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Review of the year: Brexit, mass floods and much more

PUBLISHED: 10:00 31 December 2016

Floods at polling station on the corner of Mawney road and Abbots Close, Collier Row. Picture: @ChrisCockram

Floods at polling station on the corner of Mawney road and Abbots Close, Collier Row. Picture: @ChrisCockram

Archant

It’s a year that has been remembered for diving the country with a monumental decision to leave the EU but it’s also been an interesting year for many other reasons with Havering never short of stories.

Romford Market stall holders with all their Vote Leave plaques and badges and flags. 
Romford Market stall holders with all their Vote Leave plaques and badges and flags.

Brexit dominated the news agenda in the summer but mass floods caused big destruction to many homes in Havering after the River Rom burst its banks back in June.

There has also been big plans for regeneration, problems with travellers and tributes paid to a beloved Romford doorman who was sadly killed outside his home.

Whether it’s been a positive or negative 2016 for you, we hope you enjoy our review of the last 12 months.

Terry Keens with one of her painted signs outside of St Andrew's church in HornchurchTerry Keens with one of her painted signs outside of St Andrew's church in Hornchurch

January

The year started with history being made when Havering Council became the first in Britain to back the “Out” campaign.

A controversial Ukip motion was passed after a two-hour council debate on whether Britain would be better out of the EU. Many members expressed their disappointment that the subject was even discussed in place of local issues, which were left out when the debate overran.

Hylands park floods Credit: Marc RossiterHylands park floods Credit: Marc Rossiter

February

Transport for London (TfL) unveiled its plans to improve safety at accident blackspot Gallows Corner, after a 36-month analysis, but the proposals were criticised by Romford MP Andrew Rosindell and other local figures.

The plans included repainting lines, increasing the size of the roundabout and extending the 30mph approach on the A12 and A127. Mr Rosindell labelled them a “short-term fix”.

March

In March, parents across the borough faced being banned from parking near schools when dropping off and picking up their children in a bid to crack down on dangerous drivers.

The introduction of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) was proposed to fine drivers £100 if they stopped in the restricted zones, and give them criminal convictions if caught three times.

April

Readers from across the borough were shocked when they saw the Recorder’s online footage of a woman who suffers from multiple sclerosis being punched off her feet after an argument over parking.

The woman’s jaw was broken in four places after a single punch floored her outside her business in Ardleigh Green Road, Hornchurch.

May

A church’s alternative signs spread joy – and occasionally caused raised eyebrows among passers-by and its congregation.

The signs outside St Andrew’s Church, High Street, Hornchurch, quoted rapper Kanye West, called Moses a basket case and joked about Jesus having two dads.

They were the brainchild of 63-year-old volunteer Terry Keens, with the story going viral after the Recorder published it.

June

On the historic day that millions headed to the polls and voted to leave the EU, many Havering residents were evacuated from their homes, after the River Rom burst its banks.

Schools and businesses were forced to close, with the worst-hit areas in Collier Row and Hornchurch.

Just a week before, a shocked lorry driver pulled over in Ashton Road, Harold Hill, to find 11 migrants hiding in the back of the truck.

The group of 11 included three children and was made up of people from Iraq and Kuwait.

July

Sets of travellers who moved into four different sites across the borough within the space of a week caused a furore among residents.

After being removed from parks and car parks, the week in July culminated with travellers breaking into a field in Balgores Lane, Gidea Park, and forcing Squirrels Heath Junior School to move its sports day.

August

The council was forced into a U-turn after a frustrated driver brought to light the circumstances behind her being slapped with a £110 fine for parking in what she claimed was a “money trap” bay.

Katie Barden, of Hill Crescent, Hornchurch, was left fuming when she was given a fine for parking in a bay where lines had faded but were still clearly visible.

The story created a furore online, with scores of readers coming forward to share their own parking battles with Havering Council.

September

Havering Council approved the demolition of the Towers Cinema site – also known as the former Mecca Bingo hall – in Hornchurch.

The fate of the building in Hornchurch had been through a year-long saga. The demolition of one of the few remaining Art Deco cinemas in London was opposed by hundreds, but councillors on the planning committee approved the plans submitted by Lidl.

The borough was also shocked when beloved Ricky Hayden was stabbed to death outside his home in Chadwell Heath in the middle of the night on September 13. Friends paid tribute to a “caring and kind hearted” doorman who worked at the Kosho nightclub in Romford.

October

A shocking video of a 15-year-old boy being punched to the floor in Raphael Park’s woods went viral on the internet.

Two teenagers said they had been “disgraced” by the video showing them brutally attacking the boy.

One of the boys said he had received death threats after shocking footage of the assault went viral.

November

Police had to be called to a Havering Council meeting after a protest outside the town hall.

Residents campaigning against the solar park proposals were joined by union representatives opposing a council salary review ahead of a council meeting.

December

Money flooded in from more than 3,500 supporters for Nathan Box, seven, of Hornchurch, to get a life-changing procedure.

Little Nathan, who was diagnosed with the extremely rare condition hypothalamic hamartoma, was denied funding by the NHS for the only known treatment in Texas, USA.

After mum Susie set up a JustGiving page in the hopes of somehow raising funds, the public rallied and raised £100,000 just a little more than a week before Christmas.


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