Protestors claim Hammers bid may hit thousands


Campaigners opposed to West Ham United taking over a  sports field in Fairlop have suggested Redbridge Council is privatising public land used by thousands of residents.

There will be a static protest this evening as the council discuss the situation at a meeting due to start at 7.15 am.

The Yellow Advertiser has declared: “Last week, the council revealed the Premiership club is its preferred tenant for a long-term lease of part of Oakfield Playing Fields, occupied by grassroots club Bealonians since 2004.

Redbridge Council says West Ham United put in a “strong bid” to use the 19-acre site, which includes the Jack Carter Pavillion, as its new training ground.

However, at a council scrutiny committee meeting last week, club representatives and campaigners said leasing the “cherished” site to the Hammers would be a “disaster” for users.

Bealonians trustee Charlotte Pender asked whether leasing to the Premiership club – which plans to install two “state of the art pitches” and adapt the pavilion – would be “privatisation”.

She added: “It would no longer be accessible to the public not available for the local community – on the basis that an academy of a Premier League football club is for relatively few gifted footballers seeking an elite career as a player, and many of these will not even be residents of the bearer.”

But Redbridge’s corporate director of regeneration and culture Mark Baigent said it would be “wrong to assume” that the site will no longer be accessible to the public.

He added that the council will “seek to ensure” that the West Ham United Foundation, the club’s charity, commits to “significant local benefits and social value outcomes”, although he did not provide any details.”

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon