FAQ

When did the developer submit their application?

Despite Clementina Estates Residents Group requesting a pause in the submission process due to the Covid-19 pandemic Berkeley, the developer, submitted their application for the development at the beginning of May 2020.

What will the development look like?

Berkeley’s drawings are a sketch at present as they haven’t settled on their final aesthetic design. However the image on our home page gives an idea of the over-bearing scale of the buildings in relation to the quaint 2-storey Victorian terrace housing that makes up the Clementina Estate.

What does Community Before Construction want to accomplish?

You can about our demands on the demands page.

There are so many risks involved with re-working this site. If an error is made, or standards aren’t followed perfectly, there would be a serious impact on the health of local residents from the release of hazardous materials. Given the proximity to the school grounds and our homes, we feel like the project is a huge risk.

Our demands include independently testing the air quality, water and toxic soil, before construction, during and after, and remediating this highly dangerous soil off-site. The pollution caused by the site should not add to the already high levels in the area, that includes containing any odours.

If there is any indication that this can not be achieved through prior testing, then the development should not go ahead.

Is there any hope that we can affect a change?

Yes! We do have hope. As far back as 100 years ago, people have been defending clean air and a healthy community here in Clementina Estates. https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=1934-07-27a.2239.0&fbclid=IwAR36gVbIXoAc_T3ILb4WKUh3113btR013u5lvFi_gK04rH4JOK3SEaLDFjU#g2247.3

Other London communities have had great success in diminishing massive high rise developments being forced upon them. In Shoreditch the Community recently marched in protest against the massive Bishopgates Goodsyard development. Due to community actions the development was minimised: going from 1500 homes to 500 homes. 

https://www.eastlondonadvertiser.co.uk/news/politics/sunday-march-planned-in-protest-at-bishopsgate-goodsyard-development-1-4312142

We can make that happen here too! Download our planning objection guide letter.

All of us banding together, clearly articulating our demands and offering to partner in creating a positive development that enhances our Community – now that’s a force to be reckoned with. Berkeley knows this. They can’t afford the sort of bad press they’ll receive from headlines like “…Mothers with children in push chairs blocking construction trucks carrying toxic soil through their neighbourhood”. 

As a former gas works site, what about toxins from the soil?

This is a major concern. 

Berkeley has released an Environmental Impact report on the Clementina Estates gasworks area. It shows numerous carcinogenic and toxic compounds throughout the site, with hotspots of extremely dangerous cyanide and industrial waste.

Berkeley has created a seriously dangerous toxic environment around their Southall gas works development. Current residents there have experienced multiple serious health difficulties since Berkeley began their remediation process, cleaning up the soil there.

Berkeley have been negligent in dealing with materials: leaving a large, uncovered pile of toxic soil to blow into current residents gardens. You can find out more by checking our Resources and Articles pages or going to C.A.S.H.,”Clean Air for Southall”: https://www.facebook.com/CleanAirSouthall/

The Guardian have produced a video and written about the health effects that residents are experiencing.

What about odour from the site?

There is already noticeable odour on some days. As with other gasworks sites, it is highly likely we will experience ‘petrol-like’ odours, at least for the period of construction (5-7 years), and potentially always.

We have been in contact with residents at sites in Haringey and Southall who have warned us of an awful stench that has invaded their homes.

Ramboll have outlined their recommendation for minimising effects as part of the application – but the likelihood is that we will need to keep windows closed and using our gardens would be blighted by an awful odour.

What about our water systems?

Our century old piping system will be highly stressed by the influx of almost 2000 new residents and millions more gallons of waste water pumping through the local system. Thames Water has clearly said they do not intend to update the sewer system despite the increased demand on this already overburdened infrastructure.

The construction also has the potential to pollute the groundwater if not dealt with adequately, as laid out in the initial assessment and Remediation Strategy.

Will I lose light in my garden?

You very well may. 

Residents along both the north and south sides of Clementina will fall in the shadow of the development at different times throughout the day and throughout the year.

