OPPONENTS of a large Tesco development in Highams Park have voiced their objections before it is debated by council planners.

The decision whether the supermarket giant is allowed to build a 24-hour store, 253 homes, a 350-space underground car park, shops and rented space on industrial land off Larkshall Road, Highams Park, will be made on Tuesday, September 8.

But in a meeting, arranged by residents' groups the Highams Park Forum and the Highams Park Society and attended by about 80 people, the mood was clear – the Tesco is not wanted.

Residents voiced concerns about how local schools would cope with an influx of new pupils from families moving into the new homes, the size of the proposed homes, the effect on traffic caused by the proposed store, and how the design of the store blends with the local area.

Kathy Woodman, a retired headteacher, of Beech Hall Road, said: “If there are going to be 253 flats that means there are going to be around 180 families with children.

“That means there are going to around 400 children which will be looking for places at our local schools from day one.

“Has anyone thought about the impact this will have on our area?”

However, council officers have recommended that Tesco make a £530,245 contribution to local primary and secondary school expansions and £1 million to healthcare costs if a polyclinic is not built opened.

Offices also recommend that Tesco contribute £353,375 to the cost of improving roads near the proposed store.

There were also concerns raised about the size of the proposed homes.

Millie Balkan, 17, of Hale End Road, said: “The proposed homes are the size of match boxes. It is going to be couples rather than families moving in to them or they are going to be let.”

Trevor Calver, of Larkshall Road, claimed the proposed houses were smaller than specified by the council's Unitary Development Plan.

Residents were also worried that there were far more homes proposed on this application than on previous ones at the public meeting in Highams Park Secondary School, Handsworth Avenue on Wednesday, September 2.

Sandeep Christian, Highams Park Society chairman, voiced concerns about Tesco's design and feared residents in Selwyn Avenue would lose privacy and attractive views if trees screening them were to be cut down.

He added: “Tesco is planning to build the slums of the future. The flats will be five or six stories high. This kind of architecture bears no resemblance to Highams Park.

“At least the Aldriche Way estate bears some resemblance to Highams Park when it was built in the 1960s.”

The council has also advised Tesco to contribute £170,000 to planting new trees and public art.

Neighbouring Redbridge Council has objected to Tesco's plans because it claims that the shopping area in South Woodford would lose ten per cent of its trade if the development goes ahead.

The nearby authority also believes the development location contravenes its planning guidelines, those of Waltham Forest Council and government guidelines on building on town centres.

A total of 159 objections to the development, which is called Highams Green, were registered during the consultation process, while five individuals or bodies supported it.

A previous Tesco application to build on the site was blocked by then secretary of state for local government and communities Ruth Kelly, who ruled the previous plan was not in-keeping with its surroundings.

A Tesco spokeswoman said: "Tesco will be giving the council as significant contribution to spend on education in the area.

"It can either decide to build a new school or spend the money on improving existing schools.

"Tesco believes that the size of the homes are appropriate and comply with the life time home standard, which is a recommendation by the government.

"As far as traffic is concerned Tesco has carried out its own traffic survey and the council and Transport for London has also monitored the situation. Tesco believes there would be no problems with traffic if the store is approved."

She added: "We believe that the store is post modern but has elements of history such as the William Morris designs on the walls."