave the bid for 75 homes and a health centre in East Ham the thumbs up on Tuesday, May 25.

Under the plan, three red-brick blocks rising five, seven and nine storeys would be built at the vacant Barking Road site.

Dwellings would be offered at "affordable" rents to over 55s in an attempt to free up family-sized homes elsewhere in the borough.

The meeting heard changes to daylight and sunlight levels on neighbouring homes would be "very noticeable", with gardens in Hartley Avenue and Winter Avenue "particularly affected".

Neighbours would have a "very different outlook", but councillors were told the benefits outweighed the harms.

Cllr Daniel Blaney, who chairs the committee, asked how reducing the storeys might affect light levels.

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Consultant Kaivin Wong said tests showed even at six storeys, loss of light was "comparable" with the existing bid.

A six- to eight-storey development is in line with what is permitted at the site.

A public consultation about the plans led to 11 objections and a petition signed by 82 people.

One objector, whose home is six metres from the site, urged members to defer the decision for more tests to be done.

He criticised the consultation for being inaccessible to people whose first language is not English or who aren't confident with IT.

"The residents have been let down," he said.

a picture of the site in east ham

The plot in Barking Road used to be home to the Hartley Centre. - Credit: Google

East Ham MP Stephen Timms raised an objection with Newham chief executive Althea Loderick in a letter dated May 21, arguing the scheme "appeared much too large for the site".

The development includes five standard and four disabled parking bays with access to permits restricted. However, Mr Timms and neighbours raised concerns about pressure on parking.

However, the meeting heard use of cars would be discouraged.

Members heard the blocks would not pose "substantial" harmful impacts to the area's heritage buildings, which include the Denmark Arms.

The scheme from council-owned developer Populo Living would generate a deficit of £3.9million, according to a viability study.

The Hartley Centre closed in 2015 when a community development scheme, the Renewal Programme, ended its eight-year lease of the building.