A Rainham green space will be protected from future development despite its lack of village green status, Havering Council has insisted.

Dovers Farm Green, a popular green space which houses a war memorial commemorating ANZAC soldiers, has been the subject of development applications since 2015.

The most recent, submitted by the council itself, was initially green-lit in August 2019 but withdrawn the following month, with leader Cllr Damian White saying the decision was linked to the mayor of London’s approval for an “intensification” of the Beam Park development in Rainham.

Future stages of the Beam Park development have since become uncertain, but the council has re-stated its commitment – first made when withdrawing its planning application – to protect the site in the next Local Plan review.

The Beam Park Labour Team, who do not believe this is strong enough, recently set up a petition asking the local authority to grant the site village green status.

Romford Recorder: Left to right: Matt Stanton, Cllr Keith Darvill and Trevor McKeever.Left to right: Matt Stanton, Cllr Keith Darvill and Trevor McKeever. (Image: Beam Park Labour)

Local residents applied for this in 2016 but were rejected by Havering Council in its role as Commons Registration Authority.

A 2018 Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed the council had spent more than 381 person hours and £100,000 on denying the site village green status.

Having failed in their application to the Commons Registration Authority, village green status can now only be attained if the landowner – also Havering Council – grants it voluntarily.

Matt Stanton, a local resident involved in the campaign to protect the green, complained that, as the landowner, Havering Council could not be independent as the Commons Registration Authority.

Matt, a prospective Labour candidate for the new Beam Park ward, added: “Havering Conservatives spent the last six years in various ways trying to build on Dovers Farm Green and consistently disregarding the wishes of residents.

“Village green status is the only way to guarantee the future of this open space for new and existing residents.”

A spokesperson for Havering Council said the location of future housing beyond 2031 would be decided as part of the Local Plan review.

“The council’s administration has already stated its support for protecting this site into the future and will be looking to extend this protection in the upcoming review of the Local Plan," they added.

Cllr Keith Darvill, Labour's leader in Havering, will submit the petition – which they say has 362 signatures – at the next full council meeting on March 23.