Is this the final ‘Nail of Havering’s Coffin’?

The anti-overdevelopment group Preserve held a press conference last Friday to discuss the Government’s proposed changes to planning law and housing targets. 

MP Jon Cruddas explained that the Government hope to turn their plans into law this year and will keep everyone updated on details and timescales. The ‘takeaway’ is that, after taking away some of the Council’s housing powers, it is now threatening to openly give developers a freer hand in what they want to build i.e. a ‘Developer’s Charter’. 

Cllr Graham Williamson focused on the housing target aspect of the Government plans and contrasted it with the London Mayor’s.

He noted that the Mayor’s London Plan was released over a week ago and will increase yearly Havering’s Housing Target from 1,170 units/year to 1,285 i.e. by an extra 10%. 

The Government however will be expecting Havering to sign up to its own Housing Target. He says it means the boroughs will be put on ‘steroids’ by using what the Government calls the “standard method” (SM), based on excessive population projections, plus an additional top-up of 35%. The top-up is because its own MP’s in rural countries complained about increased targets so that the extra numbers will instead be imposed upon London boroughs (and 19 other cities’). 

Thus the total housing target for Havering will be set at 2,666/year (some 120% higher than our present housing target!). He says, it is a serious threat to Havering resident’s quality of life and will lead to a) a massive overdevelopment of brownfield sites e.g. mass density and ever high tower blocks and b) a threat to the Greenbelt. It may be the final nail in the coffin of Havering as we know it.

Cllr Ray Morgan challenged the Government’s assumptions of drastic population increases. He noted that around 9% of London’s had left since Covid, the long term impact of Brexit, the Government’s ‘levelling up’ policy of moving institutions out of London, and the move to home-working, undermines their figures that are based upon projections from 2014.

Romford Civic Society Chairman, Andrew Curtin, reflected on the ‘abject humiliation for Havering Council of the recent reduction of its planning powers. He also criticised them for failing to unveil a Romford masterplan for development which has allowed developers to make up their own vision.  

Business Director Julia Herold discussed her concerns that Havering will lose many of its local businesses and come to resemble a ‘dormitory borough’,  with a large number of residents but commuting for work and leisure and other services. 

There was finally a general discussion over concerns over the lack of funding for infrastructure, family sized units, and greater densities. All agreed that the present Council had been ‘asleep at the wheel’ over development matters and the next Administration must do better.  

4 thoughts on “Is this the final ‘Nail of Havering’s Coffin’?

  • 18th March 2021 at 8:45 am

    This site has really gone downhill recently. Maybe instead of cheerleading them, hold the HRA councillors to account? Their constant refusal to allow any development is the reason why Havering has now lost more control over planning as we have mandated targets from central Government to meet. We need more councillors who actually take their roles seriously and work to find solutions, rather than pretending they can overrule national government by shouting into a void.

    • 18th March 2021 at 5:26 pm

      Can we get our facts right Mr Caw. Both Councillors mentioned in this article are NOT members of the HRA, they are an Independent Residents Group which is not associated with the HRA. If you want to make criticisms of the HRA housing policy, check with the HRA first, before posting wild comments. For the record, I am not and HRA councillor nor member.

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  • 18th March 2021 at 5:34 pm

    Come on Mr White, you and your mentor, Mr Rosindale, are normally most vocal about the house building proposals in Havering. What have the two of you got to say about the latest Government proposals to destroy Havering. Not a lot really unless it is in a con controlled ward, or a very, very, very rare exception in a non con controlled ward.


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