Work has begun on building a new outdoor sports complex in Leyton.
The 60-metre running track, two floodlit sport pitches, four-court beach volleyball arena, and pavilion, will be built at Ive Farm – a former Leyton Orient Football Club training ground that has lain derelict for several years.
Although the location is designated as Metropolitan Open Land, which carries the same protection as green belt, Waltham Forest Council granted planning permission after only five objections were written against it.
The Ive Farm complex will partly replace sports facilities at the existing Score Centre in Oliver Road, opened just over a decade ago, which the council now wants to demolish in favour of housing.
Councillor Clare Coghill, cabinet member for economic growth and high streets, said: “The redevelopment of Ive Farm will form an important part of our wider regeneration plans for the Leyton and Lea Bridge area, which include the development of more homes and first-class facilities for new and existing residents.
“The Ive Farm redevelopment will provide more state-of-the-art sporting facilities for our residents to use and enjoy, helping people to stay active and enjoy participating within their local community. We are keen for local residents to play a role in shaping our plans for Ive Farm, and will have more information on how they can get involved shortly.”
Although enabling work began last week, with the existing derelict pavilion demolished to make way for the new sports facilities, a council spokesperson has refused to say how much the Ive Farm scheme will cost because “the budget is yet to be confirmed”.
A contractor will undertake clearance work on the site this month, which is likely to include the removal of some trees, but the council states that these will be replaced to ensure there is “no net loss of trees” from the project.
As part of the planning application, approved in January, a heritage survey of Ive Farm noted that the site was likely to contain remains from the Bronze and Iron Age periods. However, Historic England did not object to permission being granted.
Councillors at a planning committee meeting voted to accept council planning officers’ conclusion that the Ive Farm development “would not materially impact or cause harm to the existing Metropolitan Open Land designation” and “would provide an improved sporting facility and allow significant regeneration benefits”.
A new footbridge over the nearby Dagenham Brook has also been included as part of the scheme.