Foundation bid to purchase Udney Park rejected.

On 11th March 2024, the Foundations bid to purchase Udney Park playing fields was rejected by Mr Wu. In rejecting the bid, the Mr Wu’s representatives stated -

‘ You have provided a robust analysis of the financial basis to the business plan (Appendix 4) and also the potential funding sources (Appendix 6). However, at the moment no decision has yet been made by Mr Wu. I appreciate that not making a clear decision one way or the other will not be the outcome that you were hoping for but, as you will understand, Mr Wu would like to give consideration to other potential bidders for the site.’

Since the bids rejection the Foundation have met with councillors and planners to explore any possible planning relaxations that might allow a review of the land valuation. The reality is that the reverse is the case with planning restrictions tightening. The key takeaway from the meeting was that there is zero hope value for a residential development – something that Mr Wu appears to agree upon.

There is also no hope value for a commercial sporting venture. During the twelve-month sales campaign conducted by Savills only a single interested party who went as far as a Pre-App. As a recent Freedom of Information request revealed this party was Rocks Lane Multi Sports Centres who submitted proposals based around Padel tennis. As a result of planning advice, they did not proceed at the time, and they have recently confirmed that they will not be revisiting this decision. In the past professional sports clubs have decided not to proceed based upon the restrictions to pitch surfacing, lighting, and parking,

All of which leaves us at an impasse.

  • Mr Wu acknowledges zero development potential.
  • No Planning Consultant representing Mr Wu has ever met with LBRUT.
  • Mr Wu does not wish to meet with planners as he accepts the restrictions to residential development.
  • He confirms he wishes to sell but has not appointed a selling agent or suggested a reasonable valuation for the site.

The tragedy of all this is that the fields and changing rooms remain out of use and at the same time various local sports clubs, and schools struggle for playing space. The changing rooms fall into further disrepair as water pours through gaping holes in the roof structure This issue has not been addressed during the tenure of Mr Wu despite various promises to do so following a joint inspection in November 2022.

Whilst meaningful dialogue has been exhausted for now, the hope remains that Mr Wu will reconsider the bid submitted by the Foundation as kicking the can down the road does not seem like a good option for anyone.

Udney Park is ACV-designated. The ACV legislation envisages a situation like this where the Local Authority intervenes and use a CPO to purchase the land, and this nuclear option will be what now needs to be considered by councillors to avoid this all dragging on indefinitely.

Other recent news

Pavilion Building allowed to fall apart

Pavilion Building allowed to fall apart

Posted on 7th Jun 2024

The tragedy of the War Memorial Pavilion has been revealed by arial photos taken by residents. These reveal that under the ownership of Mr Wu the building has fallen into such disrepair as to render future renovation work hugely expensive. The project had been to bring the changing rooms back into early use for the community clubs playing on these fields. There were relatively new boilers and heating systems installed just before Imperial College sold the site. The building interior had been dry – even if the changing rooms needed to be brought up to modern standards.

Alternative bid submitted for Udney Park playing fields.

Alternative bid submitted for Udney Park playing fields.

Posted on 7th Jun 2024

It is hugely disappointing to report that Udney park is now under offer from another group of investors headed up by local resident, Keith Williams.

Udney Park is an Asset of Community Value, defined in the Localism Act (2011) as "Land is an asset of community value if its main use is to further the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community." The Localism Act states that ‘social interests’ include cultural, recreational and sporting interests