Community bid submitted
Community bid submitted
Jonathan Dunn has confirmed that a seven-figure bid has been submitted for the purchase of Udney Park playing fields by the charity set up for this purpose – the Udney Park Community Playing Fields Foundation. The deadline for a bid is next Monday and the hope now is that there will be some serious dialogue around this offer before the ACV period expires in mid-August.
The decision will now rest with the owners AHH (Quantum) and their investors as to whether to accept this offer.
Jonathan explained ‘Richmond Council have been very clear on what will and will not be allowed on this site (read Richmond Council Stance). There does not seem to be any prospect of building on the existing car park or developing the pavilion, other than as facilities to support the sporting use of the fields, and to serve the local community.
I very much hope that the offer is given proper consideration as it provides everyone with a release from the deadlock that has blighted Udney Park from so many years. I am encouraged by the AHH commitment to social and ethical values as espoused on their website. As a residential development is not going to be viable then hopefully the community solution will provide a very positive outcome for everyone.
The plans for the site are being steadily advanced (View The Plan). There is much work needing to be done before the fields can be put back in to use. If the bid is successful, then this will just be phase 1 completed. There will then be a need for substantial capital investment to create the vibrant community hub that everyone would like to see.
The support of our local MP, Munira Wilson has been very much appreciated, as well as a long list of sporting luminaires – both national and local (view our supporters)
I have had very useful advice from Sports England and the national sporting bodies. Even more important has been the enthusiasm and energy from the local clubs who will be the end users (view main stakeholders).
For Thamesians RFC and Hearts of Teddlothians FC this will provide a new home. For Teddington RFC it will hopefully provide an important evening training facility between their matches. There will be an affordable tennis facility, and a cricket facility. The jogging track will provide local access with personal training areas around the perimeter of the site. A host of other local clubs and schools have expressed an interest in using Udney Park if this can all be bought to fruition.
The pavilion was built as a war memorial in 1922 for the fallen pupils of Old Merchant Taylors School, so it will be a wonderful symmetry to reopen exactly one hundred years later! (read the history of Udney Park)
The operating committee that has been formed are also in dialogue with a host of NGO’s over non-sporting use of the pavilion building including charities such as Three Pillars and Regenerate. The use is intended to go well beyond just a venue for rugby and football – albeit they are the critical revenue stream for the success of the project.
Let’s hope we can get this across the line. It will be quite incredible to do so at a time when we all need a lift and when physical and mental health are more important than ever.’