New vision laid out for future of Goodmayes park

A councillor and community activist have come up with a plan to prevent a park from being handed to a football club on a long lease.

Under the proposal, put forward by resident Chris Connelly and Goodmayes councillor Ali Hai, Goodmayes Park Extension, in Goodmayes Lane, would be overseen by a trust of local residents and community groups that would include Singh Sabha Football Club.

But the park would ultimately remain controlled by the council.

The plans have emerged ahead of a scrutiny committee meeting on July 6 at Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford. It will look at the original plan to hand over the 25-acre park extension to Singh Sabha on a 99-year lease and for a peppercorn rent.

Mr Hai said: “Our proposal ticks all the boxes – it satisfies all members of the community, attracts different sources of funding for the park, and, from the council’s perspective, it reduces the risk involved in one group failing.” He added: “It also creates a better precedent for having parks overseen by the local community.”

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Cllr Hai has also offered to surrender his councillor’s allowance to cover the �10,000 annual cost of running the open space if necessary.

At a highly charged cabinet meeting in May, councillors referred the controversial decision to the scrutiny committee.

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The alliance of community groups would use the land for other purposes, like a community garden and orchard alongside the football club, said Mr Hai.

Singh Sabha member Raj Boparai said: “We haven’t actually got the lease yet and we’re not closed to any suggestions. We will consider anything that is put forward to us.”

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