Friday, July 29, 2016

Oakfield - Update 29 July 2016

The next stage of the process has commenced – the Regulation 19 Consultation.
Representations can be submitted:
Representations not made online must be on a ‘representation’ form which is available to download from the Council’s website at or upon request from the Planning Policy Team. Representations must be received by 5pm on Friday 30th September 2016.
Representations received to the consultation will be considered alongside the submitted Local Plan by an independent Planning Inspector. The purpose of the examination is to consider whether the document complies with legal requirements, the Duty to Cooperate and meets the soundness tests prescribed in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012). To be ‘sound’, the Local Plan must be positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national planning policy.

Earlier Posts
The Redbridge Local Development Plan has, as expected, been voted through at Full Council on Thursday 21 July, including the proposal to develop the Oakfield site for Housing and amenities.
FA ‘disappointed’ at decision to include Oakfields in Local Plan - Ilford Recorder

The Playing Pitch Strategy, which we have been told in public and on record has been “signed off”, has not been seen by Statutory Consultees (sporting bodies) and does even meet the statutory requirements of not using existing sports grounds for replacement.
There will now be a further “consultation” period where this council will ignore any evidence it doesn’t like and Go It’s Own Way, before the Plan is submitted for independent review by the Planning Inspectorate who will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State.
The timescale and key dates plus the process will be published by the council when nobody is looking and will be displayed on a public notice board in a disused locker room in the Town Hall basement with a sign on the door saying “beware of the leopard”.
Here is a summary of the plan:

Oakfield to be sold for Housing, new secondary school and a health centre
  • Barkingside to accommodate 1,407 new homes
  • 600 new homes on Oakfield
  • Green Belt to be concreted over
  • Barkingside community hub to be relocated in Hainault on site subject to flooding
  • Plans “whipped” through
Welcome to the Redbridge Local Development Plan.

Read more »


  1. I think there is a lot to be happy about here.

    We're desperate for new homes and Oakfields would be a fantastic place to live. They'll be near a tube with plenty of capacity. Our high street will benefit.

    Greenbelt - I've gone on at length about it previously, but there is growing awareness that greenbelt causes pollution because people are forced outside it and have to drive through it to get to their workplaces.

    And about your concreting point. The only green thing about the cricket pitches is their colour. They're a desert of grass which I'm guessing is doused in herbicide and pesticide. I think it would be better for B21 to put energies into campaigning for green corridors, including gardens & verges which can be habitats. These new homes should help with your very good campaign for fewer journeys by car, too.

    Good news too that the cricket pitches are going to carry on existing, relocated nearby.

    So please support your Council in providing homes which will benefit our friends (including friends we haven't made yet), families and high street. Celebrate that the cricket pitches will be saved and moved elsewhere. Campaign for green domestic spaces.

  2. It is always such a pity when propaganda needs to do away with facts.

    "Herbicides" and "Pesticides" are NEVER used on sports pitches - to do so would be dangerous for users, including children.

    Leatherjackets will be a food supply for starlings and the margins of sports fields always contain seed and berry-bearing plants for other birds. The way that most insect pests are dealt with is to cover newly seeded areas with black plastic which encourages pests to the surface where they are eaten by birds. Severe infestations of leatherjackets can be treated with nematode worms that eat them! Weeds are dealt with by applying special fertlisers that force the weeds to "bolt" above the grass where they can be cut off with mowing machines.

    When the houses are built the owners will, of course, hurry down to B&Q to buy chemicals to spray the weeds on their driveways and to spray the roses. I think most intelligent people know that.

    The way that the sports pitches will be "re-provisioned" involves the laying of "system" turf that contains varying percentages of deep-rooted PLASTIC interspersed with "real" grass.

  3. My concern for the Oakfield site is still the endangerment to wildlife, bats, seasonal or migratory birds will have lost their habitat, as will many other creatures - not only the pollution to the residents of Barkingside and Hainault from extra cars, but the amount of extra boilers all spewing out fumes will add to the mix. On one hand the new Mayor says he is handling the problem of pollution and on the other, it appears slightly greasy from selling off this area servicing the whole of the Redbridge Borough. Yes, he says he will be building a new cricket ground near to where he lives, supposingly to appease the argumentors for losing Oakfield, but that does nothing for this last remnant of greenbelt in Hainault and Barkingside, rich in history and sustenance. Did anyone ever get the answer to the "lost" Covenant left by Lord Toms?

