Developer apologises after employee accused of ‘deplorable behaviour’ following vote on former Romford Ice Rink site

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, said that both he and the employee concerned have written to each councillor affected - Credit: Ken Mears

An employee of the company behind the former Romford Ice Rink development has apologised after they were accused of “deplorable” behaviour following a recent committee meeting. 

An incident allegedly happened on Tuesday, April 5, immediately after a 972-home development on the former Romford Ice Rink site was approved. 

Cllrs David Durant, Linda Hawthorn and Reg Whitney - the three committee members who voted against the proposals - have alleged that they were subjected to remonstrations from an employee of the applicant, Impact Capital Group. 

They claim it started by the town hall entrance door but continued outside.

Impact Capital Group chief executive Robert Whitton said he was made aware of the incident, which "related to comments made by an employee of the group outside the town hall, whilst my colleague Nick Shattock and I remained in the council chamber”.

Having launched an "immediate enquiry”, the employee now apologised to the councillors, Mr Whitton said.

The chief executive himself has also written to the trio separately on behalf of Impact Capital, he said.

Independent councillor David Durant. Picture: Archant.

Cllr David Durant - Credit: Archant

Cllr Durant said he was “not intimidated”, but added he “found it deplorable someone would target Cllr Linda Hawthorn, who is a veteran councillor committed to public service".

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Cllr Hawthorn reiterated the allegations, though said she did not want to comment while Havering Council’s legal and governance department investigated the issue. 

Cllr Linda Hawthorn

Cllr Linda Hawthorn - Credit: Archant

A spokesperson for Havering Council said: “Following a recent strategic planning committee, it was reported that a member of the Impact team verbally challenged councillors involved when leaving the town hall. 

“Councillors should be able to undertake their duties without fear of intimidation, and we do not tolerate this type of behaviour. However, since this took place, we are now aware that this person has apologised for their behaviour.” 

Mr Whitton added: “The complaint was made by some councillors, who have via planning officers requested an apology for remarks made. 

"The employee concerned has written to apologise to each councillor as requested.  

“I have also written to each councillor separately on behalf of the group, as we believe that it is fundamentally important that elected representatives are at all times allowed to conduct their democratic functions in an atmosphere of respect.” 

A 3D mock-up of what the development at the former Romford Ice Rink may look like

A 3D mock-up of what the development at the former Romford Ice Rink may look like - Credit: Impact Capital Group