Report By Sam Adams, Wanstead & Woodford Guardian. Reproduced with permission.
Council under fire for not protecting street
Worried residents claim council dithering is threatening to destroy the distinctive character of one of Redbridge’s grandest streets.
Two years after the council proposed an ‘Article Four Direction’ on houses in Spratt Hall Road, Wanstead, which would give them more protection than those on any other street in Redbridge, it has still to be implemented.
The direction would stop residents making alterations which undermine the street’s Victorian appearance, and leave householders having to apply for planning permission for even minor changes, such as replacing roof tiles and windows.
Andrew Wernick, of the Wanstead Society, said the delay has already allowed some residents to make unsightly alterations to their houses.
He added: "Spratt Hall Road is one of Wanstead’s most architecturally important streets and deserves extra protection.
"It is part of a conservation area, but this doesn’t really give it much protection, as residents are still free to make smaller alterations such as paving over their front gardens and replacing slate roofs with concrete tiles, without needing planning permission.
"These cnanges make a big difference to the look of the road, and that’s why I asked the council to give it extra protection two years ago, which they agreed to, but still haven’t put into force.
"The character of this road, and of the area of the whole, will remain at risk until the council takes the action it said it would."
These views were backed by Spratt Hall Road resident, David Whittingham, who slammed the council for taking so long to act.
He said: "Most residents believe the road needs more protection than it does at the moment, and it’s about time the council put its money where its mouth is and addresses this."
A council spokesman said: "While the potential for an Article Four Direction was flagged in the conservation area character appraisal for Wanstead Village in March 2006, this approach as part of the broader preservation and enhancement scheme was only formally agreed by cabinet in May 2008, ie it was not agreed to two years ago, merely proposed."