Hare Lodge 'totally flattened' as developers win 10-year battle to build flats on historic Gidea Park site
PUBLISHED: 17:00 06 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:03 06 February 2018
A beloved period building that campaigners fought for ten years to save from the wrecking ball was finally torn down by developers earlier today (February 6).
The decade-long battle to save Hare Lodge, in Upper Brentwood Road, Gidea Park, included four appeals to the planning inspector, all of which were denied.
A Recorder photographer who was at the site earlier today said the old building had been “totally flattened”.
He said: “I couldn’t get anything to show the old structure as it is a pile of bricks.”
Just last week, Havering councillors debated why they had not been allowed to see legal advice obtained by the council that recommended no further appeals against demolition be made.
The development proposed is to demolish the existing building, to make way for four one-bedroom apartments and four two-bedroom apartments with communal amenity space and on-site parking.
The application, submitted in May by Haverbridge Homes, was refused a few months later but following the appeal, planning permission was granted for the building, which was part of the Gidea Park Special Character Area (GPSCA), to be destroyed.
Romford MP Andrew Rosindell has this week revealed he met with the developers to encourage them to amend their original plans for the building to help preserve the area’s heritage.
He says he has been assured the new building will also be called Hare Lodge, and that the sign that used to hang next to the front door will have pride of place in the development’s new communal hallway when completed.
Speaking on Monday, February 5, Mr Rosindell said: “After many years of campaigning to save Hare Lodge, I visited the premises today on behalf of local residents to meet the owner at this 11th hour, for a frank conversation about protecting our local heritage.
“The sad truth is that the existing building cannot now be salvaged, but the owner has agreed that a new Hare Lodge will rise from the foundations of the old, preserving as much of the character, history, trees and landscape as it is possible to do, with the much loved hare featuring prominently on the frontage of the new Hare Lodge!
“Thank you to all the local people and councillors who did all they could possibly do, but we must now move forward and re-double our efforts to work as a community to protect and conserve the special character of our town going forward.”