‘Brave new world’ mall plan for Wanstead High Street

A new plan for a mini-shopping mall on Wanstead High Street could be determined this week in a decision which could apparently sidestep the Redbridge planning authorities.

A plan for the former Joliffe’s Builders office site, which includes a large area of undeveloped land behind the shops, was rejected by the local authority last year. But the revised plan – which includes the front being clad in copper and aluminium – is to be considered by the Planning Inspectorate, a government agency which deals with planning appeals.

The new plan includes spaces for small shops and offices, including a basement, and a total of 13 proposed flats. The shops and offices could, the plans say, create 40 new jobs.

The Wanstead Society has written to its members saying that while it does not oppose the development of the site, the plan is “over-developed and with a boxy, high rise, design that would stick out in our Conservation Area”. It also says the “yellow stock brickwork and copper cladding… bears no sympathy with the subdued nature of the existing high street”.

The developer, in the documents, say the revised plan would mean the building frontage would be smaller than it would have been in the original plan, and addresses fears over existing trees. It says: “The resulting scheme seeks to add to the exciting village nature of Wanstead by providing letable units for local business, artists, entrepreneurs at an affordable starter rent, whilst creating a new adjunct to the street around a focused mall and courtyard hub, and new eco styled apartments within the village and related to this new hub.”

The plans go on to describe how the design would fit in to the area:

A diverging array of architectural styles can be found around the site, including the rather poor quality adjacent Pharmacy building at No.75. The styles’ varying from Edwardian to 80’s built shop units. The Shrubbery is a grade II listed, inter-war period, modernist movement, residential building. In the previous application it was our intention to enhance the aspect to this building and to use elements of its “brave new world” iconic architecture to form the keystone of the new scheme, in effect providing a link between this buildings uniqueness and the High Street and ensuring its privacy by reinforcing the buffer between with a mature landscaped, amenity space… The current scheme has thus embraced this as its core, and seeks to create a first class building that is carefully crafted to its specific location and has quality and unique materials within its design that relate strongly to the conservation area and the immediate context of the site.

The plans can be seen in full on the Redbridge planning website under reference 4102/14. Representations can still be made to the Planning Inspectorate, but only if they are received in Bristol by 1 July (ie Wednesday of this week).

32 thoughts on “‘Brave new world’ mall plan for Wanstead High Street”

  1. Anyone wishing to object (there’s just time) – letters must be with the Planning Inspectorate by 1st July, and in triplicate. Quote the appeal reference number: W5780/W/15/3002949.
    Peter Kozak, The Planning Inspectorate, Temple, Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol BS1 6PN.

  2. Seems that the could not have got much more in if they tried. Far from being ‘sympathetic’ it appears that the design is purely based on the commercial and financial return on their investment. What are these ‘affordable rents’ I wonder? Very little is mentioned of parking which is already a massive problem around that location. This building will be totally out f place in my view and a more conservative traditional design should be encouraged.

  3. Surely a positive. Otherwise we will have a hole serving no purpose and end up with another Evergreen dilemma.

    We have to move with the times, creating homes/jobs is a good thing. Hey, some of you might finally get your M&S food you are so keen to get.

    If you object and it goes ahead then just don’t rent one of the homes or use any of the shops.
    Change is good, the more difficult it is to develop or make changes in Wanstead then the more people are put off investing money which has the obvious knock on effect.

    I have some fantastic ideas for the Evergreen plot, however because of the difficulty in obtaining any backing from ‘locals’ I have shelved them.. Shame.

  4. As a minimum the new development should be the same height as the buildings to its left and sufficient car parking should be provided on the plot. Note that the access road which could be used to access parking at the rear is being removed.

  5. Oh, and someone asked about parking – there is no parking. The development hopes to earn green points by stating that the units will be marketed to people not needing a car, as there is good public transport in the area. Some hope! More parking stress for Grosvenor and Nightingale methinks.

  6. Thanks Nicola. Interesting to note that the units ‘will be marketed to those people not needing a car’. Fat chance.
    By the way does anyone know if our local councillors are involved with the opposition. I see that Suzanne Nolan is but not seen anything from Chris or Colin. I know that it has now gone to the planning inspectorate but surely they should be shouting from the rooftops?

