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»Havering Council’s cabinet has agreed to sell land next to Rainham’s Melville Road Allotments for residential development.

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The recommendation, which was agreed at Wednesday’s meeting at the town hall, was to dispose of about 1.53 acres of land and for the creation of additional allotments on 0.6 acres.

The sale will be subject to planning permission and the approval of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Officers said the land adjoining Melville Road Allotments had been unused for 24 years and recommended extending the adjoining allotment site for use by local people and then looking at providing extra car parking, fencing, water supplies and other facilities for the gardeners.

Councillors agreed that the remainder of land should be sold for residential development for family homes.

Cllr Roger Ramsey, cabinet member for value, said: “We are increasing the number of allotments in the borough.

“There is broad agreement that the 0.6 acres expansion will meet the local allotment society’s overall needs. The land will be restored to top quality for residents.

Important

“If given planning approval, the 1.53 acres would be developed for family housing. This forms part of Havering’s overall strategy in identifying disused land to provide much-needed housing in this borough.”

Cllr Andrew Curtin, cabinet member for culture, towns and communities, said: “It will be very good to see extra allotment sites in the south of the borough.

“Priority for them will be given to Havering residents, and our waiting lists for plots are coming down.

“Allotments are very important to our residents, and so we have increased the number of them in the borough and are investing in sites.”

The land, including the disused land, was previously managed by Hornchurch and District Allotments and Gardening Society Limited.

Officers said in their report: “However, high levels of vacancies due to a lack of demand for such use resulted in the society relinquishing the land for allotment use. The site has, therefore, been vacant since 1988.”

Richard F wrote on website Street Life: “With long waiting lists across the borough and years of waiting across the country, a time of high unemployment and the need for outdoor exercise, now is not the time for this council to remove food growing land from the people of Havering.”

Angela L also wrote on the site: “They should not keep taking land when we are all having to gradually go back to basics and will need to provide a lot of our own food to survive.”

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