Planning application near to Acacia Gardens and Fairholme Gardens

*** UPDATED (04 July 2024) – Havering’s Planning Department have extended the time for residents to submit comments regarding this application to Thursday 18 July 2024. It is believed that this is due to a public notice not being posted until later than anticipated ***


Havering’s Local Planning Authority has received a planning application located on land east of Acacia Gardens and Fairholme Gardens in Cranham, for the Erection of a Voltage Management System with associated ancillary infrastructure, access, landscaping and boundary treatments.

This is, in effect, an electricity storage facility, taking energy from the adjacent National Grid pylons when there is over production of electricity and uploading it back onto the grid when there is a shortage.

However, the location proposed is within the Metropolitan Green Belt and access would be from Acacia Gardens, passing through a ‘Site of Importance for Nature Conservation – Local’.

Cllr John Tyler has objected to the application for the following reasons and asked for it to be ‘called-in’, so that it would go before a Planning Committee should it be recommended for approval by the Planning Officer responsible.

1) Inappropriate development of the Metropolitan Green Belt, causing harm to the Green Belt both in physical and visual terms (National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF) para. 156).

2) Lack of ‘very special circumstances’ for causing harm by development to the Metropolitan Green Belt (NPPF para. 152).

3) Permanent damage to a designated ‘Site of Importance for Nature Conservation – Local’, as designated by the Havering Local Plan 2016 – 2031 and Policies Map: North November 2021, by forming a permanent access road through it.

4) Development of an area forming part of a designated Wildlife Corridor (Havering Local Plan 2016 – 2031 p.89).

5) Unwarranted disturbance to residents of Acacia Gardens by the proposals for a 66 week construction time, including a single road movement of an extremely large transporter (24.5m in length), 3 x HGV movements (in and out) per week and an average of 10 x car/van movements (in and out) per day over 7 days (i.e. 70 movements per week), for the duration of construction.

Further reasons for objection

  • The size of the development would be a blot on the landscape, visible from some properties in Fairholme Gardens, Acacia Gardens and possibly Laburnham Gardens, as well as the adjacent Site of Importance for Nature Conservation and the Thames Chase Community Forest at Cranham Brickfields –
    • Proposed to consist of a number of large buildings, ranging in height from 2.5-4m.
    • The shunt reactors proposed (x2) would be up to 9.38m in height, 18.2m wide and 7.9m deep
    • Security lighting (undefined in nature)
    • 2.4m high security fencing surrounding the inner development


  • Whilst accepting that developments of this nature are required due to the changing nature of power production, and that it would need to be connected to a high voltage substation (HVS), the HVS proposed is Warley Substation, located approximately 2KM away from the applicant’s site. With the vast number of HVS in the country, there is no compelling reason shown why this particular Green Belt location should be proposed, as against multiple other more suitable ones which would presumably meet the criteria needed. Indeed, Warley substation itself received planning permission for the expansion with a battery storage facilities via P1724.21.


  • The proposed access to the development would be via Acacia Gardens, a narrow residential road, totally inappropriate for large vehicle movements.
    • In particular, the single 24.5m long vehicle movement proposed would likely involve a Traffic Management Order clearing not only Acacia Gardens of all vehicles (including those parked) but large swathes of Cranham between the Front Lane/A127 junction and the site.
    • The proposal would mean construction and then permanent vehicular access to the development would pass through the adjacent Site of Importance for Nature Conservation – Local’ via a 4m wide roadway of indeterminate construction, thereby causing permanent damage to this Site of Importance.
    • o Access controlled gates set 20m into the Site of Importance during construction.


  • The natural access to this site is from an existing wide vehicular entrance located at the start of the ‘On’ slip road leading from M25 J29 onto the A127 westbound. Use of this access would eliminate any vehicular (but not construction) disturbance to the residents of Acacia Gardens and the wider Cranham Area. However, this access forms part of the land within the Order Limits for permanent and temporary possession of land, as designated by the boundaries of the proposed Lower Thames Crossing. In itself, this potential removal of a readily available access gives a compelling reason for stating that the site is unsuitable for such a development.

Full details of the application can be found on the Havering Council Planning webpages (P0721.24) . Residents can also submit comments up until 09 July 2024 via the same link.

  1. This is Green Belt land and should not be built on.
    Wildlife affected.
    Disruptions for 66 weeks for Acacia Gardens residences and surrounding residences in Fairholme Gardens.

  2. Dear Councillor Tyler,

    We applaud you for having the sound judgment, foresight and courage to object to this abhorrent planning Application and ‘call it in’.