  4. Only yesterday a small deer was seen by several people who were walking to fairlop station via Oakfield.
    A kestrel is also seen sitting on the metal fencing around the football pitch so many people on their way to work have great pleasure
    Seeing the wild life Oakfield provides.

  5. I now believe that there are little pink elephants flying over the Town Hall having read Mira Vogel's comments. Yes, it's true that there are 11,000 on the waiting list for a home and 5,000 of them are classified as in over-crowded accommodation, but where are they living at the moment then? Having acknowledged that the 11,000 may not have a 'nice' or big enough home or even a secure one because of the whim of a temporary landlord; does anyone believe many of these homes will be 'affordable' for the ordinary Joe in the street?
    How many of these new homes will be flats? Little square boxes with a balcony, no car space (pity the emergency or shift workers)and of course if the blocks of flats are more than 3 storeys high, they have to have a life - which means a service charge and cannot be claimed by HB.
    How many 'vacant' homes are down your road? There are at least two in my road, one sold 2 months ago and empty, the other on the market but empty and there they stand 3 bed homes - empty!! I know of at least 3 homes that have been empty for at least 7 YEARS!!! Fill those please first before you start pouring concrete - and what about the number of empty flats over shops?? Back in 2005, the CEO of Shelter said that if EVERY empty dwelling was brought back into circulation, then the 'homeless' crisis would be brought down by two thirds...what has changed since? Are there no empty homes anywhere in Redbridge?
    Lastly, if anyone thinks that by not providing enough car parking or that putting new dwellings next to a station means the residents won't have a car, then those elephants over the Town Hall are at least getting exercise - when the Underground, and the buses (by the way has the new route down to Fairlop Waters started yet- its only taken 4+ years)run 24/7 and don't come to a grinding halt because we have funny snow/rain, leaves in the way - then I just might be convinced. The Green Belt was put there for a reason, as the GREEN lungs of London, let it remain so. Vanessa

  6. This is unadulterated hooliganism. Redbridge is overcrowded. In the 1960s many of my friends could not get a mortgage to buy a home in Ilford so they moved to Basildon, Brentwood and so on, This will have to happen again. Sorry - but you cannot get a quart into a pint pot. Leave the green belt alone.

    1. Your house was built on green land, probably nice green fields much like the rest of the Aldborough plains, do you feel guilty? Should we knock your house down and the rest on your street to reprovide green fields and increase the green belt? No, I didn't think so. I for one don't want anymore building, Nine of the building will help homelessness, because no one is building free homes. I especially do not want to see building in 'brownfield' sites which are generally in congested parts of the Borough, that makes no sense at all. These sites should be pocket parks, office blocks, leisure facilities etc. If we are going to build, IF, then there is no better location than Oakfield, none, because it will have the capacity to include infrastructure, and with two tube stations within a few minutes walk, plus high street and Fairlop waters, there is no better location. It could also provide houses, with gardens, with trees, unlike the barren Oakfied, where laughingly someone talks about seeing a deer on the WAY to it, or one Kestrel that sat on a fence once. The whinging about Oakfield, the private members club ( it's not an open public space, yet we own it), is pathetic, you'll get new pitches, they've got to provide them, and you know it.

    2. The criteria you use for Oakfield applies equally to a) the land on the other side of the railway line between Hainault and Fairlop stations and b) Barkingside station.

      The problem with a) is that the land is not owned by the council and therefore they don’t get any ££££s from it and with b) the land is owned by the council and they stand to get ££££s out of it for mineral extraction, after which (having been filled with inorganic matter) it will be eyed in the same way as Oakfield for housing.

      It is clear that the original intention was to develop Oakfield and the other side of the railway, viz the gaps in the houses in Fencepiece and Forest Road, and punch the roads on the south side of New North Road through to Forest Road. But along came the Green Belt. Those ransom strips were there when the Green Belt was introduced to prevent urban sprawl and communities merging. What has changed?

      And of course if this council were serious about “affordable homes” for the homeless and those in temporary accommodation they would “give” Oakfield away in exchange for council housing.

  7. I have never met Mira Vogel but I now know she has the makings of a great comedian. She actually has everyone thinking she was serious about the above comments on Oakfield! (Remember her other joke when she expected us to believe it was a good idea to spend £6,000 on solar panels (which will eventually need to be replaced) to save - only “in optimal circumstances” – just £310 a year in fuel costs?

