Robin Hood In Name Only - an open letter to the Chair of Teddington Town SC
Dear Mr May,
I am slightly perplexed. I can see on the Council website that you have written a letter of support for Quantum's proposal for Udney Park Playing Fields but I sense you may have been a little liberal with your statements.
Firstly, I assume you are writing on behalf of the Teddington Town SC Board rather than the Club per se, as I know not all your members are quite as assuredly supportive as your letter implies.
Secondly, I am not sure that Imperial College sold the grounds because the grounds "proved uneconomic". I think Imperial sold the grounds for a number of reasons including a) the availability of larger facilities at Heston and Harlington with a greater diversity of sport facilities b) the difficulty in accessing Teddington for students based, predominantly, around SW7 whilst the alternatives are accessible on the Piccadilly line and a multitude of buses from Hatton Cross c) the difficulty that the Students had in fulfilling a League programme as the game of rugby union now requires. And let's not forget that the playing fields were bequeathed to the Medics primarily for the playing of rugby union.
Thirdly, you suggest that the "range of open space and community opportunities proposed by Quantum...is much more suited to the varying needs of the local community" (I have paraphrased to suit my purpose which happens a lot where Udney Park is concerned) and yet this boils down to one full-sized artificial grass play area and one full sized grass pitch (122m by 68m (rugby) or 110m by 75m (association football)). This is roughly half of the 9.5 acres you hope to get. The plans for a further multi-purpose play area, a riding paddock and nature trails are laudable but I just can't see how this will work.
There is a multi-purpose play area off Addison Road (about 14 seconds away for Usain Bolt, notwithstanding all the cars circulating Kingston Lane/Cromwell Road); for amblers and naturalists there is the Thames Path, Langdon Park and Bushy Park all within 0.8 miles of Udney Park; and if Teddington Rugby, Teddington Athletic and London Scottish want to use those two pitches you are content with, not to mention Teddington Hockey, Hearts of Teddlothian FC, Harlequins Amateurs, the adult Sunday League and all those other users of St. Mary's Broom Road Campus who are possibly going to be moved out when that is redeveloped, on a Saturday and Sunday, how will those two pitches cope?
And what about summer sport? Someone, from the Teddington CIC I think, stated that cricket is a dying sport. That is disingenuous at best. Cricket is being killed because 41% of cricket fields have been lost to developers since 1997. And yet there's a 27 year waiting list to join the MCC? And you're advocating the loss of potentially two cricket pitches? (One of which was being used by Richmond CC until 2015, I seem to remember). I'm not convinced your board has thought this through!
I'm not sure what the provision is for playing fields in Roehampton, Mr May, but in Teddington we are soon going to need more sports pitches, not less.
Facilities for equestrians? I can't fault that...