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Waltham Forest approves 750 homes at virtual meeting

Words: Laura Edgar

Waltham Forest Council’s planning committee has granted planning permission for a 750-home scheme in Leyton at a virtual planning meeting. 

As well as the homes, Taylor Wimpey and the council sought full planning permission for the demolition of existing structures and to build five blocks ranging from three to 18 storeys in height on the site of the Score Centre.

The scheme will provide: 

  • 50 per cent affordable housing;
  • indoor sports and leisure facilities (4,851 square metres of class D2;
  • community facilities (1,141 square metres of flexible D1/D2 floor space);
  • a nursery
  • a health centre;
  • commercial floor space (flexible class A1, A2, A3, B1, D1 and or D2);
  • a district heating network;
  • public realm;
  • car and cycle parking; and
  • landscaping.

The approval was in line with the recommendation of the planning officer.

The 1972 Local Government Act requires councillors to be present to decide applications, but the Coronavirus Act, which received royal assent last week (25 March) means that planning committee meetings will be able to be held virtually for the foreseeable future, once secondary legislation is published.

For the meeting, councillors on the planning committee met in a committee room where they maintained social distancing, as set out in government guidance to address the spread of Covid-19. All other participation was conducted through Microsoft Teams.

Cabinet member for economic growth and housing development Simon Miller said: “This meeting was due to discuss the largest homebuilding scheme in the council’s programme and we were keen to make sure that it stayed on schedule.

“Government regulations meant we would not be able to hold a normal meeting due to social distancing, so our officers used Microsoft Teams to allow the committee members to be in one room with officers, applicants, objectors and other observers using the videoconferencing facility.

“At one time around 60 people were taking part and the meeting was a great success, showing the ingenuity of council staff to use technology to deliver democracy during the current Covid-19 emergency.”

The meeting’s full agenda can be found here on the Waltham Forest Council website.

Image credit | iStock