Community Bid For Purchase of Udney Park Rejected

AHH/ Quantum (the landowners) have confirmed today that 82% of the investors have agreed to accept an alternative bid for the site. They expect to exchange soon. This is a sporting bid but AHH/ Quantum will reveal no more. No residential bids were put forward.

There will be no luxury flats built at Udney Park, but whether or not any space remains for community sport or whether there will be future access for the public to these fields is still to be revealed.

Jonathan Dunn who set up the charity to purchase the field for community sport, expressed his disappointment -

‘My vision was that Udney Park could become a community hub providing much need playing space for our local clubs. I do not feel sorry for myself -but I do feel sorry for all the volunteers at Thamesians RFC, Hearts of Teddlothian FC and Teddington RFC who really needed these fields for their youngsters to play on.

Sport was only a component of an overall plan for the site. I am also particularly sorry that we cannot develop proposals with some of the charities that we have been engaging with. These ideas included a community café to be operated in partnership with The Feel Good Bakery who work so hard to place youngsters in to meaningful work. We also aimed to provide a base for Three Pillars who do so much to support young people to forge a brighter future by delivering sports based mentoring programmes for young men in the criminal justice system, in order to aid their reintegration in to society.

The ACV process ended last Monday and I have to say that I am hugely disappointed that a bid has been accepted within 4 days without any meeting or meaningful engagement with the community bid. I appreciate that it is the prerogative of the investors to accept an alternative bid but I believe that the community proposal was a generous one. It valued the fields in excess of a playing field valuation and It also provided AHH and their investors with an exit in line with the ethical and community values that the AHH website espouses. I guess at the end of the day this was always about money.

The site still faces further restrictions which will curtail commercial sporting use, so maybe the other bidder will have second thoughts -

o the site is included in the next Local Plan as a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation (SMINC), this is a London-wide designated and second only to the National designation of SSSI. When the Council Biodiversity officer assessed the ecology at UPPF for the Planning application, noting the 9 protected species present, she determined that UPPF should be evaluated as a SMINC for the next Local Plan revision. The charity South West London Environment Network is leading the evaluation, the Local Plan update has started and will be adopted in 2023/24. Natural England also objected to residential development on UPPF at the Public Inquiry

o the site is included in the next Local Plan as a Building of Townscape Merit. Historic England recognised that UPPF retains its status as a War Memorial. The park and pavilion were funded by a specific war time charity set up as a memorial to the WW1 fallen and are protected by covenants for "amateur rugby" that remain on the Title Deeds. Historic England in their evidence to the Public Inquiry recommended to Richmond Council that the Pavilion and surroundings be added to the local register of protected heritage assets, which Richmond defines as Buildings of Townscape Merit. The application for local heritage protection has been prepared with expert advice and will be submitted as part of the Local Plan revision.

Thanks to everyone who gave me their support throughout this process. As we emerge from the Covid pandemic playing sport and mental health all the more important. We have just had another fabulous haul of Olympic medals but the reality is that since 2010 there has been a real slash of 47% in government support for community sport. I was hoping that by retaining Udney Park in a small way we could respond locally to these issues. The whole experience has underlined for me how important it is that everyone places an importance on maintaining our green spaces and playing fields.’

Other recent news

Foundation submit bid to Mr Wu and support in Parliament

Foundation submit bid to Mr Wu and support in Parliament

Posted on 6th Feb 2024

I have now attended two positive meetings with Mr Wu’s representatives, together with my fellow trustee, Philip Barnes. The most recent meeting was the week before last. An offer to purchase the fields has been submitted. More information has been requested. The Foundation is providing an executive summary as to why the land should be sold, in order that Mr Wu’s representatives can go back with to Mr Wu with a recommendation. This submission will go in this week.

The second meeting was also attended by our local MP, Munira Wilson, who made several robust statements in support of the bid. Munira left all attendees in no doubt as to her position. Her position has also been set out in Parliament on more than one occasion, most recently as link below.

Discussions on purchase of fields due to commence

Discussions on purchase of fields due to commence

Posted on 27th Sep 2023

The ACV for the sale for Udney Park playing fields was finally triggered on 15th September 2023, when the owners formally confirmed to LBRUT that they intended to sell the fields. A moratorium of six months now commences during which time the fields can only be sold to a Community Interest Company (CIC).

Foundation to submit bid AND receives a mention in parliament.

Foundation to submit bid AND receives a mention in parliament.

Posted on 14th Jul 2023

Confirmation of the sale of Udney Park playing fields was confirmed in the local press igniting hopes that the fields can be returned to community use

The Foundation have contacted the representatives of Mr Wu in order to put in motion an offer for the purchase of the playing fields. The site is designated as an ACV, and is currently under a moratorium which prevents the sale of the land to anyone other than a Community Interest Company (CIC) for a six month period.