Lease for Goodmayes Park Extension taken back from football club after costs dispute

Councillor Ali Hai (front row, far right) and residents protested against the leasing of Goodmayes P

Councillor Ali Hai (front row, far right) and residents protested against the leasing of Goodmayes Park to a private football club. - Credit: Archant

Goodmayes Park Extension has been taken back from a football club after a dispute over legal costs.

Singh Sabha Football Club was given a 35-year lease in June 2013 on the condition that the park remained open to residents and was kept well-maintained.

The £1 annual “peppercorn rent” charged sparked controversy among residents who claimed it set a dangerous precedent for the disposal of green belt land.

But at Tuesday’s Redbridge Council cabinet meeting the deal was halted in a dispute between the two parties over who would cover costs.

Deputy leader of the council Cllr Ian Bond (Lib Dem, Roding) said: “We have tried very hard to deliver the agreement for the lease. It’s been an extremely long process and we’ve been patient.”

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Singh Sabha had not committed to paying the council’s professional costs – legal and surveyors – by January this year. The club was ­issued with a deadline of January 31.

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Cllr Ali Hai (Con, Goodmayes), who was temporarily suspended from his former Labour group over his opposition to the lease, said: “It’s the right choice for residents and taxpayers.

“I hope the club will continue to hire the football pitches in the park just like everyone else does.”

Singh Sabha Football Club committee member Raj Boparai attended the meeting but did not wish to comment until the council had contacted the club directly.

Speaking after the meeting, Richard Leighton, the chairman of the Friends of Goodmayes Park, said: “It’s very good news.”

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