9-0 to the Community
Quantum's application to build on Udney Park was unsuccessful at the Richmond Planning Committee on 26th September, the Committee voted 9-0 to Reject the Application after a thorough 100 minute long session.
The Council Planning Officer prepared 9 grounds for rejecting the Application, including clear breach of Policy on loss of green space, loss of outdoor recreation space and environmental impact. However, as Quantum have appealed to the Planning Inspector to hear the Application at a Public Inquiry, the Committee has only confirmed the grounds that LBRUT will be Objecting to the development at the Public Inquiry in May 2019.
Cllr Elengorn said "In 36 years it is without precedent for a developer to seek pre-planning advice then to completely and utterly ignore it and to rubbish it. It is shocking really"
Cllr Curran said "in the centenary year of the World War, of which this playing field was a commemoration, it would be a travesty to build on Udney Park"
Cllr Bennett said "Quantum flouts almost everything we consider in Planning, it's a no brainer to refuse"
Cllr Brown said “Quantum chose to speculatively purchase Udney Park for development ignoring clear planning designations, rolling the dice on being able to override Council, Mayor of London, Sport England and National Planning Policy. I am not objecting to a commercial organisation seeking a return if done fairly, but any community benefits offered by Quantum are simply a cost to be paid to access a significant profit from building on playing fields”.
The Friends, the Teddington Society, SW London Environmental Network, Thamesians RFC and several local residents spoke passionately Against the Planning Application, covering a range of different reasons for a loud no.
Quantum decided not to publicly represent themselves at the Committee and instead sent a long letter and glossy brochure to the Committee just in advance of the Committee, and just watched from the back of the hall. Quantum claimed that they chose not to represent themselves as they feared a "hostile environment" and that the Council would not be "open-minded". This was a rather unexpected strategy for Quantum & their advisor Barton Willmore to adopt given they have challenged the Council on multiple issues (eg, Tree Preservation Orders, Local Green Space status, Environmental Impact Assessment etc) since they bought the site.
Designing PLAN B
We are also developing “Plan B” with the intention of securing the site when the Planning Application fails. There is a lot of interest from clubs and schools that have not tied themselves to Quantum and need space.
The Borough has two thriving multi-sport and community centres at Barn Elms and Whitton Park, these volunteer-led groups show what can be done when communities work together. We are working with the leadership of both of these groups to learn how to make Udney Park special to this part of the Borough.