Work gets underway to restore historic woodland in Hainault used for Olympics accommodation

"Reinstatement" work has now started on the open fields in Hainault Forest Country Park

"Reinstatement" work has now started on the open fields in Hainault Forest Country Park - Credit: Archant

Vital “reinstatement work” has begun at an historic woodland in Hainault after Olympic security staff were housed there last year, marking the beginning of a £280,000 “revamp”.

Workmen are focusing on levelling and top soiling, stone picking, seeding and fertilising the open fields at Hainault Forest Country Park (HFCP), Romford Road, which have remained closed to visitors since last July.

The condition of the venue, which housed more than 3,000 security personnel for the London Games, left many residents unhappy after work was delayed due to bad weather leaving the park looking “neglected”.

The temporary roads will also be removed by Snoozebox, who are funding the work, after the car park and the lake path reopened earlier this year.

Cllr Ashok Kumar, cabinet member for leisure and youth services, said: “Now the reinstatement work has begun, we can get a clearer picture of what is possible in the park, and how the Olympic legacy money can be best spent to ensure that the park benefits the whole borough, and be yet another jewel in our crown.”

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This work marks the beginning of a revamp for the park with money granted by Redbridge Council as part of the borough’s Olympic legacy.

An initial investment of £50,000 means that the park is already benefiting from a designated walking trail, fishing and bird feeding platforms.

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Member of the Hainault Volunteer Steering Group, John Golds, said: “We will have to wait and see if the park can be restored to how it was before but after all this time it’s nice to see work taking place.

“I think all the disruption will prevent people going this summer and in an ideal world we would have wanted it finished so as many people could enjoy the forest as possible.”

Once the reinstatement work has been completed, there will also be new signs, bins, benches and information boards added.

“Development options” are also being considered by the council as to how the majority of the funding should be spent.

A council spokesman added: “These involve looking at the long term plans for the farm/zoo, visitor centre and associated buildings.

“Managers have spent time looking at similar facilities in neighbouring boroughs to see what is out there.

“Park users will need to be consulted on the long term development over the next few months.”

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