Five of the proposed towers had to be redesigned after the Ilford scheme was originally given the go-ahead in 2022

A major residential scheme in east London designed by HTA Architects is the latest to be hit by the government’s surprise move to strengthen the rules on second staircases.

Telford Homes’ 1,000-home development in Ilford, consisting of seven blocks up to 36 storeys in height, was originally green-lit by Redbridge council in December 2022.

But the developer said the Chapel Place scheme needed to be adjusted “to respond to emerging revised fire safety guidance”, referring to new regulations requiring second staircases in residential blocks over 18m.

HTA ilford 2

The scheme has been designed by HTA and will include 1,000 homes

Five of the proposed seven buildings on site had to be redesigned with a secondary means of escape. The developer has added an additional 200 homes to the scheme under the latest plans.

The council has now unanimously approved the revised designs for the site, which will become a mixed tenure development of build-to-rent and student housing, with landscaped gardens, a new public park, commercial spaces, and a new Sainsbury’s.

The development will be located on the 2ha site of the former Britannica Works factory, a manufacturer of photographic materials originally founded in Ilford in 1879. The company, which trades under the name Ilford Photo, was one of the earliest makers of photographic plates and established Ilford as a global centre for the industry,

Michael Gove caught housebuilders off guard last July when he revealed the government would lower the threshold for second staircases in residential buildings from 30m to 18m.

Other major housing schemes affected by the ensuing disruption include Westminster council’s £350m Ebury Estate regeneration, Berkeley’s 1,300 Oval Village scheme and a British Land tower scheme in Canada Water.