What a truly wonderful history Havering is blessed with! My own constituency, Romford, has a name which goes back to 1177 when it was known as “Romfort”, from the Old English “rum” and “ford”, meaning the wide or spacious ford.
The town occupied an important position, as it still does, on the main road into London and grew in prosperity when Romford Market was established in 1247. How magnificent to reflect on the fact that our market dates back nearly eight centuries!
Havering is equally historic and was the location of a palace belonging to the royalty of England, Havering Palace at Havering-atte-Bower, which existed between the 11th and 17th centuries.
Today Havering has established a unique and privileged position as what I would describe as a "town and country" borough. That means we have close and important links to London, while also recognising that our identity is based around being a collection of towns and villages – Hornchurch, Romford, Upminster, Rainham, Havering-atte-Bower – surrounded by beautiful Essex countryside.
This is the character of our borough that I am committed to maintaining.
To do this, we must ensure that we protect our historic buildings; retain our identity as being a proud part of the historic county of Essex; display our traditional Romford town crest for all to admire; and protect our cherished green open spaces and countryside, which give us access to some of the finest rural settings and views in Essex.
Havering should not become an inner-city borough and Romford’s character as an Essex market town is what I am determined to see preserved.
Turning Havering into just another part of London won’t work for us. We must retain our identity as a town and country borough and that is what I will fight for.