Plans for the 9 story building directly south of Clementina road will substantially overshadow gardens and south facing windows. And the 18/17 story towers will cast long shadows over Jubilee Park and along Perth Road almost as far as the school.

Some Clementina residents are planning to get their own independent daylight/sunlight surveys done in order to compare them against, and to challenge, the developer’s assessment.

Please contact us if you’d like to join with them in order to gain traction and reduce fees.

Is this bigger than Motion?

Yes, more than 3 times bigger. Motion is made up of 5 buildings/300 flats. Lea Bridge Gas Works will be 10 buildings, and approximately 575 new flats or possibly more.

How many buildings will there be?

At present the plan is to build 10 buildings ranging from 4 – 18 stories. Three blocks will be 4 – 6 stories with the remaining seven buildings up 9 stories, plus two towers 17 and 18 stories bordering Jubilee Park. There will be one 2-story flat adjacent to the south end of Perth Rd.

Will all the flats be rentals or for sale?

There will be a mix of market priced housing, shared ownership, a small amount of “affordable housing” for rent. The number of affordable rental housing is tentative and developers are known to diminish the amount as much as possible in order to increase their profit. In addition, “affordable”, different from social housing, may well still be out of many people’s financial reach.

What else can you tell me about their affordable housing?

Berkeley’s plan is to have 35% ‘affordable housing’. They also plan to offer almost 1/3 of those ‘affordable’ flats on a shared ownership plan, further diminishing the amount of truly affordable housing available for rent. The monthly cost of the “affordable housing” has been calculated to be higher than the average rent paid throughout Clementina Estates and the surrounding area

How much will the flats cost to buy?

Prices haven’t been set yet. By comparison, in Motion at 97 Lea Bridge Road a 2 bed flat sells for £425,000 – £560,000. https://www.peabodysales.co.uk/developments/motion-shared-ownership/prices-availability/shared-ownership/

Who’s building it?

The developer is the Berkeley Group (https://www.berkeleygroup.co.uk). They create autonomous companies, which are developing hundreds of new residential projects throughout the UK. In the past five years alone they’ve built 19,600 new homes. In 2018 their net income was over £17 million. They’ve “[…] pledged to pay out £1bn to shareholders over the next two years, almost doubling the planned financial award to its investors.” (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jan/22/housebuilder-berkeley-to-pay-out-1bn-to-shareholders)

In 2014 they created a company called ‘St William’ under which they’ve partnered with National Grid to develop numerous old gas work sites all over London and the south of England. (https://www.berkeleygroup.co.uk/about-us/our-brands/st-william).

Does Berkeley have a good reputation?

Berkeley has a reputation for going back on its promises and for bad practices. 

They are currently in litigation with the C.A.S.H. residents group (Clean Air for Hayes and Southall) due to Berkeley’s lack of care in remediating the toxic soil that backs on to residents gardens; much like the health risks we’re facing here. The soil was piled up, left uncovered, and drifted into gardens and through residents’ windows. Many people then experienced life threatening illness: coughing, nausea, headaches, asthma, nasal, throat and eye irritation which they are linking to the pungent petrol/tar like odour form the site; remember, ‘odour equals poison’. More on their work can be found here: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/cleanairforsouthallandhayes/ 
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/aug/27/londoners-claim-toxic-air-from-gasworks-damaging-their-health

Berkeley also made promises to maintain four pedestrian walkways through the established community into their new site; they then turned the pedestrian walkways into four 2-way roads. On their Tunbridge site they initially applied to build 36 homes and eventually re-applied with a request to build 168. They cannot be trusted to keep their word.

What can I do? How can I object to this development?

We’ve made a template objection letter to help you.

It outlines the 5 core reasons why this development should NOT go ahead in its current state. There is also space for you to add in your own objections, additional information and other comments. It is ESSENTIAL that you add your personal comments to make your letter unique – without this, every letter will be counted as one objection.

