December 10 2013 Latest news:
by Ramzy Alwakeel, Reporter
Friday, October 11, 2013
Elm Park residents are furious that Havering Council allowed five large telecoms boxes to be built on The Broadway – hiding a community space that cost £15,000 to regenerate.
The 5ft tall boxes are not in contravention of planning permission – but officers had requested confirmation that they wouldn’t be built in front of the community site into which Elm Park Regeneration Group has ploughed thousands of pounds, and hundreds of volunteer hours.
Now residents are branding the boxes “vandalism”.
“This piece of land was derelict until the Elm Park Regeneration Partnership took control of it,” said group chairman Barry Mugglestone.
“Elm Park Regeneration has committed over £15,000 to improve this site – not including the hours spent by volunteers.
“The council promote the flower train planted by volunteers and schoolchildren in its Havering Guide, and has suggested it for London in Bloom – but the way they are allowing these cabinets to manifest, soon no-one will see the train.”
Elm Park Florist owner Tina Death said: “We campaigned and raised money to transform the space into an area children would like.
“You can’t tell me it’s the only spot in Elm Park that these boxes can go. It’s vandalism.”
Havering Council leader Cllr Michael White said officers had sought assurances the community space would not be blocked, and initially received no response.
But he added he believed the issue was now resolved – even though the space itself remains largely hidden from view.
“After numerous requests to Vodaphone and Telefonica for a suitable solution, I’m pleased the temporary fencing and equipment has been removed, and will no longer block the entrance gate to this well-loved community space,” he said.
A Vodafone spokesman told the Recorder the boxes were placed on the hill to meet demand for mobile phone services, adding: “We accept that during the installation of the cabinets the entrance may have been blocked for short periods, and we apologise for this, but now the work has been completed the entrance is unhindered and there is no obstruction to the noticeboard.”
An accomplice to a gang of cold-calling builders who took an 87-year-old Upminster man for £64,000 has been jailed for 18 months for money laundering.