, 08 June 2016, Tags:
I am very disappointed to learn that once again Redbridge Council have refused to rule out building on Oakfield Playing Fields and rejected Cllr Nick Hayes' amendment that Oakfield be designated as local open space. As the Green Party candidate for Havering and Redbridge in the recent GLA elections, I visited the site alongside our mayoral candidate, Sian Berry, and we both agreed that the site was too valuable to the community for the council to even consider building on.
It is estimated that 1,000 people use the sports and social facilities weekly throughout the year. The tenant clubs are Frenford and Bealonians and Parkonians: they also hire pitches to about a dozen other clubs and Oakfield has fostered the careers of sportsmen such as cricketer Varun Chopra and footballing legend Sir Trevor Brooking.
It makes no sense to build on these very popular and regularly used playing fields. Other playing fields suggested as a replacement simply aren't up to the same standard.
I am pleased that our newly-elected GLA member Keith Prince brought this is up at the Mayor's Question Time and disappointed that Sadiq Khan has backtracked on his promise not to build on Oakfield. Before the election, Sadiq Khan backed the SOS (Save Oakfield Society Campaign). I would have hoped he would put pressure on the Labour administration running Redbridge regarding this. Sadly, he has now gone quiet on it.
However the local Green Party will continue to support the SOS Campaign and work with other political parties and local residents so we can save Oakfield Playing Fields. Housing needs can be met without destroying community assets.
I hope that even at this late stage, the council will listen to us and rule out building on Oakfield in their meeting on 21st July. I urge everyone who cares about the future of our green spaces in Redbridge to get involved in this campaign.
Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party