It has been clear from minutes of the London Borough of Havering that those living close to Risebridge Golf Club are not happy with Jack Barker's Development of the Course there. Ian James has been leading the protest at Risebridge and I have invited him to contribute to this website to tell use about what has happened there, and how things are currently progressing.

Risebridge Golf Course viewed from Tay Way (off Beauly Way) Romford; beyond the large tree is the steep grass-covered side of the driving range; it is of a similar height to the roof of the bungalow

Ian James standing in front of one of the bunds at Risebridge

10 February 2008

As a protester at the similar development at Risebridge in Romford by the same developer I am very happy to offer the Friends of Basildon Golf Course any help I can.

My names is Ian James, my house borders the Risebridge Golf Centre in Romford, my company has warehouses in other parts of Essex, and for the record I am a council tax payer in Basildon having a business based on the Wickford Business Park.

For the past three years I and other residents have been locked in battle with Jack Barker and The Planning and Enforcement Department of the London Borough of Havering (LBH). The negligence of the LBH has been breathtaking - they rubber- stamped this development without any officer visiting the site, and residents allege that during the consultative period misleading information was given. Additionally when enforcement officers temporarily suspended the works they had their budget cut and the suspension ceased. Members of the Regulatory Services Committee passed the plans on the nod on advice from officers. The whole episode was rushed through because the LBH was desperate to unburden itself of a loss making facility.

What followed was 150,000 cubic tons of waste building rubble and earth being dumped on green belt land owned by the LBH, plus an unacceptable loss of privacy because members of the public can leer into the bedrooms of private houses. Some homes have earth mounds up to 10 metres high just feet from their boundary and undesirable yobs are already riding motorcycles and getting up to antisocial behaviour on top of these massive mounds.

All this was allowed under the guise of landscaping. The developer claims that this would improve security and golf course amenities and will enhance aesthetics, but in my humble view this has nothing to do with aesthetics or in fact playing golf; itís simply a cynical cold blooded money making exercise, money made from authorised untaxed land fill.

For the past three years we have been fighting this alone. Itís very heartening to have found the help support and sympathy from our new friends at Basildon who from now on with colleagues in Northampton can take the fight forward.

Update Thursday 3rd March 2008

This evening I attended a London Borough of Havering 'Planning Meeting' with Phil Butler of CPRE. Phil was objecting to plans to develop Maylands Golf and Country Club with 390,000 cubic metres of landfill, around 3 times the volume used at Risebridge. Phil was allowed the standard 2 minutes in which to make his presentation.
I'm pleased to report that some of the Councillors began to realise the scale of the proposed developments, one commenting that a bund seven metres high would be over 21 feet.
The outcome was that planning permission was deferred and that matter will be brought back to the committee at a future date. It would be unfair to claim this as a great victory, but we are clearly making progress in getting our points across.
Phil's account of the meeting is on the CPRE page of this website