A council development site has been branded "a playground for the underworld" after allegations of repeat break-ins and vandalism.

Chippenham Road in Harold Hill is the subject of a Havering Council scheme to deliver 138 'affordable' homes as part of a masterplan for the area.

But crime has been rife at some empty properties earmarked to be demolished as part of the scheme, a nearby resident has claimed.

The resident, who did not want to be named, alleged space behind the empty homes has become a communal garden for drug addicts and riddled by rubbish.

They alleged they had been threatened with a weapon and claimed teenagers had been smashing doors and windows.

Racist graffiti and text reading "I'm coming 4 [for] you" has been seen sprayed on a garden wall, fuelling the resident's fears.

Romford Recorder: The three phases earmarked in the Harold Hill regeneration schemeThe three phases earmarked in the Harold Hill regeneration scheme (Image: Wates)



Havering Council said work continues to secure and clear the properties ahead of demolition as part of phase two of its masterplan.

But the resident, who lives nearby, said they are afraid to sleep at night.

"I'm really uncomfortable the whole time and I'm really worried they're going to set fire to all of the rubbish and burn the place down.

"I can't rest at all."

RELATED NEWS: Rothbury House Harold Hill shut over violence, ASB and drugs

Sgt Matt Chatters, of the East Area Metropolitan Police, acknowledged there had been break-ins and racist graffiti in Chippenham Road.

He said measures have since been taken.

"The premises has since been boarded up and the locks have been changed to prevent anyone from entering," Sgt Chatters said. "We patrol this area regularly and deal with anyone we find around the address."

But the resident on Friday (April 26) claimed the area remains "completely open" for anyone to access.

"They are under the illusion that it is secure," they said. "But from the back of the flats all the gardens in that row, the outhouses, the sheds, are a playground for the underworld at the moment."

A spokesperson for the council said that it was aware of some vandalism and anti-social behaviour in Chippenham Road.

They added that the council has been working with police to address the problem.

A closure order has been put in place for the properties, as well as nearby Rothbury House.

But the resident claimed the problems, including the rubbish, were still rife.

Havering Council and developer Wates, behind the masterplan, has its public consultation on the Harold Hill regeneration open until May 6.