Syed Kamall MEP says there’s ‘plenty of brownfield’ to build on after Redbridge hustings event
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A Conservative candidate hoping to become Mayor of London says there’s no need to build on green belt land.
Speaking after a mayoral hustings event at Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford, MEP Syed Kamall said “there’s plenty of brownfield already in London”.
The comments come after Oakfield Playing Fields in Forest Road, Barkingside, was earmarked for development when it was included in Redbridge’s local plan.
“Some of these brownfield sites are owned by the government and we should be looking to release that land before we even think about green belt to be fair,” said Mr Kamall.
The hopeful, who relishing the chance to go head-to-head with Labour’s candidate Sadiq Khan MP, said remodelling “badly designed” post-war estates would also free up more housing.
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Mr Kamall’s comments echoed that of the Labour candidate who told the Recorder that the borough’s green belt was “sacred” while visiting Ilford in July.
The Conservative hopeful’s comments were made after an open day at the playing fields earlier this month held by Oakfield Old Parkonians – a cricket club which plays there – to highlight how popular the space was.
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Despite support for Oakfield, Redbridge Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal said the borough’s housing need would not be met with brownfield sites alone, earlier this year.
A council spokesman said: “It’s important to note that there is a distinction between land in the green belt which still meets its purpose, and land that no longer meets its green belt purpose.
“An independent green belt review in 2010 found that the Oakfield site was no longer meeting it’s green belt purpose.”
Speaking about his party losing the Ilford North seat to Labour’s Wes Streeting at the general election, Mr Kamall said: “We have to come to terms with the change in demographics in Redbridge.
“I have always been clear that our party has to keep up with the times and I feel I’ve got that cross party appeal.”
Speaking of his visit to Ilford, he said: “The hustings event was very good, I’m very comfortable with Redbridge – a lot of my friends are councillors here so it was funny being on the stage for a change.”