Dagenham dog walkers call for wedding venue ‘monstrosity’ to be pulled down

Residents are piling pressure on town planners to pull down a wedding marquee put up without permission on the edge of a nature reserve.

Dog walkers have complained after discovering the “big white monstrosity” had been erected on green belt land near the 48-hectare sanctuary, known as the Chase, in Dagenham.

They fear weddings could have a negative impact on the reserve, which shelters rare migrating birds from Asia and Africa like the pine bunting, great snipe and spotted crake, as well as protected great crested newts, water voles and badgers.

But a spokesman for the venue said people would be attracted by the nature and they would plant trees.

Bob Taylor, 46, of Hunters Hall Road, Dagenham, is starting a petition against the venue.

He told the Post: “This is a monstrosity.

“There’s always trouble at weddings, not to mention the amount of rubbish it will generate.

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“My concern is that it will be allowed to stay. The law of the land has to be upheld.”

Eastbrook ward Cllr Tony Ramsey said he would do “everything in his power” to have the marquee removed.

He said: “It’s right next to the Chase. It’s a totally inappropriate setting.

“It is on green belt land. It doesn’t have planning permission.”

Caterers plan to host weddings for up to 450 people from spring next year.

A spokesman for the firm said: “It will bring people to the area to enjoy the nature.

“We are going to have an enhanced area by putting in more trees and plants.

“If the structure needs to be removed the whole thing can be removed with no damage to the site, there is no concrete involved.”

Barking and Dagenham Council said the presumption was to go against green belt developments but the family of caterers say the marquee is “semi-permanent” and could be taken down within two weeks.

The council expects to make a decision within 12 weeks.

A spokesman said: “We will consider this application in line with the council’s planning policies, the GLA’s planning policies and national planning policies.

“All of these planning policies in relation to green belt land include a presumption against any built development unless there are very exceptional circumstances.

“If permission were not to be granted, we would take steps to ensure that the building was removed.”