Campaigners protest City Farm closure at Town Hall with 6,000-strong petition

Campaigners demonstrate outside Old Town Hall Stratford against plans to close Newham City Farm

Campaigners demonstrate outside Old Town Hall Stratford against plans to close Newham City Farm - Credit: Submitted

Campaigners bidding to save Newham City Farm have held another protest and handed an almost 6,000-strong petition to the council.

A number of questions were submitted to Newham Council about the farm ahead of a full council meeting on September 20.

Cabinet members voted unanimously to close the venue earlier this month, which had been open for almost 45 years.

There have been previous demonstrations against the proposal held in recent weeks.

Cllr James Asser told September 7's cabinet meeting said the farm was no longer fit for purpose.

At Old Town Hall Stratford yesterday, the cabinet member for environment reiterated his apology to Newham residents around the closure, and confirmed the Beckton site will be public, green space and part of a masterplan for the area's parks.

A consultation on this will take place, the authority has confirmed, and "an animal offer" will form part of this.

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Cllr Quintin Peppiatt handed in the petition to last night's meeting. He said: "Cllr Asser has said there will be an animal offer. That could be a budgerigar. We want a bit bigger than a budgerigar and there is no specific about how you're going to get a city farm back in its place."

He also criticised a lack of "proper" consultation and said parents were concerned about not being consulted.

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Cllr Asser told the meeting it would "certainly be more than a budgerigar" and said he had met with campaigners about the situation.

"This is not a situation we should have found ourselves in and I am extremely sorry we have got to this point," he said.

"It's been an extremely difficult period and it is not a decision I wanted to make."

He vowed to continue to meet with community members on the site's future.

Cllr Asser explained: "What we want to do is get people to bring in ideas of what they would like to see.

"That could be a new farm, that could be bringing in external charities and welfare groups."

The cabinet member also said provision for those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) would be an important part of the new space.

"We will make something decent out of this, I promise.

"I stand here as a guarantee that this will continue to be public open space and we will work with them (campaigners) to develop what animal provision we can, along with the SEND provision and other play facilities."

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