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Havering’s planning committee delayed decision on 36 new homes in Romford because the proposal was “too fluffy”.

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Plans were put forward to demolish a warehouse and office in Oldchurch Road, and build two blocks of flats and two semi-detached houses in their place. There would also be an underground car park.

But there was unease over a lack of space for refuse lorries to turn around within the site – and committee members feared this could lead to Oldchurch Road being blocked for buses and ambulances while bin collectors reversed up the entrance.

“I’ve got a class-one HGV so I have a reasonable idea how to reverse a lorry,” said Cllr Barry Tebbutt (Conservative, Brooklands). “The report is too fluffy about access and egress. I wouldn’t want to turn a lorry round there myself.”

Cllr Ron Ower (Residents’ Association, Upminster) added: “My concern is refuse lorries would be blocking the road for blue-light ambulances.”

Cllr Paul McGeary (Labour, Heaton) also expressed concern about the low level of affordable housing in the development – three homes, compared with the proposal for 13 affordable homes put forward in a previous version of the plans.

That version had seen approval withdrawn after the applicant failed to complete a section 106 agreement – a plan for investment and additional building in the surrounding area to mitigate the effects of the development.

The previous version had also contained more three-bed flats, whereas the current plans were mainly for one- and two-bed homes.

Cllr David Durant (Independent Residents’ Group, Rainham and Wennington) said: “Over the years there have been too many one-bedroom flats built and I wonder if we are creating a ghetto in the interests of meeting planning targets.”

A motion to defer decision so planners could address the concerns was passed by nine votes to two. The developer will also be asked to confirm details of lighting and CCTV cameras in the underground car park.

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