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by Jane Ball, News Editor
Monday, March 3, 2014
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder but rarely has how something looks divided opinion so strongly than Rainham’s under-construction library.
In the blue corner is Havering’s culture tsar, Cllr Andrew Curtin, who last week declared the library, which is due to open in April, as the “arguably most perfect building in the borough”.
Meanwhile, in the red corner is former councillor Coral Jeffery, of the Rainham Preservation Society, who described the red-bricked creation, in the Broadway, as an “abomination” and “monstrous eyesore”.
Pulling no punches, Coral said: “Much as I like Cllr Curtin and admire the tremendous amount of work he has done over the years, I really find it hard to believe that Havering’s historic champion can give the thumbs up to this pile of c***.”
The building is one of the heavyweight projects of Havering Council’s Rainham Compass venture which aims to improve the area and quality of life for its residents.
Jointly funded by Havering Council and the Mayor of London, the £4.5million scheme will see 1,200 square metres of expanded library facilities, as well as retail space, a café, nursery and 16 new flats.
When complete, the building will be one of the most eco-friendly in London, and has prompted the capital’s deputy mayor for housing, Richard Blakeway, to declare it a “real triumph of innovative green design”.
But, with echoes of Prince Charles’ infamous “carbuncle” comment, Coral branded the structure “an abomination” which is “reminiscent of a workhouse”.
“I can’t understand how it was ever passed by the planning committee as it contravenes so many of the planning policies,” she claimed. “It’s not conducive to the street scene, it’s overbearing and totally out of character for a conservation area.
“The building has obliterated the lovely open view of Rainham Hall and the village, from the station, and totally dominates the conservation area.
“This abomination, reminiscent of a workhouse, and the disgusting pavement by the war memorial has put the final nail in [Rainham] village’s coffin.”