Storm as Valentines Park - Ilford’s ‘jewel’ - remains shut

PUBLISHED: 09:32 14 November 2013

A fallen tree in Valentines Park

A fallen tree in Valentines Park

(c) copyright

Unhappy residents and a Valentines ward councillor have reacted angrily to Valentines Park – “one of the jewels in the Ilford crown” – remaining closed more than a fortnight after the St Jude storm.

Many parks and public areas in Redbridge were shut so that uprooted trees could be cleared and others made safe after the storm hit the borough on October 28.

But all have now reopened, except for the park off Cranbrook Road, Ilford, the largest one in the borough.

Cllr Ross Hatfull has written to council chief executive Roger Hampson demanding answers.

A council spokesman said on Wednesday that the “safety of park users is of paramount importance to us”.

But Cllr Hatfull said the situation was unacceptable.

“I just want to highlight how angry and upset residents are,” he said.

“The public do not buy the health and safety argument, given that the rest of London have opened their parks without any problems.

“In 1987 after the great storm my school actually took us over to the park the following morning to see the trees that were down.

James O’Connell, of Goodmayes, who uses the park to go jogging on weekends, said: “It’s ridiculous that it’s been two weeks and the park is still closed.

“The park is one of the jewels in the Ilford crown and it was voted in the top 10 parks in the UK by Keep Britain Tidy.”

Tree surgeons were brought in by the council to check for unstable branches after more than 100 trees were blown down across the borough during the storm.

A council spokesman said more than 165 trees have been assessed as dangerous and “require action to make them safe before the park can re-open at the weekend”.

n Is the council right to keep the park closed? email

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