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Singh Sabha Football Club says it will ‘improve’ Goodmayes Park Extension if granted controversial lease

13:31 13 February 2013

Cllr Ali Hai with residents opposed to the lease of Goodmayes Park Extension. Picture: Pádraig Floyd

Cllr Ali Hai with residents opposed to the lease of Goodmayes Park Extension. Picture: Pádraig Floyd

Archant

A football club that could be taking Goodmayes Park Extension over from Redbridge Council has said it will “improve” the space for the community.

The council is currently consulting the public on leasing the site to Singh Sabha Football Club.

The club, currently based at the Ford Sports Club in Aldborough Road South, Seven Kings, has teams of all ages and holds coaching sessions.

Chairman Jagjit Rai said: “It’s a multi-cultural club and we’re open to all the community.

“We’re hoping to build an all-weather pitch with floodlights that will be available for the public.

“Public access has been agreed and it will still be used by everyone there now.”

Redbridge Council voted in favour of a 99-year lease to SSFC back in July 2011 but consultation was delayed while terms were agreed.

The extension, in Goodmayes Lane, could now be granted to the club for 35 years at a “peppercorn rent” of £1 a year.

The club must keep the ground open to the public and keep it well-maintained.

Any building work would be subject to planning permission and the council would approve any usage charges.

But some park users have concerns over the lease.

Goodmayes Residents’ Association chairman Keith Stanbury said the land could be used to improve the local infrastructure.

He said: “What the council should do is let the area necessary for playing fields and changing rooms and leave the rest of it public.

“A school would only take up five acres and I’m sure people wouldn’t object.

“We need space for new schools and infrastructure.”

Leasing the park would save the council thousands of pounds in maintenance costs.

But Cllr Ali Hai said the proposal does not make “economic sense”.

He added: “The lease doesn’t protect public land and it isn’t value for money.

“It just doesn’t make any sense.

“I would be all for it if there was a benefit but there’s no benefit, only uncertainty.”

Pádraig Floyd, chairman of the Goodmayes and Seven Kings Allotment Society, said the land was being let “too cheaply” and could set a precedent for green spaces elsewhere in Redbridge.

Sites including the Port of London Authority recreation ground, in The Drive, and Millenium Green, in Percival Gardens, Chadwell Heath, are let by the council without charge.

The consultation is open until February 22. Email info.property@redbridge.gov.uk.

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