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Hainault campaigners 'silenced once again' after petition signed by 4,000 residents 'not debated' by councillors

PUBLISHED: 13:00 21 September 2019 | UPDATED: 10:46 24 September 2019

Manford Way campaigners outside Redbridge Town Hall on September 20, putting forward a petition which has been signed by 4,000 people in Hainault. Picture: Ashley Papworth

Manford Way campaigners outside Redbridge Town Hall on September 20, putting forward a petition which has been signed by 4,000 people in Hainault. Picture: Ashley Papworth

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Campaigners fighting to stop their park in Hainault from being used for temporary housing for homeless families "feel silenced once again" after their petition signed by more than 4,000 wasn't debated by councillors.

The petition requests that Redbridge Council protect "established valued green space" at Brocket Way Park and Manford Way Park for the "long-term benefit of the residents of Redbridge".

Both parks have been considered for use to provide temporary accommodation.

While the council decided not to proceed with Brocket Way, the proposals for Manford Way received planning permission in May.

The Manford Way campaign group presented their petition to full council on Thursday, September 19.

A spokeswoman said: "Hainault residents are not against additional housing, nor helping homeless residents.

"We believe there is enough land in Redbridge to build the homes we need without touching any green space or green belt land.

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"The petition was initially set up to not only oppose the plans to build modular housing on two small green spaces in the Hainault ward but to protect these valuable spaces from any developments.

"Manford Way is the centre of the community, a much loved and valued green space. To lose this for a period of 10 years or perhaps more is too long for a community. The green space should remain permanently.

"My final message to the leader of the council is, listen to your residents. 
"We don't want to lose Manford Way green space. You have the power to stop this development and we urge you to do this."

The campaign group also highlighted the Fields in Trust award the park recently won, potential contamination of the site and how the park will be used if the development doesn't go ahead.

Councillors then proceeded to debate a motion put forward by Conservative leader Councillor Linda Huggett, which was rejected, asking for council to agree to stop building "poorly-designed" modular housing on council-owned green spaces until 2030.

Speaking after the meeting, a spokeswoman for the Manford Way campaign group said: "Hainault residents feel silenced once again. Our petition wasn't debated. The council merged it with a motion which was a political motion about container homes.

"Our petition should have been a separate debate. We are so angry. Our petition speech spoke about ignoring residents, about us feeling ignored and betrayed. They did not directly debate our green space."

A spokeswoman for Redbridge Council said: "The mayor and full council agreed to have a single debate on the items.

"Residents have had many opportunities previously to ask questions, submit objections and have deputations on this and we will always welcome further engagement."

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