Havering local plan adopted at last

Locations for almost 19,000 new homes across Havering been approved – five years after the plan was first due.

Havering Council’s Local Plan for the next decade needs to find space for 18,930 homes by 2031 and aims to build 1,801 homes a year from 2022 to 2026.

The new plan, which sets out how the council will deal with key issues like housing, transport and town centres, was first due in 2016 but was delayed for five years.

Approved at a full council meeting last night, the plan is so behind schedule that development of a new plan covering the fifteen years after 2031 will soon begin.

Havering’s leader, Councillor Damian White, said the plan supports “sustainable and inclusive growth in the borough”.

He added: “This includes delivery of new housing and affordable housing for local people, essential infrastructure, economic development, design quality and place-shaping.”

Cllr White said delays in adopting the plan were down to the council “challenging” parking space limits set by the Mayor of London’s office.

He said last week: “I think it’s fair to say a forensic approach was adopted by the planning inspectorate, which has led to significant delays and challenges.”

Changes to the original plan submitted in 2018, reportedly insisted on upon by the planning inspectorate, include adding 1,380 more homes to the fifteen-year housing target and a reduction in parking places for new developments.

Developments in areas with poor transport will now only have to include at least one parking space per two bedrooms, instead of the one and a half proposed by Havering.

Other aims include improving north-south transport links in the borough and exploring the possibility of freight and passenger transport on the Thames at Rainham.

Speaking after the meeting, Residents’ Group leader Ray Morgon said: “Even though the local plan was approved last night, it’s almost already out of date and certainly, if we win the next election, one of things we’d be doing very early on is having a full review.”

Cllr Morgon said his group would review the tall buildings policy and make sure all new houses have gardens.

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter