Sir Trevor Brooking thanks Oakfields campaigners for saving playing pitches
PUBLISHED: 11:00 27 October 2017
West Ham legend Sir Trevor Brooking has said that he is “really pleased” that houses will not be built on Oakfield Playing Fields.
Redbridge Council had wanted to build 850 homes on the 21 football pitches and nine cricket squares in Fencepiece Road, Barkingside.
But last month, after a passionate campaign by residents councillors and sports organisations, the Planning Inspectorate informed the council it did not need the development to hit its housing targets.
Former England international and Hammers star Sir Trevor told the Recorder: “The people did great.
“More than anything it’s the council people not understanding the needs of the area.
“They flit in and out of an area, and you want more houses and whatever but you can’t have more houses when people haven’t got anything to do, and you need physical activity.
“I think the way it happens with playing fields these days, they try to ring fence little areas to take little pockets of a bigger playing field away in order to justify building on it but when we’re talking about health and trying to encourage everyone to be fitter and all that.”
Sir Trevor, who was speaking at a Cancer Research UK event in Romford, said the residents held a “great campaign”, adding “well done to everyone who was involved”.
He continued: “I went to Ilford County High School, so I knew Oakfield Playing Fields from many years ago.
“Then I lived in Clayhall, and even when I was playing football and when I packed up I used to play a bit of Sunday football there.
“I did a coaching course in Barkingside and we used Oakfield Playing Fields.
“Obviously I knew how important it was to everyone.
“It’s such a big area that the idea of just saying that it wouldn’t be missed is ridiculous really.”
Keith Prince, Havering and Redbridge’s Conservative assembly member and Barkingside councillor, added: “We’re very grateful to Sir Trevor.
“The high profile he has was able to get a lot more coverage for the cause and therefore help us be heard.”
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