Sunday, May 28, 2017

Streeting calls Foul over Scott’s “lies” on Oakfield – #IlfordNorth #GE2017

It rather saddens me to report that Oakfield has become a party political football in the Ilford North constituency campaign in this General Election 2017. The Save Oakfield campaign, of which Barkingside 21 is a part, is non-party political and the Oakfield question is now outside the political arena and with an independent Planning Inspector.

The first we heard about this was a tweet from Wes Streeting on Friday evening and repeated again on Saturday morning with a follow up:
Wes Streeting @wesstreeting
.@LeeScott2017 Why have you written to residents lying about my record on Oakfield? I voted against Local Plan. We spoke together weeks ago:
9:37am · 27 May 2017
Wes Streeting @wesstreeting
.@LeeScott2017 I also lobbied @SadiqKhan on Oakfield. This is what standing up for Ilford North looks like:
9:40am · 27 May 2017 ·

Which prompted us to ask for a copy of the letter. A scan of the whole letter, signed by Lee Scott, is here and it contains this bit:
“[Wes Streeting] still serves as a Redbridge Labour councillor, supporting Redbridge Labour Council as they bulldoze Oakfields against local wishes. What would he do in Parliament, other than support the Labour council of which he is a leading member?”
We can confirm that in his role as a Labour councillor for Aldborough ward Mr Streeting voted against his own party and for the opposition amendment to remove Oakfield from the Local Development Plan. This motion was defeated.

Subsequently on the vote to adopt the Local Development Plan (which at this stage included Oakfield) Mr Streeting voted against.

Mr Scott’s campaign manager, Paul Canal, the leader of the opposition was in the council chamber at the time, so he knows.

We can also confirm that Mr Streeting lobbied the London Mayor and his crucial support for the cause to save Oakfield was welcomed by all members of Save Oakfield Society.

Wes Streeting said: “To say that I am angry would be an understatement. Whatever the outcome on June 8th, I will continue to support the campaign to save Oakfield. I simply want this election campaign to be grounded in facts, rather than smears".

Chris Nutt, Secretary of Save Oakfield Society said: “We are actually extremely grateful for Wes Streeting’s continued and genuine interest and support. I’ll send an email to all our supporters to confirm this. Lee has also done much to help, especially with the Parliamentary petition. It’s not a ‘political’ matter but one that affects everyone and is seen to be of concern across the Parties London-wide”.

Alan Howe, secretary of Barkingside 21 echoed the above and added: "I would remind everybody that the plan to develop Oakfield was conceived by a Conservative administration and the process of moving the Frenford clubs to the PLA site and Cricklefields was also started by the Conservatives".

There has, so far, been no response from Mr Scott or Mr Canal.


  1. As an East End girl I was brought to Oakfields by my school for weekly games. I came to live in Barkingside 61 years ago. There have been so many homes built since then. Flats are going up all around and while we need homes we also need open fields to keep us healthy. These fields are the lungs for our community and must be preserved.

    1. Doris, I consider each district should have the same treatment as a cigarette packet, show the extent of lung damage from pollution and that should decide prospective new residents whether to move to that area or suffer a bypass, cough, cough...!

  2. The plan to develop on Oakfield started in June 2014 by the current Leader of Redbridge Council. It is factually incorrrct to blame the previous Conservative administration. Yes Council officers put Oakfield on the table and yes a green belt review was carried out but the review concluded that building on Oakfield would "break the urban edge". The fact is that the Conservative administration dropped plans to develop on Oakfield. The significance of the original green belt review meant that whoever ran the administration that Oakfield could not be released from green belt. The current administration are using "back door" methods to release Oakfield from Green Belt. It's a complex issue and I have submitted two green belt reviews to the planning inspector which can be seen on the Redbridge I website. I believe Redbridge Council's green belt reviews are a total waste of our resources.

    There is no doubt that Lee and Wes are pro Oakfield as playing fields/green belt. We at SOS have thanked them for their support privately and publicly on any occasions.

    It's factual that the local Labour Group with the exception of Wes want to sell Oakfield for housing. It's also factual that the local Conservative Group want Oakfield for playing fields/green belt. It should also be noted that the three Lib Dem Councillors voted with the Labour Group to build houses on Oakfield. To be fair the local Green Party support SOS and the local Conservative Group. Also, independent Doris for the record opposes the local Labour Group on Oakfield.

    Ultimately it's down to the residents of Ilford North to decide who is the best person to represent them in Parliament should assistance be required to take this up with the Secretary of State.

    Howard Berlin

  3. Howard

    The record is here on this blog, you just have to click on the “Oakfield” label and scroll back to the beginning.

    It started in April 2009 when the Conservative administration allocated £6m of public funds to move the Frenford clubs from the Oakfield site. Why? We all knew what was happening, perhaps except you? You might also wish to note that the Chair of the Frenford clubs is a former conservative councillor and now chair of the Save Oakfield Society.

