Residents fighting plans to relocate football pitches to Harold Hill Nature Reserve
�There are fears that plans to relocate football pitches to Harold Hill Nature Reserve will harm wildlife.
There is opposition to proposals by Havering Council to put the two pitches in the wildlife haven which is home to many protected species including the great crested newt.
Cllr Pat Murray said: “What is the point in having a nature reserve if you are not going to protect it?”
The plans for the nature reserve were revealed at the last full council meeting.
It is proposed to build homes on land near Petersfield Avenue and Gooshays Drive.
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As part of the development, Sport England says the council has to relocate the existing football pitches.
Earlier this year, Sport England rejected the council’s propsals to move the pitches to land near Broxhill.
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Opponents argue these latest plans could impact on the local flora in the area and a number of other species at the reserve.
Cllr Murray said: “The council didn’t get the original pitches that they wanted and now they seem to be adamant on putting them in a nature reserve which has protected species.
“The nature reserve needs to be protected because we have a lack of green space in that part of Harold Hill.”
The site was used as a sports area until the 1980s when it was turned into a nature reserve.
A spokesman for Havering Council said advice has been sought from the borough’s conservation officer.
“The advice that has been drafted by the conservation officer is being followed to ensure minimum disturbance to the landscape and minimal environmental impact on the formation and maintenance of the football pitches.
“The advice also calls for future monitoring of the wildlife in following years to review any impact.”