Manford Way park campaigners mount legal challenge against Redbridge Council
PUBLISHED: 07:19 25 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:19 28 June 2019
A legal challenge has been mounted against Redbridge Council's decision to build accommodation for homeless families on a well-loved Hainault park.
The planning committee gave the go-ahead in April to build 60 units of prefabricated modular housing in Woodman Road park, near Manford Way, for 10 years.
A campaign group 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".
Campaigner Ashley Papworth said: "A quick trip to the park will not be possible if Redbridge Council continues with its plans.
"Our community needs this park. We will continue to fight Redbridge Council to ensure our green space is saved for us now and in the future."
Earlier this month, the group served the council with a letter outlining its legal case. In response, the council stated that it would not be revoking the planning permission.
The group has now applied for a judicial review, which will be dealt with by the High Court.
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.
A spokesman for the campaign group said: "We are disappointed, but not surprised, at the decision taken by Redbridge Council to challenge us in the High Court.
"We are extremely grateful to the generous donations that continue to fund our legal challenge. We are confident of a positive result.
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"Meanwhile we would publicly urge the council to reconsider their plans to build on Manford Way park and remind them that they are using council taxpayers money to fund their legal challenge to our application.
"It's a tragedy that with all the brownfield sites, the council have to build on a small park and despite unprecedented objections to the planning application still bulldoze their way through and local residents have to fight in court raising funds from the kindness of people in the area to save our park.
"The community have been fantastic and the level of support we have is tremendous and we have no doubt that if required we will take the council as far as we have to."
A spokesman for Redbridge Council said: "It is unfortunate that residents have felt the need to escalate the Manford Way planning decision in this way.
"The council has been advised that correct protocol has been followed at all times leading up to the planning decision and we are assured that the case will be settled as such.
"Although we understand the residents concerns, it is imperative that the council provide for Redbridge families devastated by the funding cuts and the housing crisis.
"Historically low levels of investment in social housing has left us with the second smallest sector in London and thousands of people without a home and on our waiting list.
"In Hainault alone, there are 335 families who want a council house and 94 who are in temporary accommodation, 18 outside of the borough.
"We are doing what we can by building 1,000 permanent genuinely affordable homes and are using the available brownfield sites in the borough to deliver on this pledge.
"But it's clear we need to support Hainault families now and this development will provide accommodation so that local people who are desperate for a roof over their heads can live comfortably in their borough."