All you have to do is:
1. Download the letter
2. Fill it in with your comments, name and address
3. Send it to dmconsultations@walthamforest.gov.uk, quoting application: 201329

Below is a link to a blog post that outlines the terms by which developments are often rejected: adverse effect on residential amenities; unacceptably high density or over development; visual impact; highway safety; an overbearing or out of scale development. Is there anything you can rationally argue such as loss of view, change of character, etc.? Be prepared to place your objection on the most impactful grounds. And, it’s very important that we all make as many individual objections as possible. This will have the greatest effect. 

https://planninglawblog.blogspot.com/p/how-to-object.html?fbclid=IwAR0oWjo2UvNWyP1zeItfTe28V-lw2YHyzLjkRHHZ0zGsYwT2lnUt8gFPXLk

How many new flats will there be?

Berkeley estimates approximately 575 flats, however there could be more.

How many new people will move in?

Using the developer figure of 2.5 people/flat, Motion will house 750 new residents. In contrast, GasWorks will be responsible for 1,437 new residents joining our neighbourbood (575 flats x 2.5 people per flat). That’s approximately the total amount of people who currently live in Clementina Estates. 

What will the flats rent for?

Despite asking, Berkeley has not shared that information with us. 

How long will they be building for?

It’s expected construction will last for 5 – 7 years. 

As well as this development, our neighbourhood will experience construction impact from 5 other large sites surrounding the Lea Bridge/Orient Way intersection. This area will be inundated with constant construction for approximately the next 10 – 15 years.

What other developments are happening around here?

To date there are six new developments in the works. On LBR at Elm Road, a three story building is currently under construction. As well as Motion, a 22 story tower will be built over the Lea Bridge Station. On the southwest corner of that intersection, warehouses are expected to be cleared and a 14 story tower complex built. Our beloved pocket park is set for demolition to make way for a block of 6 story flats. And a fourth complex is slated for the southeast end of Jubilee Park.

Is it safe for all those people to cross Lea Bridge Road at Elm Park?

The pedestrian crossing at Elm Park and Lea Bridge Road is known to be highly dangerous. Over the past two years we’ve seen at least two serious car/motorcycle accidents there, plus a collision between a bus and pedestrian resulting in death. And there’s been, no doubt, thousands of unreported close calls as revealed by the home made signs asking for accident witnesses.

https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/safety-and-security/road-safety/london-collision-map?fbclid=IwAR0R4b5QqkuCmrUILIrSnXi3vXFGuXVHgZaytGLhTtSl0nOGg1x2GrVMwjI

With 1000s of new of residents on top of the current population crowding the exceptionally narrow sidewalk there, there’s sure to be more. One option proposed is to retain the wall along Clementina , closing it off, so that GasWorks residents access LBR via Orient Way only.

What about crowding on buses?

At present TFL have no plans to bring back the 48 nor increase bus service through Lea Bridge area. With thousands of new residents flooding the area, overcrowding on buses and trains will definitely be a consideration. Without the 48, parents with children in pushchairs are already having to wait up to 4 buses before they can gain access. And given the spread of Covid-19 due to close contact and despite the implementation of social/physical distancing, the influx of new residents that will crowd transit adds an additional level of potentially fatal consequence. You can let them know your concerns here:

https://tfl.gov.uk/help-and-contact/contact-us-about-bus-staff.
Telephone: 0343 222 1234 (general)

How will all this development affect rents?

Rents in the new build developments in the area are expected to rise 20% over the next 5 years. This according to Lea Valley Research 2019 JLL, who is handling the sale of Motion. JLL is an international property management company originally based in Asia, and specialising in selling new developments throughout the world.

Will there be a new surgery there?

At present there are no plans for a surgery, however much needed. One surgery was considering locating in Motion, however declined due to lack of appropriate parking amenities. Berkeley is open to hearing from the community with suggestions as to what might occupy the ‘community space’ they’ve incorporated.