Rainham residents angry over village green inquiry

CAMPAIGNERS trying to halt flats being built on a green belt land have accused Havering Council of jeopardising a public inquiry by trying to take over the land.

Havering Council announced a few weeks ago an application for the appropriation of land for planning purposes for the grassy area between Ongar Way and Newtons Corner, South Hornchurch.

Campaigner Ian Weatherley said: “I think that it is disgraceful because the council should be concentrating all of their efforts on our public inquiry instead of doing this.

“I think it is just sneaky and it is extremely underhand.”

The campaigners argue that as part of the council’s plans it would mean that they would be able to sell the land to developers who would be able to build flats and houses on the site.

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The residents launched the public inquiry into village green status to prove that the land has been used for recreational purposes over the years to stop developers building flats on the site.

But they argue that they have no date when the public inquiry will take place after councillors postponed the orginal date in October.

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Ian said: “We do not know what is going on because we have no date for the public inquiry.

“But we are not against the actual application but we are against the over development of the site and the high density of the flats and houses on the site.”

Residents are being urged to make their objections to the plans to take over the land by January 7.

Objections can be raised by writing letters to the council against their plans for the appropriation of the land for planning purposes.

Ian said: “The council are suppose to be working for the residents and the community and by doing this they are actually working against us.

“We want to be able to work with the council to bring about something that is fair for the area.”

Cabinet Member for Legal Services, Councillor Geoffrey Starns said: “We will be holding a public inquiry to consider the application to register Ongar Way as a Town or Village green in the first half of this year. All of the evidence will be considered by an independent chairman who will make a recommendation after all the evidence has been presented and considered. “

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