Back in 2013 the residents of Wennington Village contacted Jon Cruddas MP raising their concerns about proposals to establish a mineral extraction site on land adjacent to Wennington Hall Farm. At the time Jon met with residents and the council; supporting the people of Wennington Jon Cruddas said: “I am firmly against these plans as it is the overwhelming sense from residents that if these plans are given the go ahead that Wennington will change out of all recognition.”

The plans were rejected at the time but the council explained they would be accepted if certain standards were met. These conditions included but were not exclusive to; adherence to a lorry routing route, with no HGV’s travelling through Rainham, Wennington Village, or the north of the area, payment of £72,726 towards highway maintenance, and the creation of a local liaison group to monitor the situation.

On behalf of local residents Jon Cruddas MP raised the many issues surrounding the plans with Havering Council. “Wennington is a small village and to create a 26 hectare mineral extraction site in the vicinity will have a number of implications – increasing traffic, with inadequate infrastructure will lead to a rise in mud, debris and dust in the area which can have a serious impact on road safety – not to mention the damaging impact this will have on air quality.

“There is a worry that with the addition of a processing plant to accompany the extraction site there will be a rise in noise pollution, a visual impact on the character of the area, and a potential drop in property value as a knock on effect.

“Even with the safety regulations met, the concerns of the residents have not changed – and have not gone away. I fully support the local people in this and believe that an operation of this size will leave Wennington Village unrecognisable after seven years. Which is completely unacceptable.”

The people of Wennington are not alone in their fight against the proposals. Along with Jon Cruddas MP a number of organisations have voiced their objections to the mineral extraction site. Havering Friends of the Earth and Rainham Conservation & Improvement Society have both objected on the grounds of protecting agricultural green belt land. Arguing that Rainham & Wennington has a history of failing to control the emergence of landfill sites. Jon Cruddas responded to this arguing that “we can’t allow Rainham, South Hornchurch and Elm Park to become a dumping ground for central London.”

Heritage England also waded into the dispute explaining that the area holds a prehistoric enclosure and a whole series of artefact rich archaeological features spread across the northern part of the site. They have submitted a written scheme of investigation for archaeological mitigation and recording – which has been approved by the mineral planning authority. Although it is considered that the development would not disturb features of archaeological importance, it is noted that the site might be restricted in size following a survey to establish the value of archaeological areas.

Jon Cruddas concluded: “This is something we need to stay on top of. I have been contacted by many in the local community and I will do my best to support residents on this issue.”

The full report from January’s Regulatory Services Committee can be read HERE