Wanstead garage on way out

photo (38)The future of this familiar Wanstead building is in the balance as planners decide if it can be redeveloped into three new houses.

The owners of the I&K Brown garage on Church Path are retiring, and the plan involves the partial demolition and redevelopment of four linked buildings on the site. Currently up to 20 cars a day are repaired at the site, but the plan says a residential use would be more in keeping with the surrounding area.

oldi&kbrownnewi&kbrownPlanners are considering the application. The Wanstead Society has indicated it generally supports the application (below), though is not keen on the design. One member of the public has mentioned that there are still disused underground petrol tanks at the front of the property so there is some potential for contamination.


The planning document however says: “The surrounding area is wholly residential and so the proposed
change is compatible with the character of the locality. The new houses will contribute to
the residential character, where the existing workshop does not.”


The detailed plans and application can be inspected on the Redbridge website, under planning application number 1536/14


21 thoughts on “Wanstead garage on way out”

  1. I have to say the proposed design isn’t the prettiest I’ve seen, but far preferable to the usual mock-Victorian pastiches that get stuck up everywhere. If the houses are designed and constructed in the 21st century, then they should look like it. If they get their skates on, I might even buy one as I’m under offer at the moment (great location) – though I doubt my buyer will wait that long!

  2. Pity, as though the building is not beautiful, it has an interesting history – it was built as Wanstead’s fire station in its early days as an independent urban district. I can conceive of ways to convert the building into three units which would retain the façade, which would visually preserve a link to its past use.

  3. I would so prefer to see more of the building’s exterior kept intact and any dwellings created in a more warehouse style to help preserve the windows and space. Is there a market for that in Wanstead…?

  4. Speaking as a past member of wanstead society committee, this sums up all that is wrong with the WS. they do not understand planning legislation and their decisions are based on personal subjective opinions. the garage is in the wanstead village conservation area and so any redevelopment MUST enhance and preserve the character:
    the current proposal cannot reasonably be said to do either and the WS is failing wanstead by pretending to represent the community and that it has expertise in such matters. it will be a terrible shame to loose such a historic landmark, that i think originally was a tram shed. a more suitable proposal would be to at least retain the facade. please all object to this further erosion of wanstead:
    As the garage is in the wanstead village conservation area any redevelopment MUST enhance and preserve the character:
    the current proposal cannot reasonably be said to do either and the WS is failing wanstead by pretending to represent the community and that it has expertise in such matters. it will be a terrible shame to loose such a historic landmark, that i think originally was a tram shed. As it would seem that none of the visually, historically and architecturally important Church Path elevation is being retained this application should be refused. it would be perverse to do anything else. likewise the infill development in Fitzgerald Road cannot be acceptable in view of the above.

  5. It appears my memory was playing me false about it being the village fire station. There was indeed once a fire station on Church Path, but it was moved round the corner to a site opposite the Green, where the building still stands. According to Geoff Wilkinson – “Tucked away on Church path Wanstead is this lovely old building. It is now a family run garage, I and K Brown much used by locals. They service and repair cars. In it’s previous life however, it was used by a ‘ Jobmaster ‘, someone who hired out horses and carriages often supplying the driver as well”. That is equally interesting, and the façade would be quite attractive if it was restored.

  6. Shame we can’t see a scheme that retains the facade, which is very much a Wanstead landmark and of historic value.

    That said, I like good quality modern development but this proposal looks architecturally uninspiring and even a quick glance shows it doesn’t scale appropriately to adjacent housing. I am not even sure it is a tick above the usual crap that is approved by LBR.

    The Council will like this because it is making new homes ( which I presume they are targeted on ) albeit expensive ones.

    However, it would also seam reasonable for them to refuse consent given the Conservation Area context of the devolopment, and any appeal against refusal would not be certain to overturn IMHO.

    The real risk here is not the weight of argument ,for and against, arising from the facts of the case but more that Redbridge’s Officers make a grant decision without adequate challenge and supervision.

    What are the mechanics of local councillor involvement in planning decisions now the committees have gone? That right to ‘overrule’ officers is so key.

  7. If enough people object, it will be taken out of officers delegated authority and be decided by the planning committee. however, another problem is that the planning committee may be influenced by the LBR conservation area panel which has a wanstead society representative! as ive intimated above, for reasons unknown……. WS have nailed their colours to the wrong mast.

  8. Thanks for that Andrew.

    I’d have to say the various Wanstead planning focused local interest groups look more than a bit lack lustre at the moment.

  9. It is really sad to see I&K Brown go, they have provided excellent trustworthy service in all the years I have lived here. A big thank you to them and best wishes for a well deserved retirement.

    What happens with the building is no doubt going to be a controversial debate. From my perspective, if the facade cannot sensibly be preserved, it would be great to see something more adventurous in the spot. The plans look bland, no better than a mock Victorian development.

  10. It would be such a pity to lose this beautiful building. It has the potential to be turned into a magnificent property with very little modification. Surely the whole point of a conservation area is to ‘conserve’. I’ve always admired this building and we need to retain as many of these amazing buildings as possible.

  11. As a Wanstead person for the last 24 years and living on the Counties Estate for that time I am glad we have our conservation status now, I fail to see where the new dwellings fit in. Yes to residential homes with or without the front being kept. Architects have fantastic idea’s these days for keeping the look at the front.

  12. I really don’t know what all the fuss is about. Why are people trying to retain this (let’s be honest) unremarkable building and/or facade? It seems to all stem from English Heritage’s misguided belief that to ‘protect’ an area you must somehow pickle it in aspic and so freeze it in time. Wanstead is changing all the time – buildings come and building go. I have no problem with seeing the ‘landmark tram shed’ go (hand-on-heart, who knew it was there, unless you live near it or use I&K Brown?) and be replaced by 21st century creations. There are worse property abuses going on in Wanstead all the time – look at that hideous giant house appearing on Grove Park? Or what about the endless house extensions and ‘improvements’ (white plastic column and off-street parking for three clapped out Mercedes anyone?) that continue to blight our area. Only a couple of months ago, probably the last remaining house on the Counties Estate that retained its original 1930s Art Deco windows had them ripped out and replaced by hideous white uPVC ones. Yet no-one said a word. Pick your battles. Just pick the right ones.

    1. Although this building is not individually distinguished, it is part of a wider townscape – this corner of Wanstead is a fairly intact and coherent area of mostly late nineteenth century buildings. The proposed development would seriously impact on this.

      Your comments on the aesthetic horrors being perpetrated in other parts of the area are fair enough – the house behind mine is currently having an enormous loft extension installed – but (1) we know about this developer’s intentions, as planning permission is necessary; (2) the area has conservation area status; and (3) total demolition of the existing structure would not be necessary to achieve the developer’s objectives.

  13. This is probably their retirement fund, converting and selling on residential properties.

    I guess we should campaign to keep for the purpose it has served all these years? Maybe a Kwik Fit could move in! Oh wait.. that’s too mainstream.

    The trouble is with the motoring industry is that cars are becoming more and more reliable. Warranties mean that work for the local mechanics is less so.

    Let them have their retirement fund. Let’s not be fickle because you don’t like the look of a really poor 3D render.

    At the end of the day it overlooks a school and is not visible from the High Street. How often do you walk past it?

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