‘Wholly avoidable’: Romford group laments former Ice Rink development approval

Andrew Curtin from the Romford Civic Society

Andrew Curtin, from the Romford Civic Society, said there were "strong arguments" made against the plans to build on the former Romford Ice Rink - Credit: Archant

The recent approval of nearly 1,000 homes on the former Romford Ice Rink site has drawn the ire of a local group which opposed the plans. 

Proposals for the development, which also include amenities such as a medical centre, retail and café space and gym facilities, were given the green light by Havering Council’s strategic planning committee on Tuesday, April 5, with a final vote of five to three

Robert Whitton, founder and chief executive of the applicant, Impact Capital Group, told the committee that the development will be “a comprehensive, sustainable urban village”. 

Andrew Curtin, chair of Romford Civic Society, gave a representation against the plans during the meeting, and has since told the Recorder that he sees its approval as a "wholly avoidable decision”. 

A 3D mock-up of what part of the development could look like

A 3D mock-up of what part of the development could look like - Credit: Impact Capital Group

Reiterating his belief that there were “strong arguments” against it, he said: “There is just too much on it to make it a high quality of life." 

This point has been debated by Robert Whitton, founder and chief executive of Impact Capital Group, who said the density of the homes is “appropriate for a town centre development”. 

He added: “Every apartment will have private amenity space either in the form of a balcony or garden. The development will also include a large public square and a new green pedestrian thoroughfare that links with Oldchurch Park.” 

Robert Whitton, Founder and Chairman of Impact Capital Group on the site of the old Romford Ice Rink

Robert Whitton, founder and chief executive of Impact Capital Group - Credit: Ken Mears

Andrew said he sees the decision as a direct result of the lack of a masterplan for Havering, which has been long-delayed since the council initially scheduled its completion by spring or summer 2020

“It shows the folly of doing this without any sort of planning structure,” he said. “The current administration is allowing a piecemeal approach.” 

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The leader of Havering Council, Damian White, said the masterplan would not have prevented the approval of the development, as permission had already been granted to build on the site. 

“It would be completely wrong to say that not having a masterplan has led to that planning application,” he said. 

Cllr White added that following the May elections, the council will be in a position to bring forward the masterplan and other associated documents, now that the Local Plan has been adopted.

Councillor Damian White, leader of Havering Council

Cllr Damian White - Credit: Mark Sepple / Havering Council