    But it was not until February 2013 that the Conservatives came clean and told us what they wanted to do.

    It was in late 2013, after a great deal of negative feedback and with the local elections looming, that Alex Wilson, then Cabinet member, pulled it and sent it back to officers to come up with alternatives to Oakfield.

    Labour inherited the consultation on those alternative Options and the irony is that that one of them was the Wanstead / Woodford corridor and it was the same Alex Wilson, then not a councillor, who lead the “Save our Suburbs” campaign that also lead, in part, to Oakfield staying in the plan.

    I agree that the present Labour administration do not escape criticism, but I’m afraid the fake claims by the opposition do not ring true. I know you believe them because they are your mates, but not outside your bubble.

    However, all of this is irrelevant. We, and I am grateful for your personal efforts, have a very strong case and I am confident we will win this and that we will not need assistance from the Secretary of State, whoever they may be after June 8.

  4. Clearly, we agree that the previous administration withdrew Oakfield. To me its irrelevant why they withdrew Oakfield. They withdrew Oakfield end of!!! What is paramount is that because of the result of the green belt review they commissioned they could never have got this pass a planning inspector because the conclusion of the first review supported the green belt status of Oakfield.

    When Labour took control of the Council back in 2014 they immediately started the process to sell Oakfield for housing. Therefore, the problems facing the local community today are as a result of the Labour administration and the three Lib Dem Councillors.

    What I believe most people are missing is that the key issue is that of Oakfield's green belt status. I am appalled that Redbridge Council (post June 2014) did not give key factual information to the green belt review company and that this company did not bother to research key facts. My two reports identify the facts. I am not sure how much of the SOS evidence base you have read. Chris Nutt has done an incredible job with regard all the sports side of the evidence.

    Let me state this. Under government legislation you cant replace a playing field with an existing playing field. Leaving aside the green belt issue this is exactly what our Redbridge Council are trying to achieve. Its totally shambolic and a waste of our Council Tax resources.

    I would suggest you publish on this Blog my two green belt reviews together with the evidence base from SOS with regard the alternate playing pitch issue. Its all on the Redbridge Local Plan Web Page. People can then see what an incredible job we have all done in fighting this horrendous plan for the local community.

    When you read this I am sure you will see why the Redbridge current administration have this all wrong and why our case is so very strong.

    Howard Berlin

  5. I refer you to my earlier reply, above.

  6. All I know is I am now on puffers because of the pollution emitted around the streets off Fullwell Cross Roundabout and with the possibility of another 800 more homes, a school and a medical centre to be concentrated in the same vicinity, the place will become a hell-hole of pollution on a par with Beijing. - A reminder is five roads of concentrated traffic, made even worse when there are road-works, 800 homes all emitting boiler exhausts, one and two cars also from approx 800 homes (I say this because they are not homes for the needy, they will be costing approx £600-800,000 each (a mighty-fine business contract I am sure) and it seems the wildlife in the area will not even be considered and the present residents around the said field will undoubtedly have years of filth from building. Now, remember when Tony Blair got into the running for Prime Minister? he said "No more Aggregates..." are you sure?, there has been nothing but extractions from nearby fields and trucks also delivering aggregates for the building trade from other vicinities. Why doesn't someone come clean and say outright, what is going on - and who will benefit for sure - and how much will be crossing someone's palm - because that sort of thing will eventually surface and by then the situation will be irreversible.

  7. 2003 - informal negotiations commenced with Council by at least one lease-holder at Oakfield about development to extend and enhance existing sports facilities mostly due to perceived opportunities afforded by new Licensing Act

    2006 - first inkling of Olympics - Sports Centre to be a vast Badminton Training Centre and "Olympic-sized Swimming Pool" to be built at Cricklefield - Frenford approached by Council to vacate Cricklefield and consolidate all activities at Oakfield; plans drawn up for buildings on what is still main car park at "Jack Carter". Issues raised about length of lease as funding bodies required extension

    2007 - long-standing officers in what was then "Land Management" had meetings with Oakfield Tenants. Any developments had to be self-financing as Council had no money. Officers were sceptical of Cricklefield move ever going ahead. Apparently "the land disposals are falling short of expectations." Following reorg. those officers took early retirement or moved to other Authorities. No further discussion on extending leases.

    2008 - "The Big Conversation" started by the Council. First formal mention of sale of Oakfield Site. Developers asked for "expressions of interest".

    The next bit of history is fairly well known.

    Cricklefield was vacated. The Isaac Newton Academy was built on the site. Frenford moved to the PLA site in The Drive (after school built).
    The Redbridge Sports Centre was given the freehold of the facilities inside their fences in order to receive funding from Olympic Delivery Authority for the development of what has become the Jean Brown Centre.

    In 2013, Cllr. Wilson asked the LDF Review Committee to "take another look" at the recommendation to develop Oakfield but did not remove the recommendation entirely from the LDP (as could have happened).
    2014 - Labour win the Local Election but the LDF process has been left in place for them to 'inherit'.

