Romford Meals on Wheels depot gets go-ahead - despite noise concerns

“We have to remember this is a service that keeps these people alive.”

So said deputy council leader Steven Kelly when colleagues threatened to oppose a new Meals on Wheels collection depot at last week’s planning meeting at Havering town hall.

Cllr Kelly was responding to concerns that the depot – which eventually passed by a majority of nine to one, with one abstention – would generate excessive noise if it were allowed to operate seven days a week.

“This feeds 400 elderly, isolated people who can’t get out of their houses,” he told the committee. “Meals on Wheels workers check they are still alive and that they haven’t fallen over – it’s so much more than the food.”

Under the proposals, a garage on Rush Green Road will be demolished and the new depot – which will send out eight vans daily, as well as receiving lorry deliveries twice a week – be put in its place.

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But local residents are concerned the freezer units at the new depot would create noise pollution. Council officers said they had been assured the freezers would be “silent” but would require proof of this from the developers.

A local resident identified only as Mr Peacock told the meeting the depot would constitute “inappropriate use of a residential area”.

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He added: “This is a significant increase in the use of the site. The noise from the freezer units will be considerable and the hours of operation are of particular concern.”

The depot will be open seven days a week between 8am and 4.30pm – shutting a little earlier at weekends – and van activity will be limited to 10.30am to 2.30pm.

Cllr Fred Osborne (Conservative, Brooklands) voiced fears the twice-weekly lorry deliveries would create congestion as they had to turn right into the depot across Rush Green Road.

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