Flashback: Green belt building plans quashed, schools lose free milk, and a missing mountain climber
PUBLISHED: 15:00 08 March 2020
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Romford's last hope of housing most of the 2,000 home-seekers on its waiting list was quashed by Essex County Council.
The town's Labour councillors wanted to build on 250 acres of green belt land in north Romford. But after months of negotiation and discussion county representatives finally vetoed the "take-over bid".
They said: "We cannot recommend that land between Eastern Avenue and Lower Bedfords Road should be used for building purposes."
Tentative plans included nine skyscrapers, 39 blocks of three-storey flats, a school, college, church and shops.
The Labour group said if the 250 acres were taken out of the green belt, they could develop the area and reduce the town's waiting list of 2,000 housing applicants.
The group has always maintained the land bounded by Eastern Avenue, Straight Road, Lower Bedfords Road and Rise Park is not "naturally" green belt.
Teachers claimed many youngsters would not be able to get a drink of water when free milk in junior schools was stopped, as there were not enough drinking fountains.
They tried to postpone withdrawal of free milk until the drinking water facilities were properly available.
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But Havering Council's education committee decided that the milk should still be axed.
David Argent of the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers said: "It is not unusual now to see a queue of between 40 and 50 children at a tap during a break."
Ellen Wheatley, of the National Union of Teachers, said: "I don't think it will be positive for all children to have a mid-morning drink of water because there are not adequate facilities.
Education chairman councillor Christopher Kemp said facilities would be looked at but he didn't see it as a reason to delay the ending of school milk.
The mother of missing mountain climber Marc Payne told the Recorder she was sure her son was dead - though his body may never be found.
Eva Payne, of Chase Cross, said she last saw her 36-year-old son before he set off on a climbing expedition in Southern Russia. She said: "His body is entombed in the ice."
She was coming to terms with the fact that Marc was no longer alive, one month after an avalanche hit the mountain he was believed to be climbing with friends.
A Russian helicopter spotted seven bodies almost immediately but hazardous weather conditions were preventing their recovery.
Several of Marc's belongings, including a rucksack and his wallet, were found close to the scene.
He was climbing the notoriously difficult Mount Uzbha.