Dagenham wedding receptions thrown out

A wedding marquee built without planning permission near a nature reserve sheltering protected species faces being pulled down.

Caterer Gulzar Chowdhury hoped to host wedding receptions for up to 450 people near the Chase sanctuary in Dagenham, which has rare migrating birds, newts, water voles and badgers.

More than 1,200 people objected to plans to build the marquee, and councillors threw out his application for night-time receptions on March 5.

Environment cabinet member, Cllr Mick McCarthy, told fellow councillors Mr Chowdhury’s son had initially said he had planning permission for the marquee and then that he did not need permission, as it is demountable.

Mr Chowdhury apologised for his son’s behaviour and admitted he had frustrated people by proceeding with the construction without permission but said he had “fallen in love” with the site.

He told Barking Town Hall: “This is a lovely setting. That building was crying out for somebody to love it.”

Last week, Mr Chowdhury declined to say if he would appeal the planning decision saying he needed to consult his relatives.