Rom Valley Way: Planning committee grills pre-application for 860 Romford homes

 Rom Valley Retail Park and Seedbed Centre

Rom Valley Retail Park and Seedbed Centre (outlined in red) could be home to 860 houses - Credit: Mitheridge

Parking spaces and leisure facilities at a possible 860-home development in Romford were up for discussion at a recent committee meeting.

Presented to Havering’s strategic planning committee on July 21 by investment firm Mitheridge and Fletcher Priest Architects, the plans involve demolishing the Rom Valley Retail Park and Seedbed Centre and replacing it with a business space, play and public open spaces and a primary school, plus the homes. 

One of the key issues discussed by councillors at the pre-application review was over the number of parking spaces included in the designs so far. 

Currently sitting at 40, Cllr Reg Whitney said he was “concerned about the parking prospect”, adding: “We’re not an inner London borough, we’re an outer London borough.” 

Others, including Cllr Jane Keane and Cllr Judith Holt, raised similar reservations. 

Cllr David Taylor, however, struck a lone voice in saying he believed 40 was more than enough. 

“I’m of the opinion that we need to be encouraging car-free developments,” he said. “I certainly think that the location of the development close to Romford railway station, and the public transport links, will improve that.

"If there was too much parking on that site, we’d be adding a lot more traffic to that road.” 

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Questions on the plans for leisure centres and children’s spaces were also raised by councillors.

Cllr Keane said: “From what I’ve seen so far, there does seem to be a deplorable lack of leisure facilities for small children and young families, and we are talking about families that will have children. 

“Whilst some families will be able to take their children to clubs and what not, there will equally be a number of families housed there where the opportunities for that kind of leisure won’t be available to them.” 

Further information on how the potential development would maximise the benefits of the River Rom, which runs to its east, and whether a GP surgery would be considered were among the other points put to the applicant. 

As the plans are at the pre-application stage, no decision was given at the meeting.  

However, Havering Council’s assistant director of planning services, Helen Oakerbee, summarised the key considerations by councillors to be taken away by Mitheridge and Fletcher Priest Architects.