    After all, when our two thousand ‘new friends’ are firmly entrenched in their expensive new houses on the Oakfield site,(‘Affordable’? What’s affordable?) if they’re all permanently healthy, we won’t have to wait another week for an appointment with our G.P. or wait another couple of hours in the soon to be closed A&E at King George. If they all drive electric cars we won’t experience any extra local pollution. If they’re all celibate the existing maternity services will not be overrun. If they all turn left at Forest road we won’t have to wait another ten minutes to get on to Fullwell Cross roundabout. And Tesco and Sainsbury will be overjoyed because it will be impossible to park in the High Street, even for the discretionary thirty minutes. As for cricket, football or any other field sport – well who needs it? Everyone’s got a back garden haven’t they?

    I have been a Labour supporter all my very long life (except for one unregretted lapse when I voted for Boris for Mayor to keep out the delightful Mr. Livingstone). My vote helped to elect the current Redbridge Council and also to ensure a victory for M.P. Wes Streeting.

    Because of the intransigence of a Council which has chosen to ignore completely the opinions of the electorate which put them there, and because of the party’s apparently unstoppable zoom to the far left and possible annihilation at the polls, I am seriously beginning to have second thoughts.

  8. I have read with interest all the above comments and will continue to follow the Oakfield saga if I am spared for another 10 years or so.

    No, I don't feel guilty that I bought a house built in 1935 on what had previously been a turnip field. The housebuilding in Barkingside and Clayhall between the wars was on low grade farmland and did not remove a valued community facility.

    The arrival of 600 houses plus associated vehicles, children of school age, people who fall ill from time to time and young women
    having babies will have an effect on all users of public services in the area. Even if we were all happy to build on all our public spaces - libraries, theatres, community centres, playing fields, public assembly halls, everything - we still could not build houses and associated infrastructure fast enough to accommodate a population which is growing at a million every three years.

    And before you accuse me of nimbyism, I will save you the trouble. If nimbyism is caring for your local environment to the point that you join a local environmental group to help safeguard it, then I am not the only nimby in Barkingside.

    And Oh dear! Alfred, may I ask what it was about Red Ken that you didn't like?

  9. You'd need another ten years to read it, Patsy.

    1. Let's assume I have them. Tell me.

  10. I have several points to make.
    1. This consultation is exclusive and excludes those people who do not have adequate or any access to the internet. There is a copy in each library. You would need a very long time to read digest and respond to the library copy.

    I am very disatisified with the way the consultation is being carried out it assumes internet access. There is a lot of research indicating that many people are excluded from cheao deals, consultations etc because they assume internet access.Those who are disabled, housebound etc who may wish to respond are unable to should they not have adequate internet access or are mobile enough to go to a library and are lucky to find the one copy lodged there not being used.

    2 I note that Seven Kings Park could be developed, as part of a much larger development. In an area of green space deficiency.

    3 Lastly, for now, once the spaces have been built on. The population will still be rising. This is no solution and is at best a stop gap.

  11. The answer to this may be staring me in the face, in which case I've missed it. The local plan now out for consultation includes many 'opportunity sites' (of which one is Oakfield). As most of the sites are not owned by the council, how does the council intend to develop these sites for housing? Does the council plan to buy up all of these sites if or when they become available and then sell them on to developers? What if the sites don't come onto the market; will the council then be CPO'ing them?

  12. I was proud to be at the Oakfield Public meeting as well as in Council last month when our two local nine year old girls made their "don't break a promise speeches". We should all be proud of them because they showed up the Labour administration who continue to refuse to listen. As some of you may know I led the Oakfield Deputation and what I found interesting judging from the questions Labour Councillors put to me was how they have been badly informed on the Oakfield part of the Local Plan. That's evidenced by the fact that the Alternative Playing Pitch Strategy has not been agreed with Sports England which is at odds with what is written in the Local Plan. Jas Athwal was forced to make a statement during my questions because another Labour Councillor did not accept what I said. Jas was forced to accept I was correct but said that the two alternate sites for Oakfield would be accepted by Sports England in due course. That remains to be seen but my understanding is that you cant replace a playing field with another playing field and both sites stated in the Local Plan are established playing fields.

    I think it was Cllr Littlewood who told me that we need Oakfield as there is a housing shortage. My response was that there is no housing crisis in Redbridge for people who have a budget of £500,000 to £900,000 as this will surely be the price range. Even if you knock 20% off for affordable housing any development will only assist people with large financial budgets.