  7. If this is to be ‘local shops for local people’ then why would they need parking?

    That said, is it not law now that when you build a residential property you must include a car park space?

  8. Thanks for the link. I’ll email my support for the building as local jobs are vital for our economy and the younger generation. Excellent idea re restricted parking too, hopefully it will attract more people who can see life beyond the car which does not help the high street.

  9. As a long standing resident of Wanstead who gave up my car 7 years ago, I’d like to point out the irony of this plan. The retail units are tiny, only suitable for coffee or trinkets. What I need, and so will all future non-car users need, is a shop that sells useful stuff that can’t be carried on public transport or a bicycle.

    Also, that I will need to buy a car again soon. Circumstances change – sometimes we can go without cars and sometimes we just can’t. This non-car utopian idea is a long long way off, if at all.

  10. I agree with Mark’s comments. Also want to add that many people buying their first home would be lucky to also be able to afford to run a car. Perhaps we would have less cars on the highstreet anyway if there was a cycle lane.

  11. Is this going to appeal because the Council haven’t determined the application? I thought I read that somewhere. If so, is this a conscious decision/toys out of pram by LBR or has there been a council boo boo somewhere along the way?

    Not all bad though, as better that a planning inspector makes the decision here, who will be middle class (sorry), reading the Telegraph, and enjoying nothing more than their packed lunch, as opposed to having it agreed by some closed door Committee at Redbridge, based on a planners report made with an Ilford lense and for a scheme that lies well outside their Permitted Development comfort zone.

    Why is it green?

  12. Whilst I’ve no bias towards redevelopment at this site, I’m saddened to see the proposed new development does little to address the concerns both Cllr Cummins and I raised at the original planning meeting regarding waste collection, noise fears from residents of The Shrubberies and a lack of parking provision.
    I’m on annual leave abroad at present but Chris, Sue and I are in contact on the matter and will continue to fight for the best interests of Wanstead High Street in the same way that we and local residents who attended the first planning inspectorate meeting did last year.

  13. It is broadly recognised the missing tooth in the High Street needs infilling, but with a sympathetic scheme that fulfills Wansteads needs. Yes it can be a good quality modern design.But this aint it.
    This scheme is hugely overdeveloped, resulting in poorly designed, low quality retail and living accommodation, that has high impact on its neighbours.The Live/Work units in the basement receive little or no direct sunlight.Incidentally, you can thank Redbridge for no parking provision.
    This second application is merely a cosmetic excercise,of the first, dismissed by the Inspectorate, paying littlt attention to address the reasons for its rejection.

  14. It was only a few weeks ago people were unhappy that the current building had been occupied by another Estate Agent.
    Now people are unhappy that something else will be put in it’s place.

    I am not sure what can be done to please everyone. Seems to me that people would be happy with a closed retail unit and a hole.

    There are plenty more eyesores on the High Street. Buildings that require modernisation because they are crumbling to the ground. Buildings that were built for purpose rather than design. Flats which look awful. Empty plots of land with horrible fences around, or black bags. Shops with the wrong shade of black. Signs that light up the wrong way.

    Soon all business will vacate and we will end up with a High Street that resembles a museum. A High Street full of empty retail units with fake frontage.

    The solution, knock everything down and start again maybe?

  15. Martin

    The solution is quite simple. Any development should be decided on whether it is a genuine improvement and has sufficient quality to justify out all having to look at it for the next hundred years or so.

    The High Street is unlovely enough as it is but the proposal is only noteworthy for having the potential to make the High Street look even worse. If that is the best they can come up with them perhaps they should sell the site on to someone with a bit more imagination?

  16. I like the idea of the mall, it would encourage the improvement of the shops locally and hopefully more variety, and of a higher standard. If we are to live up to the Hampstead of east London standard then we need to up our game – after all this benefits everyone.. I agree with the suggestions about having less cars, maybe that can be Wanstead’s USP, car free high street, really living more locally. It would have an impact on pollution levels too (decrease), impact on exercise levels. If we want to maintain our lovely neighbourhood we need to pull together more.

  17. The word eysore comes up a lot, however what people are forgetting is that the glass part on the top will not be visible from ground level.

    So take that part away and it does not look that bad. Maybe change the green to standard bricks and it would just blend in.

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