Corporation ‘out of touch’ over Haven House hospice road

A children’s hospice and a rugby club in Woodford Green have not given up in their battle with the City of London Corporation over a vital access road.

Haven House and Woodford Rugby Football Club, along with seven houses, share a gravel road off the High Road which has become potholed.

They want to resurface it to make it easier for ambulances and buses taking children to and from the hospice and vehicles visiting the club to get by.

It seemed their hopes had been dashed last Monday (January 9) when the Corporation, guardians of Epping Forest which the road lies in, rejected a proposed width for the road of 18 feet.

It offered a maximum width of 15ft which both the hospice and club say is insufficient for their needs.

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The club and hospice announced yesterday that they will appeal the decision and Iain Duncan Smith, the MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, has written to the Corporation urging them to be more flexible.

Charles Price, the club’s youth chairman, said: “I think we have got common sense on our side.

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“No-one has any sympathy for their stance and they are completely out of touch with the local community and its needs.”

Mike Palfreman, Haven House’s chief executive, says the road has already spread to 20ft in width and it is impossible to take children in wheelchairs along it without repairs.

The hospice, club and homeowners would pay the �15,000 to resurface it and then fund its upkeep.

David Shepherd, the club’s chairman, said: “We’re determined to resolve this situation and just don’t understand the logic of what they’re proposing.”

The Corporation said the standard legal width of access roads in the forest is 10ft.

Paul Thomson, the superintendent of Epping Forest, said: “The trustees believe [15ft] is adequate to enable reasonable access by coaches and ambulances.”

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