Lib Dems sound alarm over loss of Drapers Field playing fields

Cathall Lib Dem team at Drapers Field

Lib Dem councillors and campaigners have expressed alarm at news that Labour councillors are negotiating to exclude local people from popular sports facility Draper’s Field during Olympic year – just a few months after pledging to protect Waltham Forest’s green spaces and leisure facilities.

The news has sparked anger among local Liberal Democrat campaigners, who say the all-weather pitch and playing fields are used by over 9,000 people every month.

Information obtained by Leyton councillor and Liberal Democrat Group Leader Bob Sullivan shows that Labour Council Leader Chris Robbins has actively negotiated to lease the playing fields to the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) for possible use as a VIP car park or other Olympic-related uses. As a result local children and football clubs will have nowhere to play in Olympic year while international elite athletes race for medals just a few hundred yards away.

Bob Sullivan said:

To allow Drapers Field to be given over to the ODA and turned into a car park would be a travesty for local clubs and schools. The Olympics should be used to encourage sport, not destroy it. Under Labour the council is in danger of missing a huge opportunity to gain Olympic benefits.

There are no other all-weather pitches in the immediate area. This could cause enormous disruption to users.

Councillor Sullivan has written to the ODA and the Council Leader demanding information about the negotiations and assurances that the interests of local sports clubs and residents will be protected.

Drapers Field consists of an all weather football pitch, playing fields and an Arts and Drama Centre. It is used extensively by local sports clubs, schools and residents. The estimated use of Drapers Field is 108,260 people per year excluding the use of the Arts and Drama Centre.  The all-weather pitch has 1,380 users per week (71,760 per year).

Only last December Labour councillors voted for a Liberal Democrat motion which pledged to protect green open spaces and leisure facilities. The key text of the agreed motions reads:

This council

  • notes residents’ concern about threats to green spaces, playing fields and associated amenities such as sports facilities within our borough;
  • understands the vital importance of green spaces and playing fields as areas for recreation and sport in both informal and organised capacities;
  • recognises the importance of local playing fields for local schools;
  • believes that actively protecting our green spaces and strengthening sports facilities will be a key part of Waltham Forest’s Olympic legacy.

2 thoughts on “Lib Dems sound alarm over loss of Drapers Field playing fields

  1. […] Liberal Democrats’ campaign to save Drapers Field from being tarmaced over has hit the headlines. The Evening Standard reports: […]

  2. Joe Dyer says:

    Residents were told about the glory of the 2012 Olympic and how the locals would benefit, what we were not told is. The only green space on this side of the Borough (Drapers Field) would be given over to the ODA and turned into a car park. Many residents feel disappointments in the deception of Waltham Forest and the ODA and generally feel much let down.

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