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Havering Council comments on rumours that Harold Hill shops and flats will be demolished

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 March 2019

Broken pay and display machines have led to a downturn in business for shops on Hilldene Avenue

Broken pay and display machines have led to a downturn in business for shops on Hilldene Avenue

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Following rumours that shops and apartments in Harold Hill will be demolished Havering Council has revealed that new proposals for regeneration will be submitted.

L-R: Lisa Cummings development manager at Wates, councillor Jan Sargent and Lia Silva, development director at Wates Residential outside Harold Hill Library. Cllr Sargent took Lia and Lisa on a tour of the area.L-R: Lisa Cummings development manager at Wates, councillor Jan Sargent and Lia Silva, development director at Wates Residential outside Harold Hill Library. Cllr Sargent took Lia and Lisa on a tour of the area.

The Havering Council is considering plans for a phased development in the Farnham and Hilldene area with the first phase on the site starting in autumn 2022.

Leader of the council, councillor Damian White, said: “We have been in consultation with residents regarding development plans for Farnham and Hilldene since 2016.

“We originally wanted to build up to two storeys of accommodation above the current buildings, but after listening to residents’ unhappiness about the standard of current accommodation and concerns around antisocial behaviour, the plans were changed.

“The new proposals will see the regeneration of Farnham and Hilldene which will protect existing businesses and vital community services while bringing new investment and opportunities into Harold Hill.”

Cllr Jan Sargent took Lia Silva and Lisa Cummings on a tour of Harold Hill ahead of the council's plans for regeneration in the area. Photo: Cllr Jan SargentCllr Jan Sargent took Lia Silva and Lisa Cummings on a tour of Harold Hill ahead of the council's plans for regeneration in the area. Photo: Cllr Jan Sargent

Havering has been holding one-to-one meetings with businesses and residents to update them on the proposals and hear their feedback as well as discuss their re-housing options.

The plans are currently in consultation phase and as of yet no planning applications have been submitted.

Jan Sargent from the Independent Residents’ Group told the Recorder: “The area definitely needs improving.

“I’ve been into resident’s homes and you can see that the whole structure needs renovating.

“A lot of the residents and businesses are concerned with what’s going to happen but from my discussions with the director of regeneration it sounds very positive.

“It’s a case of hold fire and see what happens.

“We are concerned that there will be enough affordable social housing which could help with the council’s waiting list.”

Cllr Sargent added more security is needed to tackle incidents of anti-social behaviour.

“I’ve asked if we could have a new shared services hub, perhaps in one of the retail areas,” said Cllr Sargent.

“It could be shared between Havering Council and police for residents to network and report crimes.

“The area behind the flats in Hilldene Avenue is currently a haven for anti-social behaviour because of the way it’s set up.”

Kim Bird, the owner of Comet Carpets in Hilldene Avenue said that she doesn’t see how the regeneration will tackle the anti-social behaviour.

“I think the shops work well as they are. We’ve been here for more than 30 years and I think it’s a unique little shopping area that is doing well,” said Kim.

“I’ve heard that there is an issue of shop lifting but that’s a security issue. We need more police on the streets to help with that.”

Cllr Sargent met with Lia Silva, development director and Lisa Cummings development manager at Wates Residential - the council’s regeneration partner - to show them around the Farnham and Hilldene area on Friday, March 15.

She said: “I wanted them to experience the sense of community and passion we have for our area.

“They seemeed very impressed and described our Dagnam Park as a ‘secret gem’.

“It would be nice to incorporate some of the history into the plans for the shopping centre. They want to make it a more people friendly place.”

Havering Council plans to hold another public consultation for businesses and residents in the coming months.

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