Udney Park playing fields to be sold again

A year ago, Quantum abandoned plans to build luxury apartments and a doctor’s surgery on 50% of the playing area and sold the site to another developer. Now the fields are to be sold again.

Quantum concluded that Udney Park playing fields could not be developed This was not before they had spent between £3m and £4m on trying to overturn planning restrictions. The site has an ACV designation under the Localism Act, so once Quantum decided to sell, they were obliged to engage with the community bid for a six-month moratorium period, during which time they could not sell to anyone else. No meaningful engagement took place within this period. A direct appeal to Lord Fink (the Chair of Quantum), by our local MP Munira Wilson, was effectively ignored.

At the end of this moratorium period in August 2021 Savills commenced a national sales campaign on behalf of Quantum. The sales effort lasted over a year and only one interested party went as far as a Pre-App. In August 2022 the site, was due to enter in to a second moratorium period. Days before this moratorium came into effect, the site was sold at a huge loss to another developer, Leisure Focus, a Chinese-owned company based in the British Virgin Islands. No other potential purchasers saw any ‘hope value’ in the site beyond playing field value.

Over the last ten months Leisure Focus have explored developing the site to incorporate a badminton centre with six playing courts to site alongside the playing fields. Badminton courts require 9m headroom and so the Leisure Focus proposal was to submerge these courts 6m into the ground. Before going to a Pre-App, Leisure Focus concluded that this was not financially viable, nor was there any prospect of this proposal overcoming planning hurdles. Now they too are to sell the site, and we are entering into another moratorium period.

The intention to sell the fields was only announced a week or so ago. Since then, an initial meeting has been held with key stakeholder’s present – Munira Wilson (our local MP), local councillors, the Teddington Society, the Udney Park Trust, and the Foundation. The purpose of this meeting was to look at a possible roadmap to community ownership.

In contrast with Quantum, Leisure Focus have maintained dialogue with the Foundation throughout their period of ownership, and the hope now is that a meaningful discussion can take place about the purchase of these playing fields. The restrictions to development are now much greater than when Quantum purchased the site so hopefully minds will be concentrated on finding a solution that works for all parties.

I would like to thank the Udney Park Trust for their fight to protect the fields from development, and to thank Munira Wilson for playing such an active role in fighting for the return of Udney Park to community ownership. Hopefully together we can create a momentum to make this a reality in the weeks and months ahead.

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.