Planning noose tightens at Udney Park

Quantum spent £4m trying to overcome the planning restrictions at Udney Park playing fields before selling the site against a backdrop of total losses of around £6.5m. Since their sale of the land two years ago to Mr Wu, planning restrictions have continued to be tightened.

The position today could not be clearer -

  1. There is no prospect of PP for any residential development due to LGS designation/ this would not be a permitted use of land/ Sports England objection.
  2. The single Pre-App received during the Quantum sales campaign was to accommodate Padel tennis and was not encouraged. 
  3. Parking and highways considerations prevent any prospect of a development of the small the car park.
  4. The new local plan policy map now includes Local View ref B2.1 over the playing fields.
  5. Udney Park has been added as a new Site of Importance for Nature Conservation ‘SINC’ (borough Grade) in the Draft Local Plan - the site boundary for the SINC includes the car park on the policy map.
  6. The new Local Plan has been submitted to the inspector - this process is expected to be completed by the end of the year. In the interim period, the draft Local Plan would still carry weight in any planning decision.
  7. Number 83 Udney Park Road adjoins the car park. A planning application was submitted to demolish the existing bungalow and replace it with two semi-detached houses. This was refused in June 23 for various reasons including the over dominant and incongruous effect of the scale/ height/ bulk/ massing/ siting and design on the local streetscene, the impact on neighbour amenity and issues with protected species.

Added to the above, the local Trust have presented a submission to extend OOLTI and LGS to the car park.

Mr Wu announced his intention to sell this land in June 2023. No-one has sought planning advice in the interim period presumably because any potential bidder recognises that there are impossible hurdles to overcome, and that the only acceptable use of the fields is for community sport. This site has zero hope value for any developer and to suggest otherwise is a fantasy.

Given this reality and in the absence of any interest in a purchase of these fields, Mr Wu will now hopefully rethink his strategy and enter meaningful dialogue to sell to the community.

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