A detailed business plan is being developed in conjunction with Sports England and the national sporting bodies (LTA, RFU, FA and ECB). This will set out a cohesive and sustainable plan for the whole of Udney Park Playing Fields that allows this site to be retained as community playing fields in perpetuity. Retaining Udney Park Playing Fields for community sport will significantly help to address the need for playing fields identified in the Borough's 2015 and 2018 Playing Pitch Strategy. A detailed assessment of the fields' income and expenditure has been undertaken. This assessment shows that if Udney Park is operated as playing fields, it can be financially viable.
It is proposed that the freehold of the site will be purchased by a charity. This charity is called the Udney Park Community Fields Foundation. The Foundation hopes to buy the land at a fair price reflective of the market value of the site as playing fields. The Foundation will adopt the following guiding principles:
- Own the Fields to guarantee they are maintained as sports fields in perpetuity, and that all future building for profit on this site is precluded in line with the LGS status.
- The Foundation will not be seeking repayment of the costs of acquisition as it is envisaged that any operating surplus will be used to maintain and upgrade the facilities.
- The Foundation will enter in to full and open discussions with residents during the consultation period after purchase to ensure all concerns are considered in respect of heritage issues surrounding the pavilion, ecological considerations, extent of car parking, the introduction of a play area, the provision of outbuildings for equipment, limitations to the use of sports lights and extent of light spillage from proposed apparatus.
- The Foundation will form an Operating Committee to run the amenity in line with its stated aims
- The appointees of the Operating Committee will be chosen based upon the skillset of the individuals and with the aim of diverse representation. The group will be highly energetic and motivated volunteers aiming to ensure that the fields and the pavilion are professionally run. Inclusivity will be a core principle.
- The aims of the Operating Committee will be to
- manage the site in perpetuity aligned with Trust's intention that the fields be used for amateur sport.
- maintain high-quality sporting fields and the associated facilities including the refurbishment and upkeep of the existing pavilion, and the extension and maintenance of car parking areas.
- establish appropriate volunteer-led management and governance structures to run the Udney Park without need for public or local Richmond Borough subsidy.
- Ensure that all surplus funds are directed to the upgrade and the maintenance of the facility.
- Promote community involvement through provision of community function and meeting space within the refurbished pavilion.
- Promote active sporting lifestyle.
- Below the Foundation and its operating committee will sit key user groups including schools, local sports clubs and community groups who will all benefit from the use of the playing fields.
- The long term "anchor tenants" will have leases of 15 to 25 years enabling them to access grant funding. Anchor tenants have already been found for football, rugby and tennis, and proposals are being considered from alternative cricket clubs for summer use.
Udney Park is approximately 12.5 acres of essential green space in central Teddington, surrounded by residential dwellings on all sides. The boundary has some open iron railings and some close boarded fencing which means the site is fully enclosed. The grass pitches are of excellent quality, drained properly and completely level. The cricket pitch was also excellent though this has not prepared properly since 2014. The pavilion is a fine example of an Edwardian sports facility, built around 1920 and visually attractive with a characteristic clock and balcony facing the fields. There is a 1960's Georgian style extension to the North elevation of the pavilion. The pavilion is structurally sound though in need of updating. There are 4 changing rooms in the original pavilion, 4 changing rooms in the extension, a groundsman's flat, two function rooms and a large kitchen. This indoor space has potential for use by community groups and charities. There is a tarmac area configured as three tennis courts which are also marked out for netball. There are two cricket nets and an artificial wicket in a state of disrepair.
- Refurbish the pavilion in line with Sport England standards including 4 team changing rooms and officials changing rooms.
- Provide a fully equipped gym for fitness training, conditioning, and recovery.
- Modernize the two community rooms, bar area and kitchen to host functions.
- Provide space for a community café.
- The playing fields layout is being developed in conjunction with Sports England and the national sporting bodies. An initial draft of the layout is attached to give an idea of what is intended.
- This layout provides 11 x pitches for mini and youth football; 2 x full sized pitches for adult football and rugby; 1 x cricket field; and 3 tennis courts.
- The use and maintenance of the fields will be managed in line with Sports England guidelines
- Two of the three tennis courts are playable although they would need resurfacing in the medium term. The third court requires remedial work before being put back in to use due to root damage to the surfacing.
- The playing fields require significant remedial work before bringing back in to use. Specialist advice is being taken to determine what work is required to bring the cricket squares and pitches up to standard.
- The pitches will be made available for hire to the public on an ad hoc basis subject to availability and sensible management of use.
- A sports light scheme is to be developed to allow the teams to train midweek between fixtures. This will replace the previous unplanned use of temporary lights and mitigate against the impact of noise and light spillage on ecology and residents alike.
- Outdoor public areas – whilst the playing fields will not be public open space there is specific provision for areas of public access including -
- A 900m jogging track.
- Outdoor gym areas adjacent to jogging track.
- A children’s play area