Rainham's Ingrebourne Hill site 'could be used to process waste from anywhere'
PUBLISHED: 12:25 24 August 2016 | UPDATED: 17:20 24 August 2016
Developers who have been battling to dump "inert" waste on green belt land are also planning to process it on the site, it has been confirmed.
The four-day public inquiry, which opened yesterday at Havering Town Hall, will aim to decide whether to merge Ingrebourne Hill with Hornchurch Country Park using construction material by re-designing the landscape of the green belt.
The disposed waste will double the size of Ingrebourne Hill.
Residents have opposed the plans since they were first submitted over fears this could lead to a lorry every minute accessing the site and would destroy the ecology of the park.
Iris Tolley, from Blacksmith’s Lane, Rainham, was one of the protesters who gathered in front of the town hall on Tuesday to object to the plans.
She said: “I’m over in Ingrebourne Hill every day to walk or cycle. We are away from the traffic, we can hear the birds – it’s beautiful over there. I definitely don’t want it.”
Robert Woodford, of Rainham Village, added: “I am a tipping driver and I don’t want it. It’s going to have a huge impact on the roads and the environment.”
Ray Randall, from the Friends of Ingrebourne Hill, is concerned about the “huge environmental impact” and joined the protest.
In 2014, newly elected Havering Council rejected the planning application, despite a confidential cabinet report from the previous administration recommending its approval in 2011.
The applicant Ingrebourne Valley Ltd appealed the council’s decision.
Papers circulated during the inquiry showed the company, which purchased the adjacent site from the council in 2011, wants to use the site for “temporary soils treatment and recovery”, which means extracting and processing waste to optimise its use.
But this use of the site did not appear in the initial planning application, pointed out Cllr Michael Deon-Burton, who opposes the plans.
“The processing work was never presented to the council so how can they appeal against something that doesn’t exist? There is no restriction so the waste could come from anywhere,” he said.
Havering Council argues the plans are an “inappropriate development” on the green belt and the inquiry, headed by Inspector Katie Peerless, will determine whether specific circumstances on the site can outweigh the impact of the development.
South Hornchurch Cllr Graham Williamson said: “I am hopeful that the plans will be rejected. The plans include a processing plant and they are not permitted on the green belt.”
In a statement, Rainham MP Jon Cruddas said he was opposed to the plans.
“I want to make it clear to the council that I am in full support of the residents, and am opposed to any plans that endanger the borough’s green spaces.
“The area is one of the few green spaces left in the borough and as such we should be looking to preserve it.
“So on behalf of the residents I would ask that the council opposes the appeal, taking into consideration the negative impact it will have on the community,” he said.