Plans by the Government to merge the 2014 local elections with the European elections have been criticised as a recipe for confusion and 'democracy on the cheap'.
The original date for the local elections is 1st May 2014 with the European elections to be held on 5th June. However the government have proposed joint elections on 22nd May.
Havering Council have issued details of a public consultation to appropriate the site of the Old Windmill Hall, the former car park and 191m2 of parkland for planning purposes to assist with future development proposals.
Residents' Association councillors, users of Upminster Park and the wider community have all expressed their opposition to the sale and to any subsequent development of the land.
The following buildings will be open to the public as part of Havering's Mini Open House on 18th May, all admission is free.
Figures released by the Metropolitan Police show Cranham to have the fewest reported crimes in Havering with 371 reported offences logged in 2012/13. Hacton (432) and Emerson Park (488) were the next safest wards. Romford Town had the most offences recorded at 3,256, with Brooklands (1,238) and Gooshays (1,158) following up.
Set against all 626 wards across London, Cranham is the 15th safest, with Hacton 32nd and Emerson Park 48th. At the other end of the scale, Romford Town is the 15th ward with the most offences reported, with Brooklands 212th and Gooshays at 245th.
For many years, the old dead oak tree has been quite a feature in Upminster Park. While it has been checked regularly to make sure it is safe, I very much regret to say that this is not now the case. Fungus has taken a hold, and the tree must come down. We are pushing for a replacement oak tree, plus the wood of the old tree to be used possible for a sculptor or seating in the park.
Cllr Linda Hawthorn
Why not come along to James Oglethorpe School in Ashvale Gardens , Cranham, on Bank Holiday Monday 6 th May, from 11.00 am – 4.00 pm and join in the fun at the All Saints Church Family Fun Day and Classic Car Show.
Attractions include stalls, sideshows, gifts, plants, tombola, raffle, miniature train rides, Mr Custard the children's entertainer, Hornchurch Drum & Trumpet Corps, Blaze Majorettes, Hills ‘n' Toes Line Dancing & Zumba, delicious refreshments, Pimms & Beer tent, music and entertainment throughout the day. Wander round the display of wonderful classic cars.
A great day out, with something for all the family.
Entry: Adults £1, children free.
With two bank holidays coming up this month, it would be useful to remind readers that standard parking restrictions will usually apply across the borough.
Following concerns that the ambiguity around bank holiday parking was leading to an increase in enforcement tickets issued, the matter was raised by the Residents' Association at full Council last year. It then emerged that the average number of tickets issued via enforcement officers on scooters on a 'normal' Monday averaged 50 while an average of 70 were issued on bank holiday Mondays.
The ill conceived plans to allow house extensions of up to 26 feet, twice the current limit, to be built without planning permission have been watered down in the face of strong opposition from MPs, councillors and residents.
The revised proposals will mean that homeowners wishing to build extensions under the new powers would have to notify their council who would then inform neighbours.
Motorists and residents alike have been scratching their heads at the emergence of different size bicycles painted on the road in Hall Lane, Upminster. However, the following points should help clear up the mystery:
A Havering resident received a telephone call this morning from 'Hammersmith Police' saying they had arrested a guy for credit card fraud and among the numerous cards found on him was a clone of her card. They gave a crime number for her to pass to her bank but then asked her to verify it was her card by revealing her PIN number. The resident quite rightly put the phone down at this point. A golden rule is not to give your PIN details to anyone.
The historic Tithe Barn in Hall Lane, Upminster, will be opening to the public from next month.
Dates are as follows:
The Barn opens at 10.30am and closes at 4pm.
Entry is free.
The Residents' Association have backed proposals by the House of Lords to allow Councils to opt out of government plans to allow extensions and conservatories of up to 26ft to be built without planning permission.
The proposals, known as permitted development, are due to be debated in the House of Commons next Tuesday (16th April) and the Residents' Association have written to all three Havering MPs urging them to support the Lords amendment.
Last year there were some 3,000 reported incidents of fly tipping across the borough.
The figures below give an indication of enforcement activity in tackling the problem. While prosecutions and warning letters have increased over the last two years, fixed penalties have reduced by 45 per cent with only around half the fines being paid.
A campaign opposing the closure of Hornchurch Police Station celebrated success when the results of the Mayor of London's consultation on policing in London spared the station from complete closure.
The station and offices, along with Rainham, were originally proposed to close completely under the Mayor's plan for policing, but will now have public access at certain times.
Transport for London have agreed to hold a public consultation on the proposal to re-route and extend the 498 and 499 buses into Queen's Hospital.
