Lease of Goodmayes Park Extension to football club approved by council committee

The fate of Goodmayes Park Extension may be finally decided next week after a Redbridge Council committee supported the controversial lease to a Barking football club.

The council’s cabinet is expected to rubber stamp the transfer at a meeting next week after the Policy and Resources Service Committee approved it on Tuesday.

If the lease goes ahead Singh Sabha Football Club (SSFC) will take over management of the park extension, in Goodmayes Lane, from council leisure operator Vision.

Nearly 70 per cent of respondents to a public consultation were opposed to the lease, with 69 individuals entering objections compared to 28 per cent writing in support.

There was also a petition from SSFC with 1,126 signatures in favour of the move.

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Goodmayes Residents’ Association chairman Keith Stanbury said many of the group’s members would be “very upset”.

Cllr Ali Hai, who has campaigned against the lease since discussions began, described it as an “unnecessary and grave risk” to the park.

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He added: “It is disappointing that our council chooses to ignore the views expressed in its own public consultation where 68 per cent of residents have clearly stated that they do not want their park to be disposed of.”

The main concerns highlighted in the consultation included the disposal of land for small value, SSFC’s perceived lack of experience managing park and possible buildings and development.

But committee chairman Cllr Rob Cole said he hoped the terms of the lease would “reassure” residents.

He added: “It will remain a park open to the public, just with someone else managing it.”

The 35-year-lease stipulates that the club will pay a “peppercorn” rent to the council and share profit if earnings reach an undisclosed amount.

SSFC will be responsible for the management and upkeep of the park and facilities, saving Vision our £20,000 a year.

Goodmayes Park Extension will continue to be open to the public in line with other Redbridge parks and existing bookings will continue.

Plans include renovated sports pitches, a floodlit astro-turf pitch for football, hockey and other sports, and a “state of the art” clubhouse with changing rooms.

SSFC chairman Jagjit Rai said he would wait to comment until after the cabinet meeting, when “everything is certain”.

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