The council is going to allow 30 000 new properties to be built in Havering please see http://www.romfordrecorder.co.uk/news/havering-council-sets-out-new-vision-for-a-greater-and-more-active-role-in-the-capital-1-4902876 . This will change Havering beyond recognition. Last June a planning application to build 32 new dwellings on the green in New Zealand Way was submitted by Havering Council. Local residents and Cllr's spoke against this application and when it went before the planning committee, permission was refused. The applicant being Havering Council were not able to appeal the Regulations Committee decision. An application to The Commons Regulation Authority to grant the green "village green" status was submitted on July 4th 2016, the residents are still waiting for a decision to be made.
In March this year, another similar application was again submitted. This is despite the fact that the village green application is pending. The application mirrored the previous one, the number of dwellings had been reduced by 2,(From 32 dwellings to 30 houses) The land proposed to be built on was now 80% of the area. Also there had been a few contrived tweaks in order to tick a few more boxes. However, there was one significant difference, this time the applicant was a private developer. This would mean that even if the planning committee refused planning permission the applicant would still be able to appeal to the Secretary of State.
The residents of New Zealand Way have fought a fantastic campaign against this development, with the assistance of their local Cllr's and all of the parliamentary candidates. It would seem that the only person who thinks this is a good idea is Cllr Damian White. The application went before the Regulatory Service Committee on Thursday 1 June. There was a well-attended protest outside the Town Hall and the residents were joined by local Cllr's, activists and 4 of the parliamentary candidates. All four Parliamentary Candidates went on record supporting the Village Green Status.
A local resident addressed the committee. Cllr Michael Deon Burton had 4 minutes to speak as one of the ward Cllr's. He stated how surprised he was that this application was again before the committee and cited the reasons why the previous application was refused. Cllr Burton highlighted that this application conflicted with Havering's own planning policies and explained how much this valuable green space is used by the community.
Cllr David Durant also was allowed to address the committee for 2 minutes. Cllr Durant asked the Committee to defer the application in order to establish whether the correct procedures had been followed. There are conflicting depictions of status for the green, 1, an adopted Grass Verge and 2, Open Green space. Cllr Durant stated that a decision had to be considered by cabinet before it could be released for housing. There was also the fact that there is a pending application for village green status.
Cllr Damian White also addressed the committee and stated that these new homes are urgently needed and he then said something along the lines that we cannot accede just because people shout loud. It would seem that this was a comment directed at the protesters.
Cllr Graham Williamson proposed a motion to defer this application in order to clarify all of the legal issues. The motion won by 7 to 4 votes.
Many people would think that the best result would have been a refusal, but this would then lead to the applicant being able to appeal. A deferral was a fantastic result for the residents. The war is not over but they have won the second battle. Keep a close eye on any Green space near where you live. It could be the next one threatened.
Photos from The Romford Recorder AnnMarie Abbasah
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner--