Non-League: Redbridge Council vow to save playing fields
Oakfield Playing Fields is an area of protected green belt land established in the 1930s, located to the west of the Tube Station between Fairlop and Hainault. It is currently utilised as sports playing fields by a number of local football and cricket clubs and is complemented by the indoor sporting facilities located at the neighbouring Redbridge Sports Centre.
Redbridge Council wish to remove the fields from the green belt, highlighting the land as a preferred site for a new housing estate, a primary school and a polyclinic. Council documents suggest the development will potentially remove approximately 75% of the green space and include up to 1,000 flats and terraced properties at the site.
A campaign was started in April 2013 and, twelve months later, a petition signed by 538 neighbours and Old Parkonians was presented to request that Redbridge Council reconsider their Core Strategy Document, keeping Oakfield Playing Fields as a vibrant, multicultural sporting facility for the whole of Redbridge.
The signatories formally objected to the development plans based on several key points: an unacceptable loss of green belt land when alternative brown field sites have not been fully explored; strain on the existing transport infrastructure (particularly road access); an increase in already high local pollution levels; an expected increase in crime levels; loss of outside sporting facilities for adults and children.
Campaigners have so far spoken at Cabinet Meetings at Ilford Town Hall in 2013, delivered around 1,500 leaflets to residents to make them aware of the scenario and suggested alternative sites in the Borough to locate much-needed new housing. They’ve also arranged community days and a special charity football match.