On Monday 16 September proposals to restore the White Horse Pub in Chadwell Heath were approved at Planning Committee by Barking and Dagenham Council. The plans also included using the existing car park to provide three and four storey flats.
Councillor Andrew Achilleos who sits on the Planning Committee commented: “After reading the report, listening to the testimonies of residents at the meeting and not receiving satisfactory responses to my concerns I could not support the application.”
The concerns raised by Councillor Achilleos centred on infrastructure, housing mix and parking.
Worries were raised about the increased pressure on the local GP. There are two operating GPs at the Ashton Gardens site and at present one of them has been graded as ‘requires improvement’ – there is a concern that care standards will continue to fall with more demand.
Regarding the housing mix, a key consideration in planning, Cllr Achilleos explained: “I wasn’t satisfied with the commitment to provide affordable housing. The majority of the development is private, and what ‘affordable’ housing there is will not be affordable for many residents based on local wages and their relation to market values.”
Concerns were also discussed around parking. The applicant explained that the properties would be marketed as being ‘car free’ but with two and three bed flats the assumption is that families would be moving in – with cars. The surrounding area has just been approved for a Controlled Parking Zone which new residents would not have access to.
Despite his concerns Councillor Achilleos added: “I am pleased about the commitment to renovate and reopen the White Horse Pub, as Barking and Dagenham has the fewest number of pubs in London. The White Horse used to be a real anchor in the local community. I remember the late Cllr John White holding his surgeries there and despite not being happy with the wider development it will be good to restore the community that surrounded the pub.”