South Ockendon resident, Dee Lodge has written an open letter to the residents of Belhus ward as a response to a letter distributed by the Belhus ward councillors.
Dear Fellow Resident,
You may have received a letter from the Belhus ward councillors regarding the Howard Tenens commercial site in Stifford Road and the problems caused by the Heavy Goods Vehicles [HGVs]. The letter contains “inaccuracies” and “inflammatory “statements which at best are vindictive and at worst “scare-mongering”.
Howard Tenens is a legal business and has been operating on the old “Marley Tiles” site for some years. It is NOT a lorry park either “authorised” or “unauthorised”. The only issue of dispute is the encroachment on to ” green belt” land, which has been neglected for many years
And as a result the woodland is dying.
The councillors claim that Howard Tenens is “heavy-handed”, “exploiting communities” and “ravaging our precious green belt land in the interest of turning a profit”. The truth is Howard Tenens have made every effort to consult with local residents, they have held meetings and listened to the concerns of residents, they are committed to relocate the entrance to their site, so that lorries will no longer need to use the part of Stifford Road close to residents homes, within a matter of days after planning approval and they have offered to spend a considerable amount of money, £1 million plus, on improving the green belt area “Hangman’s Wood” so that residents may use it as a recreational area. Howard Tenens are also committed to employing local people where appropriate which, if the site is shutdown, means the loss of those job opportunities, a “price” the Councillors consider worth paying. Unlike the Councillors I do not regard Howard Tenens as a “gross assault on the community” on the contrary I believe that Howard Tenens have done and are continuing to do all they can to be “good neighbours”.
These councillors care little of the upset they have caused the Belhus Residents by opposing the petition, which 347 of you signed, supporting the Howard Tenens proposal to move their site entrance thus avoiding the adverse impact of HGV traffic passing close to resident’s homes. Whereas the Howard Tenens proposal would have resulted in an almost immediate solution to the HGV problem the Councillors solution seems to be based on a vindictive desire to “shut down” the Howard Tenens site, however long that may take, as they say “For the past five years all three of us have been working to try and stop this site from operating”.
Five years with no solution and in the meantime we have to endure the problems caused by the HGVs but then the councillors are not personally affected. There may be another reason for the councillors desire to try and close the Howard Tenens site which has little to do with the residents problems but more to do with their own “vested interest” in the further development of that site.
I further believe the councillors are guilty of scare mongering by claiming “Some estimates say that should Howard Tenens be allowed to remain on the site and expand 1000 heavy goods vehicles will be visiting the site daily”. The councillors do not reveal the source of the “estimates” are they their own or is it a figure they have plucked from the air without any foundation whatsoever? Even if there were any truth to the “estimates” residents would not be affected as the site entrance would have been moved to a more appropriate location.
With or without councillors’ Charlie and Wendy Curtis and Sue Gray’s support our voices will be heard, and I encourage all the residents of Belhus to carry on voicing your support for our petition, and lets get our roads free from HGV vehicles once again.
Mrs Deirdre Lodge