We were delighted that Redbridge Council announced on 23rd January that they would not be pursuing the decision made at Cabinet on 19th October 2023 regarding entering into negotiations with West Ham United for a lease at Oakfield Playing Fields and will recommence the process afresh. The move which would have provided a new academy site for The Hammers, would have effectively evicted Bealonians FC a local club catering for 600 players across 29 youth teams and 10 adult teams and five community cricket clubs. The potential loss to grassroots sport would be incalculable so news of this stay of execution is most welcome.
When the possibility of Bealonians being kicked out of their home in favour of a professional football club from another borough raised its head a year ago, LPFF was quick to stand side by side with secretary Andy MacRae. Recognising that it was vital to provide a coordinated opposition to the plans, the Foundation assisted in convening and chairing Sporting Stakeholder Group which includes Football Association, Essex CFA, AFA, England and Wales Cricket Board, Sport England, Essex CCC, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and neighbouring Redbridge Sports Centre.
LPFF CEO Alex Welsh, acknowledges that this fight is far over and reminds supporters that “we have been here before so we must remain vigilant and keep the pressure on Redbridge Council to do the right thing.”