More than 880 residents opposed plans to demolish the Upminster Pitch and Putt (credit: Google Maps)
The council’s housing company, Mercury Land Holdings, previously applied to build 37 houses on the site of the Upminster Pitch and Putt, in Hall Lane.
Their application was passed by five votes to three at a meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee last night.
Conservative councillors Dilip Patel, Timothy Ryan, Maggie Themistocli, Ray Best and Labour’s Keith Darvill supported the scheme while independent councillors Graham Williamson, Reg Whitney and Linda Hawthorn opposed it.
It means a mix of three, four and five bedroom homes will be developed on the site. There are also designs for new public open space and vehicle access to Hall Lane.
None of the homes will be classified as affordable, however, Mercury Land Holdings has agreed to provide the equivalent of 50 per cent affordable housing at a separate sight in Crow Lane, Romford. They will purchase 27 homes there and make them available for affordable rent instead.
A tree preservation order was also secured to protect a significant amount of veteran trees in the area.
More than 880 residents previously opposed the plans, along with the Upminster and Cranham Residents Group, on the grounds it will cause an overall loss of public space.
Three councillors from the Cranham Resident Association spoke out against the plans at the meeting last night, including Councillor Gillian Ford.
“The Council had deliberately failed to include the site in their open space strategy, despite the site being classified in the Local Development Plan, as parks and open space.” said Councillor Gillian Ford. “The application will see the loss of 75% of open space with no alternative provision.
“The plans do include ‘public open space’ but it cannot be considered as public open space as the site will be privately owned. Therefore what will happen if the new residents complain about the noise of the play area and residents walking past their houses? That ‘public space’ could suddenly be gated for residents only.”
According to Havering Council, Upminster Pitch and Putt has been open during most weekends and throughout the week during school holidays.
“I have a personal connection to the site as my husband and I had our first official date at the site,” continued Cllr Ford.
“It is tragic that over the years the council has not maximised the community potential and the site has not been opened on regular basis as published, and staff have failed to open the site.
“The saddest part is that this site could have been a real community asset if time and thought had been given to it. This isn’t the end, as the site will now go up for sale and the new owner may decide to submit new plans.”
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Tags: Havering, Upminster
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