Udney Park playing fields have been sold

Udney park community playing fields have been sold to an off shore investor registered in the British Virgin Islands.

The Localism Act and the protection to Udney Park that was supposed to be imposed via ACV status has been trampled over by previous owners - AHH.

AHH knew that if another ACV moratorium began this week they would be under huge pressure to engage properly with the Foundation as the land had been shown to have a true value of circa £1m based on a sports field valuation. In 14 months no meaningful bids had emerged, and only one interested party went as far as Pre App. The Foundation had offered £1.25m so was not seeking a discounted sale.

AHH have been saved from this reality by the last minute deal with this off shore company.

AHH state on their website -

‘ We’re immensely proud of the difference we’ve made ….. the struggles we’ve helped resolve, the happiness we’ve delivered, and the impact recognised within the wider community.’

Well they have not delivered much happiness in Teddington.

The pictures below show how they left the fields on the day of the sale. When LBRUT last wrote to the Foundation they referred to the ‘alleged dereliction of this property’ and the fact that ‘the extent of disrepair is not agreed by the owners’. I think the photos show the reality of the AHH legacy – seven years of complete neglect.


Even worse, the Chair of AHH is a parliamentarian and former treasurer of the Tory Party - Lord Fink - who did not have the courtesy to reply directly to our MP, Munira Wilson, when she simply asked for him to use his position as Chair to facilitate a meeting to explore the possibility of a sale of an ACV to the community. This is not a party political point but surely he could have spared some time to speak to our elected MP.

Udney Park playing fields are a war memorial bequeathed for the fallen pupils of Merchant Taylor’s School in WW1. This year is the centenary of the opening of Udney Park by Viscount Cave . This fact was apparently totally lost on Lord Fink even though his two sons attended Merchant Taylor’s School.

This point however was not lost on the Chair of Old Merchant Taylor’s, Richard Boorman who offered the Foundation the support of the OMT’s -

“OMT supports the Udney Park Foundation in its quest to acquire Udney Park and its surviving Pavilion as a War Memorial playing field for local community sport. The Merchant Taylors’ War Memorial Trust remains in existence and it would be fitting that the 100th anniversary of the opening of the "Old Merchant Taylors’ War Memorial Sports Ground" is celebrated with Udney Park safely protected as a Fields In Trust Centenary Field"

In a way this is all now academic as new owners are apparently now in place and we will need to engage with them. The Foundation is the the only funded CIC with a detailed business plan to properly manage the fields for the community. We will work with council officers, councillors, all of the local community groups, and indeed the new owners (should they chose to engage) in order to achieve this goal.

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.