  8. And here's Howard Berlin, (who signed Lee Scott's nomination papers) contradicting his candidate on Twitter:

    Question to @jeremycorbyn re Ilford North. Your candidate @wesstreeting supports Oakfield as playing fields/Green Belt 1/2

    I have a screen shot

  9. No contradiction at all. We should all support Oakfield as playing fields. Residents want to know what Jeremy Corbyn's position is on Oakfield as there is a difference of opinion between Wes Streeting and Redbridge Labour Council.

  10. I apologise. I had assumed that @leescott2017 was a genuine account.

  11. Both candidates support Oakfield as playing fields. Lee since day one and Wes since June 2015. You know for a fact that SOS (and myself) have thanked both publicly and privately. Wes is part of the Redbridge Labour Group that wants to turn Oakfield into a housing estate. Both candidates are entitled to say (or argue) that they are best to represent the community on the importsnt issue of Oakfield and Redbridge Green Belt. Its up to residents to decide who is best to represent them.

    You have published details of a motion from March 2016 (Redbridge Council) where Wes Stressing voted against Oakfield Playing Fields and Redbridge Green Belt. Wes Stressing could easily have suggested an amendment to the motion if he wanted the words of the motion tweaked. As I said its now down to the residents to decide who is best to represent them on Oakfield and Redbridge Green Belt protection.

  12. Well, I seem to recall you approved of the letter in the Ilford Recorder from prof Paul Cheshire whose view was that we should consider development on green belt but NOT on high value amenity sports grounds or areas of environmental value. It seems to me that Wes agrees with you here in rejecting that blanket motion but it remains a fact that in the substantive motion proposed by Nick Hayes to remove Oakfield from the LDF that Wes voted in favour – something that your candidate (or whoever is managing his campaign [badly]) has refused to recognise.

  13. The letter you refer to was written by Paul Cheshire. I suggest you contact him if you want further information or clarification.

    Only one motion was made and Wes Streeting voted against Oakfield.

    I suggest you check on the Redbridge I website where you can see the motion and the councillors who voted for and against.

    I am afraid you are mixing up the vote where Wes voted for Oakfield with the earlier vote where Wes voted against Oakfield and Redbridge Green Belt.

  14. Howard,
    Let me try to put this as plainly as I can for you to understand.


    He voted against a token, meaningless motion put forward by an inept opposition playing games for political advantage.

    It was a blanket motion trying to commit the council NEVER to build on green belt. No one in their right mind would agree to that, not even those who proposed and supported the motion. I agree that he could have proposed an amendment but that would have nullified the motion, so would have been pointless.

    If you go to the Redbridge-I website and look for the submission from B21 on the LDF you will find this:

    "We object, in principle, to any development (except that which is permitted) on designated Green Belt land.
    However, we recognise that pressure will eventually mean that some Green Belt land will have to be given up to housing development. If and when this occurs the factors above (equal shares and brownfield sites) should be taken into account and only land that is unproductive (eg former farm land no longer used for that purpose) and not being used as a valued community amenity should be considered for development".

    This is pretty much the same view expressed by Paul Cheshire in his letter which YOU "liked" on the SOS Facebook page.

  15. Either you want to try and protect Redbridge Green Belt or not. You might think its meaningless but the Conservative Group in Council are the only group in Council fighting to protect our Green Belt.

    The only other party in Redbridge that back the Conservatives are your party which is the Green Party.

    It seems you are arguing against yourself. SOS, Barkingside 21, the Conservative Group and the Green Party all support Green Belt protection.


    The Conservative group have nodded through development on all the other green belt sites except Oakfield, because that’s the one that suits their electoral advantage.

    Did you not notice? I thought not. Would you like me to list the other GB sites they have agreed to?

    And the Conservative group “campaign” opposing development on Oakfield has been frankly woeful. The main thrust has come from SOS, supported by B21, and you are a major player in that.

    Please do not be bashful and take the credit. The Conservative group don’t deserve any, apart maybe from Nick.

  17. You talk of "credit". As you know it's Chris Nutt who has been the driving force behind the SOS campaign from day one. He has been brilliant. The rest of the SOS team have also contributed greatly.

    We have put forward the most incredible case to the inspector. I do not believe Redbridge Council fully understand what they are up again. Their green belt reviews are woeful and we have pulled them apart. Chris has pulled apart the PPS evidence.

    We are focussing on the inspector hearings relating to green belt and Oakfield. I hope you can attend both sessions so you can report on proceedings.

    Barkingside 21 together with the local community have been brilliant with their support for SOS for many different reasons.

    See you at the Hearing.

  18. We agree on that. I forgot to mention Joyce above.

  19. Yes of course Cllr Joyce Ryan. Another brilliant star from day one for the protection of Green Belt Oakfield Playing Fields.