East Ilford Betterment Partnership is fighting to get Ilford a London postcode.
Life-long resident Wilson Chowdhry first launched our campaign to change Ilford’s IG1 postcode to E19 in 2005, explaining that a change would make Ilford more attractive to investors and would help aspiring business gain contracts from inner London.
After TV presenter Dan Wooding recently said Ilford’s Valentine’s Park was in Norfolk and then Essex, the 42-year-old father-of-three wants to end the confusion by bagging the next east London postcode once and for all.
Mr Chowdhry, whose buisness is on Green Lane, said: “I’m Ilford born and bred and I love this place it’s an affinity that cannot be broken!
“I’m proud to hail from the London Borough of Redbridge – often falsely labelled as Essex.
“If I have a problem with any local authority service, it’s a London borough council I go to, not Essex County Council.
“Few would argue that Eastenders is a TV series based on London
life and its fictional town of Walford was a merge between the names of the neighbouring towns of Walthamstow and Ilford.
“Even 30 years ago the creators of the soap identified Ilford as a London town – so why can’t we accept it?
“It really annoys me when people say Ilford is in Essex, because my generation and the current generation don’t identify with that label at all.”
Mr Chowdhry, who is also chair of the Ilford-based British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), believes the IG1 postcode has resulted in local businesses being discriminated against by large national contractors working in London, who believe his business operates further away from inner London than they actually are.
“We are a 10 minute journey from Stratford with whom we have a boundary they are applying for Inner London status, knowing full well this will bring in enhanced investment – we need to prepare ourselves for the same,” he said.
He added: “Stay on the train for a further five minutes and your are at Liverpool Street.”
Mr Chowdhry believes that Redbridge’s failure to embrace their new London identity was one of the reasons Redbridge lost out on being an Olympic host borough for the 2012 Games.
He said: “Both Waltham Forest and Newham are formerly parts of Essex too, but a passionate acceptance of their new London status has meant that respectively one is the current Mayor of London’s Borough of Culture and the other held the Olympics.
“We have been shadowed by their achievements because of the strong role in regional identity that postcodes have exhibited.”
“No-one would deny either of them is in London yet they share the same heritage as Redbridge?
He said: “When businesses started applying for contracts for the London Olympics Ilford businesses were listed as being in Essex not London – a tag which failed to promote our neighbour status to the now hugely developed Borough of Newham.
“Furthermore, I’ve spoken to a lot of estate agents who believe house prices would rise if we had E19 postcodes not IG1 ones this would be good for local homeowners and will drive further investment.
Royal Mail has a procedure for changing post codes to meet community demands despite their denials But communities have to prove it is widely supported. However, when the EIBP initially took a proposal to a full council meeting in 2005 most councillors had resided in the borough since before its adopted London status in 1965 and were possessive of their previous Essex identity.
However EIBP is still determined and due to bring up the issue with Redbridge Council in June [Full Council Meeting 20th June] and we believe the younger make-up of the current cohort improves the opportunity for change.
Mr Chowdhry said: “The Olympic village in Stratford obtained a new E20 postcode, so it is possible. Moreover, there is a process for customers to request a change. The Royal Mail’s Code of Practice states that postcodes can be altered in “exceptional circumstances” if there is evidence that all those affected are in favour – we must collectively seek the change.
“Our cultural aspirations are very different to people in Essex, our communities are more diverse and our life moves at a faster pace.
“We must cherish our Essex past for sure, but our future is aligned with London and now is the time to embrace that change.
To sign our petition, please (click here).