It is also proposed to increase the frequency of the bus service to every 20 minutes (Monday to Saturday) and every 30 minutes during evenings and Sundays.
To take part in the consultation, which runs until 15th April, please visit -
http://www.bhrhospitals.nhs.uk/Downloads/patients/bhrut-bus-route-consultation-0313.pdf or call 0845 300 7000
Despite conditions more like Siberia than the emergence of Spring, Cllr Clarence Barrett (Cranham, RA) completed the Brentwood half marathon on Sunday and raised £1,500 for the Little Haven's Children's Hospice.
Cllr Barrett said: "It was very cold, very hilly and very tough. My time was not very fast at 2hr 39mins, but as I raised £1,500 for a tremendously deserving charity I am very happy indeed.
"In some ways it was tougher than the London Marathon last year, but I aim to be back at Brentwood again next year with a time to beat!
"May I thank all those who sponsored me including the Upminster & Cranham Residents' Association, colleagues, family and friends. It was all thoroughly worth it."
Love Clean Streets is an award winning mobile and cloud based service. Residents can report environmental issues such as graffiti, fly-tipping or potholes though their mobile phones which will go straight to the Council.
With a turnout of just 20 per cent, the Gooshays by-election was won by UKIP candidate, Lawrence Webb.
The by-election was called following the death of conservative councillor Dennis Bull earlier this year.
Setting aside the 2010 elections, which were held on the same day as the General Election, it is interesting to compare the 2013 by-election results with the results of the 2008 by-election (22.6% turn out). It can clearly be seen that the mainstream parties and BNP have suffered a significant downturn in support.
Every Saturday at 9am parkrun takes place in Harrow Lodge Park. Parkrun is a national scheme for people to take part in a free weekly timed 5km run, jog, or walk. Although parkrun is a timed event it is not a race as such and no prizes or trophies are given at the end. The feel of the event is a welcoming one from runners from all over Havering and beyond and there is very much a feel of community spirit. Each race relies heavily upon volunteers to marshal, timekeep and produce the results and we are always oversubscribed with offers of help. At the end of the race and after we have recovered our signs and equipment, we go to the café by the lake for a cuppa and a chat.
Residents wanting to post a letter in Isis Drive, Cranham, were left facing an awkward challenge earlier this week as their local pillar box ended up down a hole.
Gas workmen had excavated a trench for some pipe repairs but ventured a little too close to this post box.
The unusual scene was captured by local resident, Vicky Blackburn, who lives nearby.
Local councillor, Clarence Barrett, said: "It just goes to show that popping out to post a letter can deliver unexpected results."
Having stepped in early to prevent the quick sale of this land just before Christmas, the Residents Association insisted that plans to sell off this valuable site were presented to the Council's Scrutiny Committee so that the community, councillors, Friends of Upminster Park and other users can have a say on its future use.
Residents will get the chance to explore Upminster Old Chapel for the first time in 20 years.
The chapel will be opening its doors to the public on a grand opening weekend on Saturday March 23 and Sunday March 24.
The chapel was built in 1800 and is one of the few buildings to survive from this period in Upminster's history.
Following refusal by the Council in June 2012 to grant planning permission for a Retirement Village in Moor Lane, Cranham, the applicants lodged an appeal against the decision to the Planning Inspectorate.
Many residents will have noticed the extensive works going on along Hall Lane, over the A127 bridge and further towards Shepherds Hill.
This forms part of an overall project, called Sustrans (Sustainable Transport), which is creating a shared footway/cycleway connecting Pages Wood through to Rainham. The whole project cost some £1.6 million and is totally funded from the Big Lottery Fund and Transport for London.
Consultation on the scheme was undertaken last year when 450 letters were sent out to residents likely to be affected, but only 20 responses were received.
The creation of new paths and the widening of existing paths has resulted in a significant amount of construction activity in the area, but works should be complete in the near future.
The Council met on 27th February to set the council tax for 2013/14 and while we welcome a freeze in Council Tax , the alternative budget amendments proposed by the Residents' Association could have been delivered without costing a penny extra.
Our budget proposals would have saved £200,000 by cutting back on councillor allowances (£134,000) and improved cash flow management (£66,000). Interestingly, both of these options already form part of the Administration savings plan, we have merely enhanced the proposals. In turn, this would have funded :
Around 50 people braved bitterly cold conditions to join Thames Chase in planting trees on the extension to Bonnetts Wood today.
Bert Bonnett and his wife from Central Farm, after whom the Woods are named, were there to help with the planting. They were joined by dozens of children helping with the digging and enjoying the day.
