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Planning appeal for Harold Hill multi-faith cemetery to go before public inquiry

PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 April 2017

Residents who protested against plans for a multi-faith cemetery adjacent to Maylands Golf Course in 2014. Picture: Paul Bennett.

Residents who protested against plans for a multi-faith cemetery adjacent to Maylands Golf Course in 2014. Picture: Paul Bennett.

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Campaigners who believed they were successful in thwarting plans for a controversial cemetery next to a golf course, are once again fighting proposals.

Lorraine Moss and Jan Sargent lead the campaign against a solar farm in Dagnam Park, Harold Hill. Picture: Paul Bennett. Lorraine Moss and Jan Sargent lead the campaign against a solar farm in Dagnam Park, Harold Hill. Picture: Paul Bennett.

Plans for a multi-faith cemetery on land adjacent to Maylands Golf Course, Colchester Road, Harold Hill, were first submitted to Havering Council in 2014 by Monument Property Investments.

The proposals were refused in 2015 but resurrected last year by a different developer, SRR Developments Ltd and rejected as an inappropriate development of the green belt.

But the plans – for the creation of a burial ground with ancillary buildings, parking and landscaping – were appealed and campaigners plan to hold a peaceful protest before a public inquiry at Havering Town Hall between 8am and 10am on May 9.

“I feel that it will have an adverse affect on the wildlife,” said Lorraine Moss, 48 of Carlisle Road, Romford, who with Jan Sargent, from Harold Hill, started a petition on change.org opposing the cemetery proposals.

The pair successfully lead a campaign against a solar farm in Dagnam Park, and have so far attracted 870 signatures.

“It would also be inappropriate use of green belt land,” Lorraine continued.

“And result in an increase of traffic and disturbance to local residents.”

The land boundary formed along the rear of the properties on Woodstock Avenue distinguishes Harold Hill, Harold Wood, and Romford from the green belt and plays an important role in preventing urban sprawl towards Brentwood.

The site also sits within the Havering Ridge Special Character Area, recognised by the former London Planning Advisory Committee because of its skyline character and panoramic views.

Nigel Wakefield managing director of Node Urban Design Ltd – an award winning urban design and landscape practice, considered the site’s natural beauty in documents supporting the appeal.

“The site forms part of the Weald Brook Valley, with the Weald Brook running along the eastern part of the site. This brook meanders along the edge of the site and is typified by large mature trees, scrub vegetation and grassland,” he wrote.

The wider landscape is also within a 3km radius typified by blocks of ancient woodland, country parks, nature conservation areas, and agricultural land.

Mr Wakefield added that these provided “important habitats” for a wide range of species.

In documents against the appeal, the council’s mineral and projects planning officer, Tom McCarthy, said the council had 31 years of sufficient burial capacity through phased extensions at Upminster cemetery.

“In addition to this,” he continued.

“There is also provision remaining at Romford cemetery, a privately managed cemetery in Rainham, and the cemetery which has recently been granted planning permission at Oak Farm [with] 10,000 burial plots which will allow uncompromised burial for Muslims.”

The inquiry is expected to last four days. To sign the petition click here.

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