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

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.