In your front page story last week (“Club could face boot for West Ham”) Cllr Jas Athwal is quoted as saying fears of losing Oakfield are “conspiracy theories” and “spurious nonsense”. But neither he nor his deputy, Cllr Rai, deny it. Hundreds of youngsters of the registered charity, Bealonians FC, are going to lose their magnificent Jack Carter Pavilion, five football pitches and two very fine cricket pitches on this Asset of Community Value in favour of a wealthy, private company - West Ham United. Council officers have told us so. Although a life-long fan of the Hammers, I believe this is wrong on every level.

Bealonians carry my profound respect – as talented and hearty adversaries on the field of play! They have made an enormous contribution to grass roots sport in Ilford over many decades, especially since creating a home on Oakfield since 2004. They should be allowed – even begged – to remain custodians of their Oakfield Playing Fields. They are an FA Chartered Standard Club that is completely open to all the community for health, fitness and character development from age five upwards. They offer entry and opportunities for all the community – as players, coaches, volunteers, parents and guests. The social cohesion of Redbridge depends on clubs like the Beals.

On the other hand, a West Ham facility would be limited to the few, fenced off to the many, and not, as Cllr Rai says, for “leisure”.

Up the Hammers! But think again West Ham. Keep improving your own development plans but not on our precious Oakfield, please, and not at the expense of the community.

The Oakfield Playing Fields must be kept as open, green playing fields in its entirety for all the people of Redbridge.

Dr Chris Nutt

Secretary, The Save Oakfield Society