Plan to turn Wanstead cricket club into Olympic tented village

Wanstead Cricket Club could be turned into a tented village housing Australian Olympic fans during next year’s Games if a planning application gets the green light.

Chairman of the club in Overton Drive, Martin Pluck, said they were approached by Fanatics Australia, a division of Tui Travel, the largest travel company in the world, to hire the ground during the Olympics.

He said the money raised by converting the area into a tented village would also allow the club to continue its community coaching scheme in surrounding schools.

Speaking of the scheme, Mr Pluck said: “We have an established community programme including an active programme with 18 local schools.

“These activities are run by a large team of volunteers who give hours of their time.

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“The facilities are, however, extremely expensive to provide and fundraising, which has never been easy, is now extremely difficult.”

The tents would remain in place for two weeks, with a few days either side needed to put up and dismantle them.

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Beryl Thornton, member of a Wanstead residents’ association, said: “The games will be a good excuse to start creeping things like this in.

“It’s much different to events like the Wanstead Festival, which has been going for years, and we won’t know what to expect,” she said.

“I’m in correspondence with other residents’ associations in the area.”

She added a meeting of residents to discuss the issue was scheduled for this week.

Talking of residents, Mr Pluck added: “We would obviously not want to do anything which would harm these relationships and we believe that there is nothing in the proposal that should cause concern and we will work with our neighbours to allay any concerns.”

Sajeed Patel, who co-owns Wanstead News in High Street, said: “It will hopefully increase the business for local shops and it should be nothing but a benefit for us – people will pop in on their way to the Tube station.”

The proposals will go before a Redbridge planning committee at the end of November, with a verdict expected by December 1.

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