Work completed on grandstand at Ashton Playing Fields
- Credit: Ken Mears
The grandstand at Ashton Playing Fields has been opened as part of a £1.6million investment made by Redbridge Council.
Construction was still ongoing when the renovated Woodford Green facility was officially opened in December last year, with Covid-19 delaying completion of the revamped stand.
The new grandstand is named after council leader Cllr Jas Athwal in recognition of the time he dedicated to making this regeneration a reality.
Permission was granted to redevelop the site in 2019, which also saw new changing rooms, first aid and gym facilities built, while the football pitch was upgraded.
The stadium will enable Woodford Green Athletics Club, with Essex Ladies, to host British Athletics League Division One meetings.
It also boasts an improved track and field facility, which has a new hammer throw area and equipment.
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Woodford Town FC will also make a return to the area after 27 years away.
Speaking to the Recorder at the December unveiling, club chairman Tony Scott said: “I feel like we’re redeemed for what we’ve been doing for many years now - so pleased to be back."
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The club's former home ground was situated off Snakes Lane East, but in 1993 it lost its ground and transferred to Division One of the Spartan League.
Cllr Athwal said: "We're thrilled that our significant investment in Ashton Playing Fields has provided these fantastic new facilities for local sports clubs and the community.
"What a great homecoming it must be for Woodford Town FC after all these years.
"They are now back in their rightful and spiritual home, and those who want to get behind them will be able to do so in the comfort and warmth of the new grandstand once we return to some form of normality."
The new grandstand can hold 250 people but will need to be inspected by the Football Association to determine how many can attend in compliance with Covid regulations.
With the club set to play its first game at its new home when restrictions lift, an exciting time beckons for everyone involved.