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Harold Hill campaigners celebrate success after council discontinue solar park plans

PUBLISHED: 11:45 23 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:56 23 March 2017

 Lorraine Moss with Jan Sargent champions who lead the Save Dagnam Park in Harold Hill,  against solar panels campaign.

Lorraine Moss with Jan Sargent champions who lead the Save Dagnam Park in Harold Hill, against solar panels campaign.

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Proposals for a solar park on a nature reserve have been discontinued, it was announced last night.

Dagnam Park protesters hold banners outside Havering Town Hall against the solar park proposals. Photo: Ann-Marie AbbasahDagnam Park protesters hold banners outside Havering Town Hall against the solar park proposals. Photo: Ann-Marie Abbasah

Havering Council leader, Cllr Roger Ramsey announced the decision at a full council meeting, at Havering Town Hall, Main Road, Romford, and was met with a round from campaigners.

Hundreds of protesters had twice gathered outside the town hall with placards and banners opposing the plans and are now overjoyed their efforts were successful.

Lorraine Moss, a campaign organiser from Romford, said: “It is absolutely fantastic news.

“It shows that when people work together [things can get done].

Dagnam Park protesters hold banners outside Havering Town Hall against the solar park proposals. Photo: Ann-Marie AbbasahDagnam Park protesters hold banners outside Havering Town Hall against the solar park proposals. Photo: Ann-Marie Abbasah

“The campaign group was fantastic, everybody played their part. Everyone in the committee pulled together. It is so nice to see people power actually work.

“Some said we had no chance of winning but we gave it a try.”

Cllr Ramsey said: “At the council meeting in January, I reported that the administration would not be proceeding with the scheme at Dagnam Park in its current form.

“Consideration has been given to revised smaller schemes, and I have reached the conclusion that there would be insufficient viability or feasibility to warrant such alternative scheme and that the right course is to discontinue any such plans for the Dagnam Park area.”

The solar park protest outside Havering Town Hall, Romford. Picture: Catherine DavisonThe solar park protest outside Havering Town Hall, Romford. Picture: Catherine Davison

But the council will pursue a possible scheme for the Gerpins Lane site.

“That work will draw on the experience of other councils in schemes under way or planned for their areas,” he continued.

“If any other alternative energy opportunities are identified members will of course be briefed.”

Commenting on Facebook, Jan Sargent, a campaign organiser from Harold Hill, said a party for the whole community to celebrate such a fantastic outcome will be held.

Secretary of the Friends of Dagnam Park, Alan York welcomed the news.

“It’s breathtaking,” he said.

“It’s outstanding but we are still worried about boundaries. As soon as the park boundaries are put back as they were in 2012 when Cllr [Andrew] Curtin gave it to us.”

In November last year, the Recorder reported that the park was not the biggest parkland and nature reserve in the borough as widely thought.

Despite council approved information boards and a council press statement, released in January 2014 heralding the expansion of the park which doubled its size to 345 acres, a spokesman for the authority confirmed the 93 acres of adjacent farmland had not been officially incorporated into the nature reserve.

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