Future of Goodmayes Park Extension to go to public consultation

Cllr Ali Hai (front row, far right) and residents at a previous protest over the park extension's fu

Cllr Ali Hai (front row, far right) and residents at a previous protest over the park extension's future. - Credit: Archant

Plans for the Goodmayes Park Extension will now go out for a public consultation after a football club was stripped of the lease.

Singh Sabha Football Club was handed a 35-year lease, where they would pay an annual nominal fee of £1, in June 2013 on the basis that the park remained open to residents and was kept well-maintained.

After a drawn out legal dispute between the football club and the council, the cabinet decided a new direction was needed with the Goodmayes Lane park.

In Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, it was decided a public consultation would go ahead to the reserved joy of the Friends of Goodmayes Park who long raised fears of Singh Sabha’s involvement.

Richard Leighton, the chairman of the friends group, said: “It’s good they are going to have a consultation but not the full consultation we really wanted.”

Mr Leighton believes everybody in a 300m radius of the park should be consulted rather than just Redbridge residents. He says those in Barking have just as much interest in the site.

He said that when out talking to residents the say they want a green open space to “lark” about in.

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The council’s report says that £150,000 is needed alone to refurbish the changing room pavilions that became “mothballed” in anticipation of Singh Sabha taking the lease.

Among the options out for consultation will regard whether Vision should continue to manage the park and refurbishing the pavilions and developing an all-weather pitch. This could cost up to £600,000 and would be footed by the council.

Another option is that another leaseholder, or leaseholders, is found to manage the site.

Leisure committee member Cllr Bob Littlewood (Labour) said: “The problem was Singh Sabha not the concept.”

He says the best option is for a number of community groups to take control and manage the space together.

The park may also be maintained as an open green space.