AUGUST 2018 UPDATE
For reasons with which I will not bore the reader, it has not been possible for the Association to keep its website up-to-date over the past few months. Much has happened and this update will attempt to inform readers of the current position regarding sand and gravel extraction on Fairlop Plain.
First, there have been some changes in the Aldborough Hatch Defence Association (AHDA) Executive Committee. At the October 2017 Annual General Meeting Jenny Chalmers was elected Chairman, Chris Gannaway Vice-Chairman, Kristy Leach Secretary, Ken Morgan Treasurer, Ron Jeffries Public Relations Officer, Chris Gannaway Green Belt Champion, Jenny Chalmers Dick Turpin Orchard Project and Vanessa Cole Planning Application Monitor.
PLANNING APPLICATION 2089/16
Redbridge Council’s Planning Committee approved the above planning application by Brett Tarmac Limited to extract sand and gravel from Areas E and F on Aldborough Hatch Farm and Hainault Farm – the former bordering Aldborough Road North, St. Peter’s Church, St. Peter’s Close and Oaks Lane, and the latter being a small area which was not extracted earlier and which lies very close to both the farmhouse and cottages. Stand-offs in the past have been 150metres, but this planning application will bring workings very close to residential properties on Hainault Fam and within 100 metres of properties adjacent to Aldborough Hatch Farm.
The meeting was, to say the least, lively. Two speakers – Ron Jeffries and Jean Smith – spoke against, but the Revd Kate Lovesey, Priest-in-Charge at St. Peter’s, was not permitted to speak by the Chairman, with the result that the public gallery rose in uproar! Chanting “Let the Vicar speak” was ignored by the Chairman, who was heard to remark that he would go out for a cup of tea if this continued.
The AHDA objections were – in summary:
1. Noise, dust and pollution during mineral extraction, pumping operating 24/7 disturbing not only local residents but the Busy Bodies Pre-School Nursery which operates five days a week from St Peter’s Church Halls. Community groups using the halls and the church itself will be disturbed and ‘competing’ with the noise throughout the week.
2. The close proximity - 50 metres - of the extraction site to the St. Peter’s Church Halls used by many community groups.
3. The proposed ‘stand-off’, given as 100 metres, between the excavation site and St Peter’s Church is not acceptable. St Peter’s Church is a Grade II Listed Building, consecrated in 1862. It was built to the standards of the time and therefore has no foundations. There are precedents for stand-offs of 150 metres on Fairlop Plain.
4. Details of the haul road to be constructed from Bridleway 94 to the conveyor belt in Painters Road did not extend to how lorries will use this road and the times of usage.
5. We objected to the proposed diversion route of Bridleway 94, adding some 600 metres to the distance pedestrians and cyclists travel. We emphasised that security is paramount for the safety of both adults and children using the Bridleway.
6. We objected to the sand and gravel extraction on Area F at Hainault Farm. This is far too close to residential properties where a stand-off at least 150metres should be imposed taking into account the cottages on Hainault Road and Hainault Farmhouse.
The AHDA was concerned that the expert evidence put forward by two residents who are cancer consultants was not aired at the Planning Committee nor was one of the consultants given the opportunity to address the Committee.
The impression give to the many residents in the public gallery was that the decision was a done deal in that Councillors were blindly following the directions of Council Officers.
Not surprisingly, the application was approved.
LOCAL LIAISON COMMITTEE
Part of the application indicated that a Local Liaison Committee would be formed. The AHDA has insisted that this is chaired by someone independent of the Council, who are financial beneficiaries in that some £6M will be paid by the developers over the excavation period (although it should, be noted that the Council will bear the cost – estimated at £1M - for the installation of a Bentonite wall on Aldborough Hatch Farm to prevent seepage from the infill under the golf course – and that the Council has accepted responsible for any damage caused to St. Peter’s Church).
It has now been agreed that Wes Streeting, MP for Ilford North, will chair the Liaison Committee and that the AHDA Chairman and Vice-Chairman will be members. The AHDA has insisted that the Priest-in-Charge and a Churchwarden at St. Peter’s are members, although there appears to be some objection to this. The AHDA will look to Ward Councillors – who are members of the Committee – to support their request.
The first meeting of the Liaison Committee is scheduled for October 2018.
ST. PETER’S CHURCH
The Parochial Church Council commissioned an independent expert survey of the fabric of the building, which was consecrated in 1862 at a cost of some £2,500 which was funded by church members. The fabric will be closely monitored with the clear expectation that any damage will be recompensed by Redbridge Council.
THE HAUL ROAD
In the summer of 2018 it became evident that it is proposed that the haul road – taking sand and gravel from Aldborough Hatch Farm to the conveyor belt in Painters Road and carrying infill – will not now run over derelict farmland and land of the Aldborough Hall Equestrian Centre (as had been indicated at all consultations) but will crash through the Southern edge of Fairlop Waters, which has been designated as a Local Nature Reserve by Redbridge Council.
A vigorous campaign has been launched with editorial in the ILFORD RECORDER and the EAST LONDON AND WEST ESSEX GUARDIAN and a three-and-a-half minute news item on ITV London News at peak time of 6.15pm on Saturday 11th August.
The AHDA has requested a meeting with the Leader of Redbridge Council and Ward Councillors to seek to reverse the move for the haul road to crash through Fairlop Waters and to run through farmland as originally envisaged. The campaign will intensify in the days ahead until we achieve our objective and encourage residents to write to the Leader to express their concern at the irreversible damage that will be done to protected wildlife.
The AHDA now has a FACEBOOK page, which, along with our Twitter feed, will be updated regularly.