Number Eight

IMG_81278 Sylvan Road, before the garden was cleared

Residents have united to fight plans to demolish the Victorian house at 8 Sylvan Road and replace it with several new flats. In the first of a series of articles, Kirsty Thomas explains the upset

A network of both local and non-local residents rallied together in recent months to support the objection to a planning request to demolish a beautiful, characterful, 150-year-old Victorian house in Snaresbrook.

The current owners of 8 Sylvan Road have applied to replace this historic building with several oversized modern flats (two one-bedroom, five two-bedroom and two three-bedroom residential units). Over 150 objections have been put to Redbridge Council to oppose this development, including support from the Wanstead Society, the Victorian Society and Councillor Jo Blackman.

This property was built alongside seven others in the 1870s, but sadly, two of them were destroyed in the Second World War. The remaining six distinctive houses, despite also withstanding substantial war damage repairs, continue to stand proud on Sylvan Road.

The Victorian Society – who are ‘the champion for Victorian and Edwardian architecture’ – have written to the council’s Planning Committee to say that: “Number eight [Sylvan Road] is a characterful house in its own right and also has wider group value, being one of six remaining houses of the late-19th century suburban development in the road. Although the road has been infilled with 20th-century housing, the interspersed Victorian dwellings still draw attention and have a positive impact on the streetscape. The loss of number eight would therefore not only constitute the loss of an attractive Victorian building but would also contribute towards the erosion of this character and further obscure the legibility of the initial 19th-century development in the area”.

They have made it very clear, as have most residents in their objections, that the property appears eminently suitable for refurbishment and conversion, if necessary. Demolition should not be a reasonable solution, especially considering Redbridge’s deceleration of a climate emergency in 2019 and the importance of recycling and reusing buildings to help tackle climate change.

The proposed flats are large, overpowering and characterless modern buildings, with both roof gardens and rear balconies which will remove any level of privacy for the neighbours. There is neither provision for parking nor socially affordable housing.

Our whole street feels terribly upset this house and the history associated with it could be completely wiped out in an instant. We are hoping the Planning Committee will listen to the local community and refuse the demolition of this historic building in the heart of our village, as we would like to see it still standing here in another 150 years’ time.

For full details about the proposed development, visit wnstd.com/8sylvan