1,500 support campaign against possible development on Oakfield playing fields

Almost 1,500 people have signed a petition to prevent a potential housing development on playing fields in Barkingside.

The site to the north of Barkingside town centre, including the Oakfield sports ground in Forest Road and land used by the Hainault and Clayhall Cricket Club, was deemed suitable for development by Redbridge Council during a review earlier this year.

The space could be removed from the green belt under plans intended to address housing and infrastructure needs over the next 15 years.

The playing fields could be used for housing, a new school and an NHS polyclinic.

But campaigners from the Save Oakfield Site are urging the council to keep the land for sport.

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Ed Lennard, who is also chairman of the Old Parkonians, believes brown field sites have “not been fully explored” and said the development would put strain on the surrounding infrastructure.

He said: “We see this land as one of the best sport areas in Redbridge and we think that after the Olympic legacy this could be used to get more youngsters into sport.”

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Old Parkonians cricket and football clubs have previously had to move sites because of past development.

Mr Lennard said many residents supporting the campaign were concerned that more green space could be lost in the future.

Cllr Alex Wilson, cabinet member for planning and public protection, said there would be public consultation “every step of the way” as proposals are finalised.

Other green belt sites in Barkingside, Goodmayes and Woodford Green are also being considered for development as part of the Core Strategy Review and no decisions have yet been made.

Cllr Wilson said: “It’s always difficult balancing the needs of a growing population and pressure on housing and school places with the open spaces that we cherish.

“If anything goes forward at the Oakfield site I would be keen to see sports provision retained.”

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