Raphael Park, Romford, sewage problem “won’t be resolved” before �2.2m development - Havering Council

Long-running problems with sewage leaking into Raphael Park will not be addressed before the park’s �2.2million development begins, the council has confirmed.

Sewage pipes below the Romford park have been faulty for more than a decade and heavy rainfall can lead to raw sewage seeping up through the ground.

But the problem will not be addressed before work commences following the park’s award of Heritage Lottery Fund money – leading to concerns from local residents.

“We’ve been aware of this problem for the last 20 years,” said Dennis Burns, 51. “It’s a real health issue Every time it rains raw sewage is forced up through the grass and into the lake.

“There’s no point putting a plaster over a gaping wound. They need to do the job properly.”

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A council spokesman said the problem was “out of our hands”.

“There has been a problem with the sewer overflowing during periods of very heavy rain for many years,” he said. “Thames Water, a Statutory Body, is responsible for the maintenance and structure of the sewer.

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“We have been in lengthy contact with Thames Water every time there is a leakage and they have carried out numerous investigations. The problem will not be resolved before the development work starts but should not affect what we aim to achieve.”

Plans have yet to be finalised for the park’s development but a series of public briefings have taken place, with proposals including the development of the caf�.

Mr Burns said he was concerned about the possibility of the caf� being granted an alcohol license as the park had suffered problems with antisocial behaviour in the past – but the council spokesman said nothing had been ruled out of the plans.

He added any application for an alcohol license would need to go through the licensing committee.

“If there’s the possibility of a drinks license, that’s going to get fierce opposition,” said Mr Burns. “We’ve had problems with people getting drunk in the park before. If you encourage alcohol back into the park you’re back to square one.”

Ward councillor Robby Misir said it would surprise him if the park were granted an drinks license. “I can’t think of any other park in the borough with an alcohol license,” he said.

“Parks are for young kids. Raphael Park is a beautiful park and I wouldn’t want teenagers going in there with cans of beer and upsetting the youngsters.”

Thames Water had not responded to the council’s allegations as the Recorder went to press.

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