    We believe that this Application is directly connected to the construction of the proposed Mega Data Centre in North Ockendon and it’s massive requirement for power, hence the application for a power feed link from National Grid to Warley Sub-Station (HVS).

    The permanent destruction of Greenbelt, complete absence of ‘very special circumstances’, disruption and permanent blight for residents and totally inadequate road infrastructure to facilitate such development, is painfully familiar to us.

    In comparative terms, this is small compared with the everlasting decimation of 200 hectares of Greenbelt and Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation, eternal Environmental damage etc. that the proposed Mega Data Centre will inflict on the local and wider area.

    Could the Upminster Ward Councillors please explain to us why they have not objected to this larger planning monstrosity and also called this in?

  3. Having read your observations above regarding this planning application for a “Voltage Management System with Associated Infrastructure” and access via Acacia Gardens I am amazed that anyone could possibly expect to create something like this at the bottom of a narrow residential road and on Green Belt Land what are they thinking, also 66 weeks of construction work with heavy lorries driving through Cranham’s narrow roads constantly, it is totally unacceptable. It would be interesting to know who exactly is applying for this application I would have thought that this kind of project should be controlled by the appropriate energy Companies and what I have read I don’t think this is the case. Who knows what polution this development may cause. It is also not clear who owns the land so is it just a money making scheme on their part and will there be more development on this area in the future if this application were allowed to go through.
    This application is totally unacceptable on all levels.

  4. I hope this application is refused by the council

  5. I’m objecting to this development on the basis of the extra traffic it will cause in our nice quiet neighbourhood and that moved here to enjoy the peace and quiet this location brings with the green belt land being so close to us ! Me and my daughter often enjoy walking though the forest along the public foot paths enjoying nature. I don’t see how this will not be effecting us with this project!!! I would as like to point out that a 9 meter building will be visible from our house and ruin the current views we have!! Without the noise I’m sure the storage unit will create!!! I’m 100% against this and will be looking at any legal action I can take if this is approved as not only will it affect me and my family life!! I’m sure it will have a knock on effect to the property value in the area

  6. I do not support this application for the following reasons:
    1) Inappropriate development of the Green Belt
    2) Lack of ‘very special circumstances’ for causing harm to the Green Belt
    3) Permanent damage to a designated ‘Site of Importance for Nature Conservation –
    4) Development of an area forming part of a designated Wildlife Corridor
    5) Unwarranted disturbance to residents by the 66 week construction time and multi vehicle movements (including HGVs)

  7. Would this catastrophic development be to support the Havering Data Centre’s insatiable thirst for electricity?

    • If you look into the documentation with the application, it states that the type of storage proposed is due to the changing nature of electricity production in this country. In the old days, electricity production could be altered to meet need by increasing the amount generated by gas or coal fired power stations etc. With renewable energy, such as wind or solar, this is far less controllable, as wind or sun cannot simply be turned up or down, and so electricity storage facilities will be required to draw down from the grid when there is a surplus and load it back up when there are shortages. Having (personally) accepted this in principle, that doesn’t mean that the location proposed is acceptable in this case.

      Kind regards

      Cllr John Tyler

  8. We are still waiting for our Upminster Ward Councillors to share with us their views on the proposed mega data centre to be built on Greenbelt and the reasons they have not objected to it?

    • I understand that a meeting is being held in the near future with concerned residents, where I believe that Upminster Ward councillors will be present. As has been said on previous occasions on other forums, ward councillors cannot currently formally object to (or support) the data centre proposal, as nothing has currently been officially submitted by the company behind it.

      Cllr John Tyler
      Cranham Ward

  9. So ‘nothing has been officially submitted by the company behind it’?

    This massive venture has been furtively progressed for over three years.
    The Council have now posted a glossy propaganda article on their website, which is full of misinformation and presents a completely unbalanced view on dubious short term benefits, without any mention of the permanent damage the local area and Borough will suffer.

    As such, we would expect our Elected Ward Councillors to know enough about the plans for the largest datacentre in Europe to be built on Greenbelt IN THEIR WARD, to have an opinion on it and to share this with the Residents who elected them to safeguard residents and protect the local environment.

    Ward Councillors, you may be unable to object (or support) but surely you are allowed to have an opinion and share it with the people who voted you in?

    • As I previously put, I understand that a meeting is being held in the near future with concerned residents, where I believe that Upminster Ward councillors will be present. At that point, you can ask them direct.

      Cllr John Tyler
      Cranham Ward

  10. Not everyone will be at the meeting. Can we please have a public response to this specific and repeated request from our Ward Councillors now.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.