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Havering councillor fears 17,500 new homes will impact negatively on GPs, hospitals and roads

PUBLISHED: 12:30 18 August 2017

A house being constructed on a new housing development. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/PA Images

A house being constructed on a new housing development. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive/PA Images

PA Archive/PA Images

A councillor is worried that community services will come under pressure following a proposal to build more than a thousand homes per year.

Cllr Graham Williamson. Picture: Paul Bennett Cllr Graham Williamson. Picture: Paul Bennett

Havering Council’s draft local plan shows that 17,550 homes are expected to be built across the borough over the next 15 years to meet housing need.

But Cllr Graham Williamson (Independent Residents Group, South Hornchurch), is concerned about the effect the development boom will have on existing residents and services.

“It must be understood, this is not an organic, but rather a sudden artificial, growth and the market will not be able to step in so quickly,” he said.

“Even if we could find the land to build all these properties our quality of life would be seriously threatened by putting pressure on our services, our hospitals, GPs, dentists, our well-being, traffic congestion, and pollution.

“I fear that the necessary money for the infrastructure will not be provided by developers.”

According to the councillor each new property constructed attracts a local community infrastructure levy between £4,500 for South Hornchurch, and £6,000 for everywhere else in the borough.

But Cllr Williamson said the sums fall way below the actual infrastructure costs of £20,844 – a shortfall between £14,000 and £16,000 per property.

“This is admitted in the draft local plan,” he added.

But a spokeswoman for Havering Council said key infrastructure requirements needed to support the additional homes are set out in the the draft plan.

“This includes strategic transport interventions and social infrastructure covering school places, health facilities and leisure facilities,” said the spokeswoman.

In Romford, this includes a new leisure centre, and health hub. Three additional primary classes in the first five years of the plan – likely to be a new school – have also been identified, and a further six after the first five years of the plan.

An additional six to eight secondary school classes in the second phase of the plan are also expected.

Primary and secondary school places are also due to be created for the Rainham and Beam Park development, including improved sports and leisure facilities, and a new health centre.

But Cllr Williamson said he wants to see a demand put into the local plan “that no major developments will be built or phased in without the necessary infrastructure financially guaranteed”.

The spokeswoman confirmed: “Developers will be required to provide infrastructure as part of the development, or make contributions for an external provider to provide it.”

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