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As borough embarks on a development boom Havering Council leader says ‘embrace change’

PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 July 2017 | UPDATED: 07:37 17 July 2017

The plan is to build at least 17,550 'high quality' homes over the next 15 years . Picture: Paul Eccleston Arthouse Ltd 2014

The plan is to build at least 17,550 'high quality' homes over the next 15 years . Picture: Paul Eccleston Arthouse Ltd 2014

Paul Eccleston Arthouse Ltd 2014

Change is on the horizon for the borough and we all get to have our say on how it’s shaped.

Wildlife enjoy Bedfords Park. Picture: D Tothill 2009/Havering CouncilWildlife enjoy Bedfords Park. Picture: D Tothill 2009/Havering Council

Havering Council released its Local Plan on Tuesday, July 11, a detailed document describing a range of proposals drawn up by the Local Planning Authority.

From improving public transport to central London with the introduction of Crossrail at Romford, Gidea Park and Harold Wood stations, to new health centres throughout Havering, the changes will have an impact on residents’ lives in one way or another.

Director of neighbourhoods Steve Moore said: “With this plan, we want to try to get as much as possible for the borough.

“It is not just about new populations in the future, it is about the people who are living in Havering now.”

'This part of London is going to change.' Picture: Havering Council'This part of London is going to change.' Picture: Havering Council

The plan sets out that a total of at least 17,550 “high quality” homes will be built over the next 15 years, with an average of 1,170 more homes every year.

This will include the delivery of more than 5,300 homes in Romford and at least 3,000 for the new Rainham and Beam Park development.

Over the past few months, residents have grown concerned over the council’s announcement of more house building in Havering but council leader Councillor Roger Ramsey spoke to the Recorder about why it must be done.

“As part of greater London, we have to comply with national planning rules and provide a certain number of homes, otherwise planning decisions will be taken out of our hands altogether,” he said.

An early years and school expansion programe will increase school places. Picture: Mark SeppleAn early years and school expansion programe will increase school places. Picture: Mark Sepple

“In a nutshell, we are trying to tread a fine line between providing the housing which we need for those in temporary accommodation and the young people who can’t afford to buy homes at the moment, and preserving the character of the area.”

With objections being made to the proposal for more housing, Mr Moore has also stressed the importance of proposing the right amount of homes to build.

He said: “The downside of this if we don’t get this right, if we don’t have a plan, is that we lose control and we will end up having things that we don’t want.

“It is not about housing, it is about embracing change – this part of London is going to change.

“Either we can embrace it and have our say to improve the borough or let this tidal wave of change come and do it for us.”

Besides housing, the local authority is putting a number of proposals forward.

Gallows Corner – named the eighth most dangerous junction in London in 2008 – will be remodelled to increase safety, improve air quality and smooth the flow of traffic.

An early years and schools expansion programme will increase the number of early years and school places for new and existing residents as the population continues to grow.

The plan states that the council is dedicated to protecting and enhancing Havering’s “most valued assets” which are green belt land, open spaces and its rich heritage and historic environments.

Following the decision to scrap the controversial plan for the Market House in the middle of the town centre, Councillor Roger Ramsey is insisting that Romford has not been forgotten.

He said: “We are looking at options to improve shopping in Romford as an area and to improve the flow of shoppers between the three malls we have got and to continue to improve the market.

“Even though we cannot go through with the Market House, we are focusing on the quality of the stalls, we are introducing wifi to enable the stalls to find it easier to take card payments and to continue to attract new traders.”

The vote to approve the draft of the Local Plan will go ahead at the council meeting on July 26 but the local authority wants to hear from residents beforehand about their views.

You can email developmentplanning@havering.gov.uk or write a letter to Development Planning, London Borough of Havering, Town Hall, Main Road, Romford, RM1 3BD

To see the full draft of the Local Plan visit havering.gov.uk


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