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Housing homeless in Hainault parks: 3,000-signature petition against plans handed to Downing Street

PUBLISHED: 13:25 13 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:27 13 March 2019

Caroline Porter, GLA member Keith Prince, Victoria Williams, Howard Berlin, Ashley Papworth and Sam Chapman hand a petition against building housing for the homeless in Hainault parks to Downing Street. Photo: Howard Berlin

Caroline Porter, GLA member Keith Prince, Victoria Williams, Howard Berlin, Ashley Papworth and Sam Chapman hand a petition against building housing for the homeless in Hainault parks to Downing Street. Photo: Howard Berlin

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A 3,000 signature petition against Redbridge Council's plans to build housing for the homeless in two Hainault parks has been handed in to the prime minister.

An 11-year-old resident, Victoria Williams, delivered the petition to 10 Downing Street on Friday, March 8 against the council’s application to build 90-units of temporary accommodation in Brocket Way Park and Woodman Road, near Manford Way.

She was joined by Councillor Howard Berlin (Con, Fairlop), Conservative GLA member for Havering and Redbridge Keith Prince, campaigner spokesman Sam Chapman and Hainault residents Caroline Porter and Ahsley Papworth.

“Please don’t take our parks away as myself and the children of Hainault use it a lot,” Victoria said as she handed in the petition.

The council and construction firm Elliot Group jointly submitted their planning application last month to erect 30 “prefabricated modular units” in Brocket Way Park and 60 in Woodman Road for 10 years.

The latter site will also see the demolition and revamping of the park’s “multi-use games area and outdoor gym equipment”.

These applications come following a series of heated Redbridge Council consultation meetings with neighbours held over in January and February.

“A review of the design took place in response to the pre-application meeting and consultation meetings, and revisions to the scheme took place” according to planning documents.

Included among these revisions is a proposal to swap the building’s grey facade with multi-coloured weatherboard cladding.

Speaking outside Downing Street, Cllr Howard Berlin said: “The loss of the last two pieces of green spaces on the Hainault Estate would be disastrous for the Hainault community.”

He added: “Hopefully Cllr Athwal [the council leader] will listen to Victoria and take her advice.” A council spokeswoman said: “We understand the concerns of communities in Hainault and have been working hard to ensure as many people as possible have their say on our proposals, including extensive engagement through drop-in sessions and distribution of leaflets.

“The voice of local people will continue to be heard through the planning process with their views considered fully by the planning committee, who will judge whether the sites are an appropriate use for housing.”

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