To people who have lived in the Upminster area over the past hundred years, Hall Lane Mini Golf Course has been a familiar sight. Sited next to Upminster Golf Course but surrounded on three sides by houses, the course has for the past few years been run by the council but supported by an active Friends Group.
It therefore came as a shock to everyone, when out of the blue Havering Council announced at the end of February, this year that they planned to sell the land for development and submitted an outline planning application for 48 houses and flats.
Following a public outcry, around a thousand letters of objection were submitted and, to date, the planning application still remains under consideration.
However, whilst I genuinely have no idea whether the course will eventually be saved, it highlights a question that many local communities and the country as a whole face. In Havering we have a shortage of available housing and are under increasing pressure to build more and more homes. Yet, building on a beautiful green area filled with mature trees and the wildlife that goes with them, would be going against everything we are being told about global warming and preserving the planet.
It seems to me that very few of the most difficult major decisions that ever need to be made nationally or worldwide, are decided upon until they reach near crisis point. I fear this will be the case with the ‘more homes’ vs ‘green spaces’ issue.
In the meantime I just hope that this tranquil corner of Upminster will remain for future generations to enjoy. It is easy to build houses and flats but only nature can build beautiful green spaces like that.
Councillor John Tyler
Upminster & Cranham Residents’ Association