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Community bid for sports grounds

PlanningAfter Imperial College ceased sporting activities at their sports fields on Udney Park Road, rumours have been rife about the future of the 13 acre site in the heart of Teddington. The process is now open for bidders to make themselves known but the desperate need for local sports facilities, green spaces and protection against over-development has led to the formation of a concerned group Space to Play.

Space to Play is a community consortium of local sports clubs, schools, businesses and residents that are coming together to ensure that the Imperial College playing fields remain an open space and a dedicated sports facility that can be opened up to the whole community. Local sports clubs and some schools are in need of extra playing fields in order to meet the demand from local families – many have long waiting lists to join clubs.

The key to the success of a community bid is Richmond Council’s commitment to keeping the playing fields as green open space. The group believes there are historical, practical and legal reasons why they should remain so:

  • The land was originally gifted on the basis that its use would be restricted to amateur sport.
  • The Council is currently carrying out a survey into the availability of open playing fields across the Borough, suggesting that this is an area of concern.
  • This site has been designated ‘Other Open Land of Townscape Importance’, and should therefore be protected from development under current planning regulations.
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    Space To Play is assuming that the Planning Department’s position holds a ‘presumption against commercial development‘ despite the site being marketed with potential for this – the sale info emphasises ‘Potential for a number of alternative uses including D1, C2 & C3 subject to the necessary consents.’ D1 is non-residential (e.g. schools) C2 is residential institutions (e.g. nursing homes) and C3 is housing.

    The group needs support of local residents to ensure that this ‘presumption’ becomes a ‘conviction’. Interested parties must put forward proposals in the next few weeks and a community bid would almost certainly be the best way of safeguarding as much of the land as possible. Visit their website for more info and to add your signature to their petition if you are also concerned about the future of the site.


    0 thoughts on “Community bid for sports grounds

    • 13 acre garden for Teddington! A school is needed in this area. Surely a school and sports facilities can share Teddingtons garden. Better a school than have a new housing estate or shopping mall.

    • A traffic impact assessment for visitors to a mall would demonstrate that local residents would suffer a huge surge in traffic all day, everyday from morning to night – if not 24 hours – along small roads. An Academy/Free School with a difference is the answer; an educational establishment with an SEND approach to include gifted and talented children and those with exceptional sports qualities and disabilities (the site was given as a sports’ site) would be the most practical, beneficial and charitable solution. Traffic times are then limited to drop-off and pick-up. Govt funding is generous for projects like this (10k per capita pupil premium) and the whole community would benefit from the use of the facilities which can be open to the public at weekends outside school practice times. Further, there is a restricted covenant. The site was gifted for educational use and that is what must continue. Property developers would and should be precluded.


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