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Solar farm site not part of Dagnam nature reserve insists Havering Council

PUBLISHED: 14:00 11 November 2016

Proposed solar panel farm locations in Dagnam Park Harold Hill and Gerpins Lane, Upminster

Proposed solar panel farm locations in Dagnam Park Harold Hill and Gerpins Lane, Upminster

Archant

Land earmarked for a solar park is not part of Dagnam Park nature reserve, insists Havering Council, despite information boards claiming it is.

Cllr Melvin Wallace at Dagnam Park when the information boards were installed in the park.Cllr Melvin Wallace at Dagnam Park when the information boards were installed in the park.

The confusion has emerged after the council announced it wanted to create a solar park, providing renewable energy.

The authority acquired agricultural land opposite Dagnam Park, Harold Hill, about five years ago with the intention of using it to expand the open space into the biggest parkland and nature reserve in the borough.

Council officers approved the installation of information boards in the park, funded by the Veolia North Thames Trust and £500 raised by the Friends of Dagnam Park.

It also released a press statement in January 2014 heralding the expansion, which would double the size of the park and nature reserve to 345 acres.

But a council spokesman said this week: “Despite an original intention, neither the boundary line of Dagnam Park, nor that of The Manor Local Nature Reserve was extended at the time to take in this ex-farmland.”

The spokesman confirmed the park is not the largest in the borough nor is it 345 acres, as stated on the boards.

The actual park will remain as 145 acres, with 93 acres of the adjacent farmland used for the solar park.

Friends of Dagnam Park secretary Alan York said he was “bewildered” by the situation.

“I have always been supportive of this council but with this issue I’m really disappointed,” he said.

“They are treating us like fools and naughty children. The signage cost £10,000 with the co-operation from the council. We asked their permission, they approved it all and they are going to rip them out.”

The council spokesman said the parkland and nature reserve were “not the same area”.

“If that is what the boards say they should not. We will want to correct that information.

“There were plans to join it but that never actually happened.”

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