Redbridge Council has made its decision about the lease of Oakfield Playing Fields.

It comes as grassroots football group Bealonians FC released emotional statements in a bid to have the council rethink leasing the playing fields to West Ham United.

The pitch has previously been used by religious groups, five cricket clubs and more than 600 members of Bealonians FC across 29 teams.

A spokesperson for Redbridge Council said: “The council is required by section 123 of the Local Government Act 1972 to obtain maximum financial and social value for the site. 

“Following the conclusion of this exercise, Redbridge Council will commence negotiations with West Ham United Football Club to secure a lease at Oakfield.”

In a meeting with cabinet members on October 19, an agreement was reached to delegate authority to council officers to form a lease agreement of the Oakfield Playing Fields to West Ham United FC.

Before the lease is granted, the council will obtain vacant possession of the site, including the Jack Carter pavilion.

Negotiations between Redbridge Council and West Ham officials are underway to “secure the best possible position for the council in terms of both financials (income and investment) plus social value and community benefits".

The council spokesperson said: “The council will look for measurable social value outcomes, including new job opportunities for local people, training and development opportunities, spending in the local economy with small businesses, and charitable and volunteering activities with local voluntary sector organisations.

“These will all be addressed with West Ham as part of the lease negotiations.”

Before a lease is agreed, the council has stressed that any agreement will be subject to planning permission to “ensure the future of our sports and leisure facilities so they are protected and can continue to be enjoyed by local people for years to come".

The council’s response comes days after the expected decision date, which was intended to be October 19. Bealonians FC have spoken out on the future of their club amid fears of being evicted, with parents and children getting involved.

In response to the Bealonians concerns, the council spokesperson said: “Bealonians FC has been using the land at Oakfield for a number of years without the council's permission or formal rental agreements in place.

“Nonetheless, the council will work with the club to identify an alternative site for them to operate from.

“The council advertised the opportunity to lease this land on the understanding that there will be ongoing sporting use involving the local community. This was an open process in which any club or organisation could take part, and the criteria on which we evaluated the bids were openly published.”

Redbridge Council said West Ham’s proposal in application for the lease includes a commitment of investment into the site for community value, as well as intent to bring the club's charitable foundation directly to the playing fields to build links with the community.

The proposal also included social value and community benefits extending to schools, employability, apprenticeships, and health among other things, said the council. 

Council officers will be conducting due diligence with West Ham Utd FC before further decisions are made.