    To answer Jack Silver we should all be proud of Oakfield because it is an example of what Redbridge is good at. We have in Oakfield the best sports playing fields in our borough. Its a diverse community club open to all and at no cost to Redbridge Council. I wonder if Mr Silver has ever thought about the many people who live bordering Oakfield and how a housing development would have a negative effect on their lives.

    Redbridge bought Oakfield with the promise that the land would not be used for a housing development.

    Our local girls are right - "Don't break a promise".

    Howard Berlin

    1. Lets face it the 9 yr olds were prompted to do this for the sympathy factor...a technique usually used by pathetic TV programs like X factor.This housing will hopefully provide them an excuse to stay in Redbridge not leave.
      The site is 30% fenced off from the have to pay to use it for for the local residents..i am sure when their houses were built the same was felt by locals then but guilt didnt stop people buying them.
      There are positves and negatives to any change...try looking at the positives.If from this the council provides sustainable new sports venues that will better the ones you have now,what do you have to lose?
      No gain without pain...but you are not prepared to sacrifice for the future ,sometimes we have to !

    2. Well, Judge, since we don't know who you are or where you live, it could be that you are the biggest NIMBY of all, pointing the finger at Oakfield to avoid extra housing where you live.

    3. Judge is spot on, the use of some kids to speak is straight out of 70's politics, what next kissing babies?! I bet the two girls in question live in a nice house that was built on green fields once. It's a load of tosh, don't break a promise, what promise? The land has had decades of use as a playing field, and now a new use is being considered. What makes me laugh is this notion that the pitches are irreplaceable, that they are the best of the best, well most residents wouldn't know because they're not allowed to use them. The ground is public, property of all of us in Redbridge, but run as a private concern, we can't send our kids to go and play on it. If housing is not agreed I will be lobbying Cllrs and the MP to make it an open playing field for everyone in the Borough to use, not just Mr Berlin and the private club mafia.

      And Mr Berlin, as you tell us that 1000s of people use the pitches every week, no doubt mostly driving to the area, I think residents locally might be pleased to have a reduction in the bulge of traffic that descends onto the area a few times a week. Please do not pretend to be concerned by the residents bordering Oakfield and how they might be concerned by development, if this was a genuine concern then you would object to the whole local plan because every development within it (Oakfield probably less so, as no housing on two sides) will have a detrimental affect on the neighbours. No commetsn or objections to other Greenbelt in the plan, other playing pitches being considered, just Oakfield. The SOS isn't about the environment, or a few kids who probably haven't a clue about Oakfield, or residents, or health it's really about a private club, subsidised by the rest of us, wanting to carry on as they please.

    4. Hello Jack,

      You seem to be somewhat “hot under the collar” this morning, has someone been trolling you on Twitter? Perhaps I can attempt to clam you down a bit?

      To take your last point first. The clubs at Oakfield are not subsidised by the taxpayer at all. The cost of Oakfield to the council is absolute zero. In fact the clubs lease the land from the council, which provides the council with an income, which in turn subsidises your (and everybody else’s) council tax.

      Thank you for giving me the opportunity to get that piece of crucial information out into the public domain.

      Second the clubs are indeed private clubs, just the same as any other sports club that leases land from the council. There are two quite close to you and me – The Wanstead Rugby Club and the South Woodford Cricket Club. However, the facilities at Oakfield are available for hire, just as Barkingside 21 has to pay the council to hire the publicly owned rooms at the library, or Sports clubs without a home hire the publicly owned council pitches at Barkingside Rec or elsewhere. Glad we’ve sorted that one out.

      I am puzzled though, why someone who [allegedly] lives in Woodford would be so uptight about Oakfield and the SOS campaign? Perhaps you are a little worried that the campaign might just be successful thus putting pressure back on the Wanstead Woodford corridor?

      Perhaps we will find out if and when your Local Plan submission to the Inspector is published later this year.

    5. Dear Barkingside21, I suggest you relax, where I live is an irrelevance in relation to the local plan or Oakfield, you may not be aware but those of us living in Woodford (it's nice but that nice that I'd need to manufacture it!) are allowed out if it and use and enjoy facilities Boroughwide.

      The point I make about Oakfield is that they claim it is something we can all enjoy and paint a picture of it being 'open playing fields', which is entirely untrue as they decide if, who and when anybody else can use it. Your claim that the pittance the Council would get from the clubs subsidises my Council tax is a joke, what by 5p?!!

