Friday, September 06, 2013

Don’t Sell Oakfield

Below is one of many letters currently arriving in various Redbridge Councillors’ mailboxes.
Dear Sirs,

My partner is a former pupil of Ilford High School for Boys and has a Life Membership of the Old Parkonians Sports Club, otherwise called the Oakfield site. Now approaching the age of 50, he has played football and cricket for the club since leaving the school, and has a very strong sense of pride and commitment to that Club. He holds a position on the Cricket Club Committee.

As well as my partner, there are many former pupils of Ilford High School who are members and regular users of this Sports Club yet who do not live in Redbridge. The closure of this Club and its removal to other premises will affect people beyond the confines of Redbridge.

It seems that the future of this Club and its grounds are centred round the interests of Redbridge Council and Redbridge residents only. No one seems to be looking at the effect that the closure will have on the much wider community. The Oakfield site brings in players and members from as far away as Southend, while residents in the neighbouring areas such as ourselves in Buckhurst Hill also have commitments to the Club.

I cannot understand the logic of moving the Club to other premises in order to add even more housing density to the area. The cost to Redbridge Council of moving the Club and building a new Club House and grounds elsewhere to the standards of the existing one will be high. So why not build the required housing on the site where the Club is to be rebuilt.

This appears to be a money-making exercise on the part of Redbridge Council. Selling off what is a prime sports ground to developers for housing will net Redbridge Council a nice sum of money whereas selling off what is a second rate plot of land (that destined for the future location of this Sports Club) will net the Council less money. This "idea" to make money is not new. I have experienced it in other Boroughs and the long-term effect on the community in general has been disastrous. It is stupid and very short-sighted.

This is just another money-making exercise by a Council akin to that of selling school playing fields a few decades ago.


J. P. Daines
Buckhurst Hill
There is an Open Day at Oakfield on 22nd September 2013, details here. There is a bar in the clubhouse with proper English Ale.


  1. I would dispute only one statement in the above letter - this proposed scheme is NOT in the interests of Redbridge residents, far from it. In all other respects I agree with every word - this is naked greed on the part of cash-strapped Dedbridge Council.

    I am a former pupil and current Chairman of Governors of Ilford County High School.

    1. It is good to know that Ilford County High School taught scruples and common sense!

  2. Here's how Winston Churchill dealt with the Housing Crisis in 1944 and it's impact on Fairlop Plain. Morris will probably remember them?

    1. Indeed I do. Their existence coincided with the times when I was receiving a good grounding in the use of the apostrophe......

  3. At the last Area 3 Committee, I asked the question,"what is the current value of the Oakfield site, for the purposes of "YouChoose 2008" it was valued at £147million. I await the answer with some anticipation, I remind Area 3 Members that there is NO reason why Officers should not have provided this information for the September meeting