In the six years to 2012 the UK lost 54,000 acres of green space, mostly to housing. That has continued with 215 school playing fields sold between 2010 and 2019. In the case of Udney Park it is not a case of the government selling off the family silver as the land is privately owned. The impact of the site remaining out of use is the nevertheless the same with diminishing areas of playing fields for amateur sport available in the borough.

With this in mind conversations with the representatives of the new owners continue. Mr Wu (the new owner) purchased Udney Park in mid-August of 2022. There are two key issues from the perspective of the Foundation.

Firstly, the pavilion is now deteriorating badly. Vandalism to this war memorial building accelerated during 2021-22 under the previous regime. As a result, water pours in to the building and structural damage is now inevitable unless this is not immediately addressed. The Foundation has been pressing the owner to secure the building and carry out immediate roof repairs. The main roof timbers are Parana pine and are reasonably resilient but cannot be left exposed to the open elements indefinitely. At present there is no timetable for this work so this heritage building remains in danger.

Secondly the Foundation continue to press for confirmation that community sport will be accommodated in the eventual long-term plan for the site. Until Mr Wu’s Architect has developed proposals for tabling with LBRUT any such plans unfortunately remain vague.

I am sorry not be able to deliver more definite news. In the meantime, I appreciate the continuing messages of support.

One person who has continued to take a close interest in the campaign to restore community sport to Udney park is former Thamesians rugby player Adrian Alexander

https://www.udneypark.co.uk/supporters/Adrian was bought up on Stanley Road in Teddington, and went on to captain Quins, and play for England under 23’s and the Barbarians, before moving to Oldham Rugby League. Adrian still lives in Oldham where both he and his wife (Jinny) were local councillors. Jinny went on to be Lord Mayor, but more recently has had to contend with a personal battle against cancer. By remarkable coincidence, the doctor (Dr Laura Cove-Smith) who has been treating Jinny,  is the grand-daughter of Doctor Ronald Cove-Smith.

https://www.udneypark.co.uk/history/ Dr Ronald Cove Smith captained the British Lions on their tour to South Africa in 1924 whilst playing his club rugby at Udney park for Old Merchant Taylors. Best wishes to Jinny on a return to full health, and thanks for this reminder of the historical importance of Udney Park.

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 https://teddingtontown.co.uk/2023/07/06/teddingtons-udney-park-playing-fields-back-on-the-market/

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.