From Paul Borg, Newham Contact- Dagenham and London activists take action to halt a temporary function suite in a country park from becoming a permanent fixture.
Shortly before Christmas 2011, a large structure had been erected at the former Farmhouse Tavern adjacent to the Eastbrookend Country Park intended for use as a wedding and function venue and the Barking & Dagenham branch were quick to respond when local people, none of whom knew anything of the plans, were far from happy with the situation.
A petition was drawn up by the Barking & Dagenham branch and local activist Bob Taylor along with Paul Borg from East London were first to start knocking on doors to collect signatures where they found strong support for the removal of the structure.
The main concerns were, of course, noise and traffic pollution but also that the venue stood only 600 yards from Eastbrookend cemetery where many local people have family buried and who felt that it would be inappropriate for a wedding or other functions to be taking place whilst paying respects to late family members.
Eventually Bob and his team managed to collect more than 1,200 signatures and council chiefs then decided that the pavilion should be pulled down alleging that there had been a breach of planning control.
Gulzer Ahmed Chowdury, caterer and proprietor of the former public house, made an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate who decided that the marquee should be dismantled and concluded that ‘as the structure was on greenbelt land it was, therefore, detrimental to the surroundings of the park causing harm to its openness and visual amenities as well as highway safety.’
They have given Mr. Chowdury six months from December to pull down the structure. He can, however, reconstruct the marquee in a suitable location elsewhere.
Bob, who himself lives nearby and uses the park to walk his dog, said “apart from the cemetery there are a lot of migrating birds, newts, water voles and rare black female poplar trees of which there are only 600 left in the UK.
I am very happy that the park has now been saved. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my team of activists for their help and hard work in bringing this about. I know that I can always rely on them”
Yet another victory for the Barking and Dagenham branch who still refuse to ‘get out and stay out’ as local MP Margaret Hodge once suggested that they should do!
In the picture are activists John Phillips, Paul Borg and Bob Taylor.