‘Retirement complex would be a disaster’

PLANS for a massive retirement complex a stone’s throw from the M25 would be an environmental and health disaster, it was claimed.

Worried residents met with local councillors to air concerns about an application to build 131 apartments for OAPs on Green Belt land in Cranham.

The audience – which packed into Moor Lane Church, Moor Lane, on Wednesday evening – heard the near-�15million English Care Villages’ project would wipe out a precious wildlife habitat, expose residents to pollution from the nearby motorway and leave the door open for swathes of Green Belt to be built on.

Residents were urged to get objections to the proposals for the 33-acre site off Moor Lane – which is hemmed in by the A127 to the north and the M25 to the west – to Havering Council’s planning department before the deadline of Monday, September 27.

Cranham councillor Clarence Barrett said: “If this application was approved it would have disastrous implications. The area provides a rich habitat for wildlife and any building work would destroy that vitally important environment.

“It is a major worry for everyone that developers would want to house several hundred of our most vulnerable residents so close to the M25 – one of the busiest roads in Europe which pumps out a great deal of pollution and noise.”

He added: “We are not just concerned for local residents. People who live near metropolitan Green Belt should be concerned about these plans because if given the go-ahead they would open the door for similar applications.”

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Keith Cockell, managing director of English Care Villages, said: “We recently held a public consultation with residents of Upminster and Cranham, and the majority, some 68 per cent of more than 500 respondents, said they were in favour of the plans. They wanted this high-quality development.”

He added: “There is no way we would consider investing in a site which wasn’t appropriate. We have designed a 28-acre parkland buffer between the motorway and residents.”