The former Imperial College playing fields site in Udney Park Road, amounting to 12.8 acres, was sold to the developer, Quantum Group, over two years ago, despite efforts of a community group to purchase the site.
Since then Quantum has been in discussions with interested parties, including the Community and the local Council, over its development. As it is designated an Asset of Community Value, gifted in perpetuity for sporting use, Quantum realised that any planning application would be unlikely to succeed. To get round this they proposed that 3.3 acres of the site be developed as extra care housing/apartments and a GP's surgery, leaving the rest to be gifted to the community under the auspices of a Community Investment Company, Teddington Community Sports Ground CIC, formed by certain sports community leaders. A final public exhibition of their joint proposal was held on 23 and 24 June 2017. The proposal effectively reduces sporting use of the site from 7 sports pitches to 2 but includes some public open space and a playground.
The proposal is strongly opposed by the Friends of Udney Park Playing Fields (FUPPF) who have been campaigning for the whole of the site to be retained for sports use.
A planning application was expected to be lodged during the summer but has not yet materialised. In the meantime FUPPF have persuaded the Freedom of Information Commissioner to force Quantum to release an information memorandum they produced for potential investors in the development. The memorandum clearly shows that Quantum were not interested in going through with the development but intended all along to sell up as soon as planning permission was granted.
FUPPF have formed a charitable trust in the last few days with a view to negotiating the purchase of the whole site from Quantum for sports use, using funding from a variety of sources including organisations such as Sports England.
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