News Walthamstow

Council approves five-storey housing block on former medical centre site

The Walthamstow flats were approved despite concerns from neighbours about losing daylight and privacy in their homes, reports Josh Mellor, Local Democracy Reporter

A graphic of the proposed flats and communal garden, Credit: Jeremy Hill

Plans to build 37 flats on the site of a former Walthamstow health centre were approved last night despite concerns from neighbours about losing daylight and privacy in their homes.

At a planning committee last night, applicant Jeremy Hill won permission to build the flats at 36 Hurst Road, close to Forest Road, on the site of a former health centre, which was more recently home to the Walthamstow Toy Library.

Several residents attended the meeting to raise concerns about the impact of the building, which would reach up to five storeys, on neighbouring homes and gardens.

But the planning committee voted unanimously in favour of the scheme after council planning officer Lauren Kimpton said concerns about privacy had been “carefully” considered and that there would be no “undue impact” on their homes.

Neighbour Clare Richardson said she would lose “most of [her] sunlight” while Rob Lewis called the height of the building “out of proportion” with neighbouring homes.

Committee chair Jenny Gray was met with laughter from the public gallery after attempting to reassure residents that the committee had “engaged with them”.

She said: “All of the points residents have made have been addressed.

“We are in a situation as committee members where we have to consider strict planning conditions only and I don’t believe there are sufficient planning grounds to reject this application.”

However, Cllr Gray said she would “prefer a lot more social housing” in the scheme, which will only offer three four-bed family homes at London Affordable Rent.

These affordable homes would be equivalent to 16% of the whole development, significantly below the council’s target of 50% of new housing being affordable.

In a financial viability assessment, surveyors for Jeremy Hill had argued he faced a “deficit” of about £1million, although this included a 17.5% profit on the £17m project.

An agreement on affordable housing was later made with Waltham Forest Council after its own surveyors calculated a profit of about £2.7m.

The amount of affordable housing could change at a later date following reviews of the construction costs.

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