On Friday 9th of October, the Romford MP Andrew Rosindell wrote to Helen Oakerbee, Assistant Director of Planning at Havering Council, to object to the planning application for Romford Seedbed Centre and Rom Valley Retail Park.
Romford Conservatives are unhappy with the building of high rise blocks on the area opposite Queen’s hospital and have launched a petition against the ‘inappropriate development of Romford town.
In the letter, the M.P. for Romford writes:
I am writing to you as Member of Parliament for Romford to formally object to the outline planning application at the Seedbed Centre and Rom Valley Retail Park, Rom Valley Way, Romford, Essex RM7 6AZ. The plans are a gross overdevelopment and completely unfitting for the local area, with insufficient infrastructure and little consideration given to the needs of local residents who live in this part of Romford. Additionally, the phased planning application provides few safeguards against future changes and could further exacerbate the issues with the development.
Firstly, I consider these planning proposals to be completely inappropriate for the local area, both in terms of scale and character. The development sits outside of the ring road and is not where most people consider the Romford town centre to be. It therefore needs to be considered in the context of a residential development, not a town centre development. The vast scale of this proposal, with buildings up to 20 stories high, is not at all in keeping with its residential location. Even in Romford town centre, the tallest building is only 16 stories. This overdevelopment will undoubtedly be an imposition on the local community and over-dominate the area in a way that I and most local people find unacceptable.
Furthermore, the infrastructure within this development is insufficient for its size. The tokenistic medical centre does little to address the inevitable needs of residents such as GP surgeries and nurseries. The area is already in desperate need of a new school and this new development will only worsen the problem. The few parking spaces available will not meet the demand for cars, affecting both residents and neighbours on the surrounding roads. Additionally, the public amenity space, such as parks and playgrounds, is not sufficient for a development of this size.
The proposals also do not address the needs of existing local residents in Romford. Over half of the proposed flats are one-bedroom units. This will not attract people looking to settle in Havering, who want to have a family and contribute to the local community. Instead, a large proportion of these small units are likely to be lived in by professionals and couples who commute into central London, creating a soulless empty dormitory town. This lack of long term living will damage the community and will most certainly not benefit local people. The provision of mainly one bedroom units also comes at a time when families in Romford are having to move out of the area, due to a shortage of suitable three, four and five bedroom properties. We cannot abandon our current residents who love living in Romford and want to stay in the area, by building properties unsuited to their needs.
Finally, this proposal is only an outline planning application. This means the development is phased and I fear that changes can be made to the current plans once building has started which could be even worse. Without safeguards in place, there is a serious risk that the concerns I have raised will come to pass, with small changes at each stage potentially adding up to more units, taller buildings, less infrastructure and continuing to ignore the needs of Romford residents.
I urge you to consider these concerns very carefully and reject this planning application. As Member of Parliament for Romford, I believe that this development is completely out of keeping for Romford and on behalf my constituents, I oppose the approval of this planning permission.
With every good wish.
Andrew Rosindell M.P.