      You might want to look into the history of the land and you will find over the years they have been subsidised, in fact the Council could comfortably generate far more from a professional organisation who could use the land for different leisure pursuits and be used by the public without having to learn a masonic handshake, so THEY are getting a good deal, and not us.

      Your childish comments about my position on the local plan unearth your annoyance, you well know my position that I would stop almost all development in the Borough, especially brownfields within residential areas, it makes no sense to cram in large numbers of people into already congested parts of the Borough, because of the increased potential of ASB, parking disputes, inability to increase infrastructure etc. And that opinion stands whether we talk about Wanstead and Woodford (although I think there are some sites here that could accommodate light development) or your beloved Barkingside. Even you must be able to see that the Oakfield site ( sports fields not withstanding ) is a perfect plot to build on, it has all the infrastructure within walking distance and can actually provide houses, which are few and far between in the local plan.

      I see you spent your time throwing barbs at me, but do not address the points around the pollution and cars that are used to attend Oakfield now, apparently 1000s use it every week, and it has not gone unnoticed how silent an environmental group is on green belt development in Seven Kings, Hainault and Goodmayes. Hypocrisy much?

    6. Hi Jack

      You are correct that I know your stated position on development, which is why I find it odd that you single out Oakfield for such treatment. The people affected are perfectly entitled to object in whatever way they deem appropriate, whether you or anybody else feels their case lacks merit.

      As for Barkingside 21 we submitted our representations on the Local Plan during the consultation phase in which we objected to all development on Green Belt anywhere in the borough, so you can park your accusation of hypocrisy where the sun don’t shine. We are told that the council will publish all the representations in due course, so you will be able to check.

      Here on this blog we have tried to report objectively on the progress of the Local Plan and what SOS are up to, for Barkingside is where our demographic is – the clue is in the name. You may also wish to note that one of the blog’s admins is in favour of development on Oakfield and has said so on here.

      However, the points being raised here are not material considerations. It is now up to the Planning Inspector to decide, based on evidence presented, whether the plan is sound and the council has fulfilled its legal obligations, and make a recommendation to the Secretary of State. The London Mayor can also intervene but I’m not sure at what point.

      Let’s just wait and see, it’s not long now, considering how long it has taken them to get this far.

  13. Has this not been thought through.

    If we build more housing more people will move in. These people will have families so in twenty years time we will have to build twice as many houses for the children to move into who will have families so in another twenty years after that we will have to build even more houses and this will keep going on until there is standing room only.

    Denise Brown

  14. Hi Denise, do people die in your analysis or do they live forever?

  15. You have a very good point, Anonymous, but there is still a problem. If all the land has been taken up for housing, where do we bury the dead 'uns? Cremation will incur the wrath of the global warming aficionados and also the CO2 campaigners (do you realise that every time you open a can of fizzy drink or a bottle of sparkling water thousands of toxic CO2 bubbles are released into the atmosphere which will completely destroy the ozone layer in as little as five million years? They're going to tax sugary drinks shortly but they've obviously overlooked this equally deadly menace.) But I digress. The bodies, yes. If they're taken out and buried at sea - well who wants to eat a fillet of a haddock which may itself have eaten bits of great aunt Emily washed down with a handful of seaweed.?
    So what's the answer? A few more recycling bins I guess.

  16. I have suddenly realised that nobody has pointed out the apparently flawed mathematics of this Oakfield deal should it come to fruition.

    It has been said that Bob the builder will pay LBR £200 million for the site. He will then build the declared 600 ‘homes’, be they flats, houses, bungalows or whatever. Let’s assume these dwellings cost to build, say, an average of £100,000 each. So that’s another £60 million. Now add in the cost of site infrastructure; lighting, power, sewage, drainage, roads, landscaping and all the rest, together with the cost of the initial site preparation such as demolition, tree felling and the rest. I would not know how to calculate that realistically but lets say, conservatively, another £50 million. Then add the two schools and other promised public buildings. Say, another ten million minimum. So Bob has now spent approximately £320 million to cover the Oakfield site with concrete, bricks and mortar (and possibly a few flower beds). There will be other costs of course but let’s ignore them for the moment.
    What has he now to sell? He has 600 ‘homes’ some ‘affordable’, say at £200,000 each (which is less than the local average) and the rest not so – say £300 to 500K each. If we round that up to 600 at a reasonable average of say, £400,000 his return could be £240 million, even perhaps £300 million.

    But he’s already spent more than £310 million! Does he have some kind of miracle accountant, is he doing this for charity or have I missed something?