Will Lord Fink intervene over sale of Udney Park?

The sale of Udney Park gained national prominence at the weekend with the article below in Saturday's edition of The Times (Times Sport Notebook Clipping)

In last week’s news piece in the Teddington Nub (MP requests urgent meeting with Tory peer and AHH chairman over fields future) it was reported that local MP, Munira Wilson, had intervened to request a meeting between AHH chairman, Lord Fink, and the leader of the community bid, Jonathan Dunn. Lord Fink delegated a response to this letter to his colleague at AHH, Tony Spotswood which rejected any possibility of such a meeting.

The Friends of Udney Park, who have been campaigning to retain the playing fields for community use since 2015, have been quick to respond to this rebuttal. A full copy of their letter can be read here: Trust Reply to Fink Spotswood Munira Letter

Udney Park playing fields (including the pavilion) were originally established as a memorial for the fallen of Merchants Taylor School during the First World War. The OMT sports club was opened in 1922. Udney Park remained the home for OMT until 1937 when the school was relocated to its current home in Northwood. The full history of Udney Park can be found on this site here: Udney Park History

Interestingly Lord Fink has a home in Northwood where Merchant Taylors School is now situated. Both of his sons were educated at Merchant Taylors School. It remains to be seen whether this personal connection will cause Lord Fink to rethink his position

One of his sons, Alexander, is pictured below with Boris Johnson. Boris Johnson has previously proclaimed himself to be a strong supporter of retaining Udney Park as community playing fields.

When Imperial College decided to sell Udney Park in 2015 Boris Johnson said at Mayor of London Question Time:

I note Udney Park was donated to St Mary’s Medical School by Lord Beaverbrook in 1937 specifically for use as rugby union pitches. It would be an absolute scandal and an outrage if that land was lost for that purpose. My general view is that you should keep green space in London and rugby pitches should be regarded as sacrosanct

Alexander Fink and Boris Johnson

Jonathan Dunn who leads the community bid has been advised that the site owners (AHH) have accepted an offer from another party and that regrettably the community bid is not considered competitive. As things stand there will be another owner of the fields but the community bid remains in place should the other bidder get cold feet.

Other recent news

Udeny Park Article In Private Eye

Udeny Park Article In Private Eye

Posted on 4th Oct 2021

Udney Park continues to attract media attention. As yet there is no indication that any of this media noise will change the position of AHH/ Quantum who are selling the site.

Teddington Udney Park update: MP requests urgent meeting with Tory peer and AHH chairman over fields' future

Teddington Udney Park update: MP requests urgent meeting with Tory peer and AHH chairman over fields' future

Posted on 17th Sep 2021

Teddington MP Munira Wilson has requested an urgent meeting with Conservative peer Lord Fink over the future of Udney Park playing fields.

She is taking action after a resident-led bid for the site was rejected by the field's owners, Affordable Housing and Healthcare group (AHH), in favour of an alternative sporting bid. Local councillors and campaigners fighting to save the fields from development slammed the decision and expressed their fears about the fields' future. Now Wilson is calling on Lord Fink, also known as Baron Fink, to meet with her to discuss the fields' future. Hedge-fund manager Lord Fink is the Chairman of AHH and one of the Conservative party's top donors. He has been a life peer with the party since 2011 and was a significant backer of Boris Johnson's campaign for Mayor.