Lee-Ann Richards, Reporter
Monday, February 25, 2013
Councillors went against the recommendations of planning officers and changed the use of a building on an industrial site.
The committee gave the go ahead for Enterprise House in Farringdon Avenue, to be changed from an industrial warehouse to a retail unit at the Regulatory Services Committee meeting on Thursday February 21.
But Cllr David Durant (Independent Local Residents’ Group, Rainham and Wennnington) has since argued that it could leave the door open for the building to be turned into a supermarket.
He said: “They have potentially given the go ahead for a large supermarket to open there with free parking within a ten minute walk from Harold Hill’s main Hilldene Shopping Centre.
“The Harold Hill Ambitions project involved making the most out of the shopping centre and at the moment there is a controversial plan going through to introduce parking charges at the centre, these plans could take people further away from the shopping centre.”
The committee had been advised from planning officers that the application should be refused because it is situated within a designated strategic industrial location and the proposal is located in an out of town location.
But Cllr Lesley Kelly (Con, Harold Wood) argued that it was an opportunity to put an empty building back into good use
She said: “I wouldn’t want to disagree with planning officers, but I think in these difficult times we need to look at ways that we can make money from a unit like this.
“This is an empty building that is falling into disrepair and it also has the potential to turn into an eyesore.”
The proposals for the building include parking provision for 48 vehicles and employment for 25 full time and 30 part time staff, who would be recruited locally.
The application originally came before the planning committee in November 2011, but it was deferred so that a number of questions could be addressed.
Since then the application has been revised.