Thames Chase has planted thousands of trees on the new extension to these woods with a mixture of Oak, Alder, Sycamore and Gorse. There are new paths, fencing and seats and very soon there will be dog bins.
This is a fantastic new area for walking and I hope many people will enjoy this new facility.
Cllr Linda Van den Hende
Havering Libraries have released the third issue of their newsletter.
The future of the Palms Hotel (A127) will be considered by the Council's Planning Committee next month as they consider applications for new extensions and refurbishments.
As part of a £2.2m refit, the owners have already refurbished the bathrooms, bedrooms and corridors and now propose to refurbish the public areas and back of house facilities.
The Hotel is currently recruiting staff and looking to relaunch the Hotel under a new name in April 2013.
The future of the Boyd Hall, St Mary's Lane, Upminster, has been finally determined when the Council's Planning Committee agreed to an application to build two five-bedroom houses and seven four-bedroom houses on the site, one of which will be a new Rectory for All Saints Church. Access to the new homes will be via Lichfield Terrace.
The Hall was once a listed building but suffered years of neglect and was the target of malicious fires.
The Hall, pictured here in its better days, was demolished a few years ago and work to build the new homes has already started.
Havering Council has paid out £55,000 in duplicate payments over two years (2009/10 and 2010/11) with an unknown amount paid out in 2011/12.
The figures came to light after Cllr Clarence Barrett (RA, Cranham) asked Havering's cabinet member for value how much the council had paid out in duplicate payments in each of the last three years.
Ever wondered about the hygiene standards of a local restaurant, takeaway, or food shop? Well now you can by visiting the Food Standards Agency website where a comprehensive register of inspections and scores are listed out.
Anyone visiting the Gerpins Lane Civic Amenity site in recent months will have noticed that black bags and orange recycling bags have been deposited in the same corner of the site.
The assumption that orange bags deposited at the site by residents were somehow separated is, however, not entirely correct. The practice has been to treat the black and orange bags in the same way, whereby the contents of the orange recycle sacks and black sacks are together sent off to the waste treatment centre and landfill without any recyclable material being separated at all.
As speeding continues to be an Upminster ward police priority, I am pleased to say that I had the privilege of attending while the police undertook a speed check exercise in St. Mary's Lane near the Jobbers Rest coming from the Ockendon direction.
Leader of the Residents' Association, Cllr Clarence Barrett, will be pounding the streets once again this year as he takes part in the Brentwood half-marathon, running in aid of Little Haven Children's Hospice.
Over the past few years, Cllr Barrett has undertaken a number of charity fundraising challenges including the London Marathon, abseiling down the YMCA building in Romford and skydiving from 12,000 ft in aid of Children's Charity First Step.
Dog fouling is a problem that not only leaves a nasty mess but can be a danger to health. While m ost dog owners are very responsible and do pick up after their pets, there remains a small group of people who choose to ignore the rules.
Inconsiderate motorists who block driveways are a persistent cause of complaint; however the circumstances in which any kind of enforcement can be applied has often been hazy.
In order to give a definitive guide of what can and can't be done, the following should be of assistance.
Following my numerous complaints about the Corbets Tey Police office not being open since July 2012, I have some good news. The office will be open on a limited basis from 17th January. Opening hours will be Thursday and Friday from 10am to 2pm.
Although this is a very limited service it does provide a regular opportunity for residents to drop in with issues and enquiries. It will be staffed by an experienced station reception officer so does not reduce our police visibility in the community. I would encourage residents to use it otherwise I have no doubt we will lose it for good.
Cllr Linda Van den Hende
Figures released by the Mayor of London show that more Havering residents are using the internet compared with last year, but we are still among the fewest in London to surf the net.
In 2011, the data shows that 49,000 (24.7%) Havering residents had never used the internet, however the figure improved in 2012 to 41,000 (20.6%).
Havering's banking protocol scheme, which aims to protect the savings of elderly and vulnerable people in the borough, has been shortlisted for a national award.
To read more about the scheme click here.
Proposals to sell off the site of the Old Windmill Hall has caused a storm of protest among with residents, community groups and local councillors in Upminster.
Details emerged in a supplementary Executive Decision released on 20th December which was signed off by the Cabinet Member for Value, Cllr Roger Ramsey. However it seems to ignore an earlier agreement to evaluate further options for the site.
The Mayor of London is undertaking a London wide roadshow to gather views for the 2013 Police and Crime Plan which is due to be published in April.
The roadshow events take place from 9th January to 28th February and will come to Havering on Thursday 21st February from 8pm to 9pm at the Salvation Army Centre, High Street, Romford, RM1 1JJ.
