Victory for Elm Park residents as Planning Inspectorate dismisses appeal to demolish Carrie's Hall
PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 December 2019
A third attempt to demolish a community hall in Elm Park and replace it with houses has been rejected by the Planning Inspectorate.
Residents were disappointed when the owner of Carrie's Hall in Maybank Avenue resubmitted a third planning application to demolish the hall and build two three-bedroom houses and two four-bedroom houses on the land.
The owner appealed against Havering Council's decision to refuse the plans in September last year.
Alison Partington, appointed as an inspector by the Secretary of State, visited Carrie's Hall in October and decided to dismiss the appeal.
The inspector noted that the four new homes would make a small contribution to the housing supply in the area and concluded that the owner had not demonstrated that there was no longer any demand for the building as a community facility.
She said: "All in all, I consider that the proposed development would unacceptably harm the character and appearance of the area. [The new houses] would result in the unnecessary loss of a community facility.
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"Overall, I do not consider that the benefits of the proposal would outweigh the harm I have identified it would cause."
Councillor Stephanie Nunn told the Recorder: "Together Elm Park works wonders, well done to all who objected and submitted a good case.
"We are a community working together to save our assets for all to enjoy."
The hall and the surrounding land was donated by Round Table founder Louis Marchesi in 1958 to be used by the community.
In his memory, the land was called the Louis Marchesi Maybank Open Space.
However, the site was sold off to a private owner who submitted the first application to demolish the hall in 2016.
Before Carrie's Hall was closed in 2017, it was home to groups including WeightWatchers, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Phoenix Pre-school, as well as pilates, zumba and yoga classes.
More than 1,000 residents signed a petition against the owner's third planning application on the grounds that the only reason it remained empty was because the owner gave notice to the groups who were using it.