We reported on fears that greenbelt land in Redbridge was still under threat from development five years ago this week.

Concerned campaigners who won the battle to save two playing fields from being turned into new homes had no idea it would put other green belt sites at risk.

People who saved Oakfield Playing Fields, Barkingside, and Ford Sports Ground, Ilford, have just discovered Redbridge Council’s warning, which says other sites could be built on instead.

The 2015-30 Local Plan says all “reasonably available” brownfield land in the borough has been identified – something which has angered the Fairlop Action Team, who thought the war had been won.

The Barkingside and Ilford sites were saved following a passionate campaign from Save Oakfield Society (SOS).

Howard Berlin, 66, of Longwood Gardens, Councillor Joyce Ryan and Ruth Clark urged Cllr Jas Athwal, leader of Redbridge Council, to be transparent about which areas could be under consideration.

“I am not surprised by the threat because the council wants to build homes,” Mr Berlin said.

“We are very concerned that the council will seek other greenbelt sites to develop. We believe there’s enough land in the borough to not touch greenbelt land. The council needs to work with residents rather than going on a whim and deciding for themselves.

“We are not anti-building homes, we just believe they should be built in the right place, work with residents and have a proper consultation.”

The council defended the decision to build over the two sites in a letter to the planning inspector.

All “reasonably available” brownfield sites had been identified, creating the need to build over green belt areas, they argued.

“Deleting both sites from the Local Plan would therefore necessitate the release of further Green Belt to enable the borough to meet its development needs, including need for infrastructure,” the statement said.

The council needs to work with communities to ensure homes are built in the right place, Mr Berlin argued.

The campaign to save Oakfield and Ford came to a successful end after the council announced in a meeting on Thursday, September 14, that both would be spared.

Cllr Jas Athwal, leader of Redbridge Council said: "The green belt matter is now settled and the local plan will go forward as amended following consultation."