Rainham residents fear church and foodbank’s move to new premises could restart dangerous traffic issues
PUBLISHED: 07:23 25 September 2019 | UPDATED: 07:23 25 September 2019
Rainham residents have voiced their concerns that plans for a new church and foodbank premises on the Orchard Estate will lead to the resurrection of long-running traffic safety issues there.
Last week, the Recorder reported that plans for Rainham Foodbank to move to the first floor of Mick Fury House in Lowen Road, Rainham - converting it from office use to a food bank and a place of worship - had been submitted to Havering Council.
Should the plan be approved, the floor would become the new home of Rainham Foodbank - a Christian charity that has helped support more than 18,000 people since its foundation in 2011.
It is run by King of Kings Community Church - which would also seek permission to use the premises as a place of worship twice a week on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings.
But South Hornchurch ward councillor Natasha Summers revealed that news of the proposed move had not gone down well with residents.
The Independent Residents' Group councillor said: "We have no issue with there being a food bank, we want a food bank. But it won't be a food bank, it will be a church.
"There will be people coming at all times of the day and night and there will be noise and other issues impacting on local residents.
"There has been very little communication about these new plans, and people were quite shocked to read about it in the paper."
In 2017 Cllr Summers and a group of residents campaigned successfully for more road safety measures to be introduced around the nearby Newton Primary School.
That school is less than a minute away from the proposed new location of the food bank, and Cllr Summers and other residents fear the effect it could have once again on road safety, particularly as the plans only allow for eight car parking spaces.
She told the Recorder: "We spent months in 2017 fighting to make that road safer, we almost had four children knocked down by cars there.
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"It was a real problem and now we're all worried that it's going to be happening again.
"There will be more people parking there, more deliveries at all times of the day and night.
"Eight spaces just isn't enough, there are going to be a lot more people than that driving to the church."
In the planning statement submitted on behalf of Rainham Foodbank to Havering Council, designers insist that parking and traffic disruption will not be an issue.
The application reads: "Within the Orchard development, Rainham Foodbank and associated activities would be assigned eight parking spaces within the gated area.
"At weekends, an additional 14 spaces are available within the gated area, with 13 more parking spaces available outside the controlled area for use by users of the community facility when required.
"In addition, people visiting the site for counselling, learning trade and the elderly are not car users.
"The additional use of the site as a place of worship currently attracts limited numbers of car users.
"Therefore, the proposals would not result in undue impact on the road network, nor would it result in indiscriminate kerbside parking on site and the surrounding area, as there will not be a perceived increase in vehicular activity."
In other documents submitted as part of the application, the foodbank says the property would be in use seven days a week, open between 8am and 8pm.
It would run as a foodbank and counselling service from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and from 9am to 12 noon at weekends.
The plans have already been subject to pre-application discussions between the applicant and Havering Council, with the key issues raised in those talks being the impact of noise and general disturbances on nearby residents.
Havering Council is due to make a decision on the foodbank's planning application by October 10.