All welcome but please take a moment to register your place by completing a simple form at:
From April this year residents will have the option of paying council tax over 12 months rather than the current practice of 10 months. Notifications will be included in Council Tax bills sent out in March.
Following refusal by the Council in June 2012 to grant planning permission for a Retirement Village in Moor Lane, Cranham, the applicants have now lodged an appeal against the decision to the Planning Inspectorate.
Nearly three quarters of households in Havering are included on the edited version of the Electoral Register which can be sold for any purpose including commercial and marketing purposes.
The information was revealed in response to a question to full Council from Cllr Clarence Barrett (Cranham, RA) who is concerned about the ever increasing volume of junk mail and marketing calls that residents have to endure.
For all revised refuse and recycling collection times over the festive period please click the link below. Normal collections resume on Monday 14th January.
Wingletye Lane, from Parkstone Avenue to Upminster Road, will experience four months of roadworks from 2nd January 2013 to 4th April 2013. The works will be carried out by Essex and Suffolk Water as part of the ongoing pipe replacement programme, replace iron piping with plastic piping.
For all enquiries please call 0845 782 0999.
Figures released by the Department for Environment, food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) places Havering 13th in the London league table for recycling rates.
The figures, based on 2011/12 rates for composting and recycling, show that top of the table is Bexley (53%) followed by Bromley (50%) and Harrow (48%). Boroughs recycling the least were Lewisham (17%), Newham (23%) and Hackney (24%).
Havering Council claim free car parking at Lakeside is 'unacceptable' - that is the view expressed to recent proposals to increase the capacity of Lakeside Shopping Centre. The council went even further to complain that 'there is no commitment to introduce parking charges at Lakeside'.
Over the last three years (2009/10 to 2011/12), 5,406 planning applications have been lodged with the Council . Of those, 180 appeals were lodged against refusal, with 52 (29%) allowed or part-allowed by the planning inspectorate.
The information was revealed in response to a question at full Council (28.11.12) from Cllr Ray Morgon (Hacton, RA).
Next week pensioners will receive that festive gratuity known as the '£10 Christmas Bonus'.
While any financial help for those in need is very welcome, this seasonal bonanza has remained at £10 since its introduction in 1972. To give that some perspective, if £10 had increased in line with inflation, it would now be worth £114!
Tripping over defective footways and carriageways has cost the council over £400,000 in the past three years against just 19 successful claims.
Following a question to council by Cllr John Wood (RA, St Andrew's), it was revealed that from 2009 to 2011, there were 313 claims against trips on the footway and carriageway. However, just 19 claims were successful paying out compensation of some £402,000 - averaging just over £21,000 per claim.
All Saints Church, Cranham, will be holding a Christmas Bazaar on Saturday 1 st December (11.00 am to 3.00 pm) at James Oglethorpe School, Ashvale Gardens, Cranham.
Festive attractions include Raffle, Craft Stalls, Gifts, Sideshows, Refreshments, Tombola and much, much more.
Adults 50p, Children free
Please click below to see the latest update from the Hornchurch Residents' Association regarding St George's Hospital, Hornchurch.
Are there too many roads signs cluttering up our highways? The government have decided there is and intend to issue new guidance next year allowing councils to reduce the level of street signs.
While signs are designed to be informative, they can often have the opposite effect and lead to greater confusion. There is also the issue of signs that are either meaningless or are simply incorrect.
If you have any examples of signs that fit into any of these categories, please send in to our website, preferably an image with location details, at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will set up a gallery.
On a still winters Sunday morning, the nation fell silent for two minutes to remember and pay tribute to all those who have sacrificed their lives, in wars past and present, so that we can enjoy the freedom and liberty to live life today as we choose.
Across Havering, Remembrance Sunday was marked with services and wreaths laid at Romford, Rainham, Upminster, Harold Hill and Hornchurch.
The company that runs trains through Upminster and Rainham is appealing for information on railway workers on the London, Tilbury and Southend railway who were killed during the First and Second World Wars.
C2C hopes to create a memorial to all the local rail workers who died in the conflicts.
As winter approaches ‘Cold Weather Payments' for pensioners and other eligible residents living in Havering have become even more important in light of recent hikes in energy bills. But in an extraordinary twist of postcode lotteries, those living in RM4 area of Havering will have their weather measured at Andrewsfield (Nr Great Dunmow) while the rest of Havering is measured 40 miles apart in Gravesend. Furthermore, the temperature for the rest of London is measured at Heathrow!
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