Campaigners fear Newham City Farm site will become 'another green space'
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Campaigners fighting to save Newham City Farm have hit back at promises the site will become public green space.
The Beckton venue opened in 1977 but cabinet members voted unanimously to close it earlier this month.
The issue of the site's future was discussed again at a full council meeting on Monday (September 20).
A protest by Newham People Power was held while a petition against the plans was handed in with almost 6,000 signatures.
A number of questions were also asked about the farm by members of the public.
Cabinet member for environment, James Asser, told Old Town Hall Stratford the farm site will be public, green space and part of a masterplan for Beckton's parks.
Another campaign group, Save Newham City Farm, has concerns about this proposal.
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In a statement, it said: "We agree that the parks in Beckton are generally in need of improvement and support this course of action, but we are concerned that the farm will become another open green space in a place where there are already many similar spaces.
"The farm area is enclosed, safe and managed, and is therefore less at risk of antisocial behaviour than the other open spaces in the area."
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On Monday, Cllr Asser repeated an apology he first made to Newham residents over the closure at the cabinet meeting on September 7.
He said the farm was no longer fit for purpose, while that meeting also heard £7 million would be needed to bring it back up to a decent standard.
Inspections in November uncovered a series of issues, the meeting heard, including concerns about some animals. Legal proceedings are underway.
At Monday's council meeting, Cllr Asser said he would continue to meet community members and invited suggestions about the future use of the site, which could include "a new farm".
Save Newham City Farm said it was encouraged by this development.
"We feel that there was a real shift in the council’s position on Monday evening.
"We look forward to working with Cllr Asser on this as part of the consultation process.
"We believe our farm offered something to Newham that was unique and special, which is at risk of being lost. This is why we will continue to investigate, and discuss with the council, alternatives to its closure."