Proposed Romford “doss house” is rejected

A proposed housing development in Romford dubbed a “doss house” by councillors has been rejected

The applicant, P Win Properties Ltd, was proposing to refurbish the first and second floors of the Quadrant Arcade which is currently used as retail and office space.

It also wanted to extend the width of the third floor and create an 85-bedroom development in Market Place aimed at working professionals.

It would include five shared kitchens over three floors.

The tenancies would be offered on a six to 12-month basis.

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But councillors at the regulatory services committee at the town hall on Friday night said the application was unacceptable and not in keeping with the area.

Cllr Jeffrey Brace said: “We will have not control over how many people are in that building. This is a doss house and the worst kind.

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“People will be forced here because they are limited on space.”

Cllr Eric Mundy said: “There is only one access to the flats above the arcade.

“There could be 118 people living there. And with five kitchens – will each of them take turns keeping the kitchen clean? It will be a feeding ground for anti-social behaviour which will not be welcome in Romford town centre.”

Chairman Cllr Barry Oddy added: “I have concerns about the amount of people in what is a relatively small area. There is the very serious point of access.

“The shared kitchen scheme – I don’t for one moment believe it will work.

“People will start taking cooking burners and kettles into their rooms which will present a danger.”

Councillors also added that the developers claim that only working professionals would be allowed to stay at the premises was unclear as it did not specify what kind of professions, and added that the instability of the job market meant people could lose their jobs and still be living at the arcade.

The committee turned down the proposal on grounds of lack of amenity space and unsuitable living conditions; lack of parking; and site management would not be sufficient to safeguard the premises.

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