Flashback: A caravan colony, dumped radioactive waste and blocked parking bays


40-years-ago - Credit: Romford Library

A look back at the biggest local stories from this day 20, 40 and 60 years ago.


Faced with the loss of their homes as a result of an injunction granted in the High Court, people living in a caravan colony at Rainham were “digging in” for a last-ditch stand.

They were led by a fighting committee of six men and a woman. An indication of the urgency with which they viewed their immediate future was that the committee came into being at 1.30am on a Wednesday. The campaign headquarters was on Edward Bastow’s site in Lake Avenue and the battle cry was: “We won’t move until we get other accommodation.”

The caravan site had a tumultuous history.

There was an appeal by a Mr Bastow in 1952 against a Hornchurch Council order enforcing him to stop using it for caravans, which was dismissed.


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A shock plan to dump 6,000 tonnes of radioactive waste at Rainham rocked Havering.

News of the Department of Environment scheme burst like a bombshell on Havering Council at a meeting.

Politicians and conservationists throughout the borough united to fight the dumping.

Hornchurch Labour MP Alan Williams was due to meet Dennis Howell, Minister of State for the Environment, for urgent talks on the issue.

Mr Howell’s department was responsible for the Radioactive Substances Act 1960, the act under which the Department of Environment announced the dumping, scheduled for land at Ferry Lane.

Mr Williams said: “These plans are extremely disturbing.”

Havering Council leader Cllr Jack Moultrie broke the news to his colleagues at a scheduled council meeting. Romford MP Michael Neubert also joined the battle. He said: “If I can influence the decision against the dumping in any way I shall do it.

“To have this dumped on my doorstep is very alarming.”


A scheme to install residents’ parking bays in Romford and Gidea Park backfired following claims up to 100 private driveways could have been blocked and schoolchildren put at risk.

Homeowners in the 14 affected streets in Gidea Park and Romford were fuming over the project, which was being introduced after only 12 days’ notice.

They said the scheme had been botched because parking bays would have been marked out along the streets, including the front of driveways, and no signs were going to be erected telling permit holders they could not park across the driveways.

Parents of youngsters at Gidea Park Primary School were worried the scheme would prevent them from parking safely and started a petition.

Chairman of the Parent Teacher Association Gillian Bell said: “The council has told us to drop children off in the middle of the road. But this is going to cause an accident.”