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Hainault campaigners hold community walk to raise awareness of fight to save green spaces from housing

PUBLISHED: 15:00 03 June 2019

More than 100 people took part in the walk. Picture: Ashley Papworth

More than 100 people took part in the walk. Picture: Ashley Papworth

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Campaigners fighting to stop houses from being built on a park in Hainault walked from Manford Way to Hainault Forest Country Park on Sunday (June 2) to highlight how far residents would need to walk to their nearest green space if housing plans go ahead.

Residents took part in a community walk from Manford Way to Hainault Forest Country Park to highlight the distance they would have to walk to their nearest green space. Picture: Ashley PapworthResidents took part in a community walk from Manford Way to Hainault Forest Country Park to highlight the distance they would have to walk to their nearest green space. Picture: Ashley Papworth

Redbridge Council's planning committee approved plans last month to build 60 units of prefabricated modular housing in Woodman Road park, near Manford Way, for 10 years.

A campaign group made up of residents has been set up with the shared aim of saving green spaces in the Hainault area by overturning the planning decision to build modular housing on "valued park areas".

The community walk was arranged to highlight to distance that the elderly, disabled and young would have to walk to reach their nearest green space.

The residents are trying to stop houses from being built on a green space near Manford Way. Picture: Ashley PapworthThe residents are trying to stop houses from being built on a green space near Manford Way. Picture: Ashley Papworth

Campaigner Ashley Papworth said: "Everybody should have easy access to good quality open space within a ten minute walk. It is essential for both the physical and mental wellbeing of people of all ages and abilities.

"Some members of the community knew it would be too much - they waved us off at the park and got taxis to the forest to meet us.

"It took more than 50 minutes for the last of the group to reach the forest. It was hot and tiring. The journey took us along main roads and across a busy dual carriageway.

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"A quick trip to the park will not be possible if Redbridge Council continues with its plans. Our community needs this park. Once again the passion and commitment to our fight was made clear. We will continue to fight Redbridge Council to ensure our green space is saved for us now and in the future."

The group have served the council with a letter outlining its legal case. In response, the council will state whether it intends to withdraw the plans and revoke the decision or not.

The campaigners accuse the council of not taking local plan policies into consideration, "insufficient reasoning" on how it reached a decision and inadequate consultation with a nearby care home.

If the council decides not to revoke the decision, the campaign group said it will instruct its solicitor to issue the application for a judicial review, which will be dealt with by the High Court.

A council spokesman said: "The council has received this letter, are currently considering it and will respond accordingly."

The group are fundraising to pay legal fees and a statement on the GoFundMe page says: "We need money in order to fight this as legal fees do not come cheap. Can you help us raise funds for this legal challenge and other ancillary costs to help us fight the council for our park for the future?"

So far, hundreds have donated to the cause, raising more than £8,000 of the £20,000 target.

The fundraising page can be found here: www.gofundme.com/save-our-green-space.

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