Saturday, May 07, 2011

Down the Hatch

St. Peter: the parish church of Aldborough Hatch
This small ragstone church, designed by Ashpitel, was built in 1862.
© Copyright
Robert Edwards and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Ron Jeffries reports on last Tuesday’s Cabinet Meeting.

Aldborough Hatch Defence Association

Note following Cabinet Meeting on 3rd May 2011

The Report of the Fairlop Plain Scrutiny Working Group was presented to Redbridge Cabinet by Councillor Mrs Vanessa Cole.

I was then invited by the Council Leader to address the Cabinet – who introduced me as: “Our good friend Ron Jeffries” - which very nearly threw me off balance, but did not! It is always slightly worrying when politicians refer to you as their friend, but I guess he meant it kindly.

I made my speech as per the News Release. The public gallery had been packed at the commencement of the meeting, but by the time our agenda item was reached, the folk who were concerned about Goodmayes Park and Park Police has all disappeared (some with their A4 paper banners!).

And so my speech was heard in the public gallery by Tim from the Ilford Recorder, and AHDA Members Jim and Jean Sibbald, and Keith Tranmer. In the Council Chamber the Cabinet Members were joined by an Officer or two and a splattering of Councillors who had come along to listen. I did not detect any groaning as I ploughed my way through my piece.

The response from the Cabinet Member was that I had been referring to but a small area of the Green Belt which was already partly built on with the Adolescent Resource Centre. He dismissed my suggestion that this was the thin end of the wedge - and that further housing would be built later on Green Belt land towards Oaks Lane and St. Peter's Church. Any suggestion that Fairlop Plain would become a massive housing estate was ruled out. He also dismissed almost out of hand my suggestion that the existing buildings should be demolished and replaced with something fit for purpose.

The news item in the Ilford Recorder for 5th May sums it up well.

The AHDA will monitor this as the Cabinet considers the issue further over coming months. We will resist housing at all costs - and believe the the Mayor of London would also be against this.

I fear that most Council Officers and many – but not all – Councillors do not have the vision that is needed to make Fairlop Waters and Fairlop Plain what it could be. But we will fight to reject any plans for housing – low level or not!

Ron Jeffries
6th May 2011


  1. Has it ever occurred to our jolly Councillors and Council Officers that the land known as Fairlop Plain / Fairlop Waters (or parts thereof) might actually be - apart from a Flood Plain - unstable land upon which to attempt to build Any kind of large structure on (I refer you to the Pickering Report of, I think, 1974), which noted the inadequate landfill procedures done at the time. You won't find the report in Council Archives, all copies were mysterious absent circa 2000, the time of the Public Inquiry.

  2. The suggestion that a hotel / leisure development might replace the existing buildings was not dismissed out of hand, well, not by me anyway. My concern about the idea, as expressed in the meeting, is that for such a scheme to be viable it would involve a substantial increase in built footprint in the middle of a large area of flat open green belt land, which I said might be problematic from a planning policy point of view.

    I certainly agree with Mr Jeffries that if there is to be say a hotel(as he suggested) or for that matter a concentration of other leisure facilities then it would seem sensible to locate them close to the tube station.

    What I did however reject out of hand was the idea that there could be a vast residential development stretching down to St Peter's Church and Oaks Lane.

  3. I fear that Ron's final paragraph is all too true. Far too many - officers and councillors - are summed up in Oscar Wilde's words: they know the price of everything and the value of nothing.