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I’m Sheena Harold, Chairman. Welcome to the Teddington Society. Do please explore our website and let us know what you think – feedback is important to us, and always welcome.

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• Community bid for Udney Park Playing Fields gathers pace

• Community bid for Udney Park Playing Fields gathers pace

A Trust has now been set up to acquire the Udney Park Playing Fields in Teddington, and guarantee them as playing fields for community sport for all time.

The Udney Park Community Fields Trust will also establish an operating company, members of which will be chosen for their skills with the aim of diverse representation.

The Trust’s website states that members will be “highly energetic and motivated volunteers” whose task will be to ensure that the fields and the pavilion are professionally run. Inclusivity will be a core principle.

The operating company will work closely with schools, sports and community clubs to encourage and support accessible and affordable sporting, leisure and cultural activities, thereby contributing to the health and wellbeing of local people.

The website reports that a detailed business plan is being developed in conjunction with Sports England and the Lawn Tennis Association, the Rugby Football Union, the Football Association and the England & Wales Cricket Board. This, say the trustees, will set out a “cohesive and sustainable plan” for the site’s long-term future, as identified in Richmond Council’s 2015 and 2018 Playing Pitch Strategy.

A detailed assessment of the site’s likely income and expenditure has already been undertaken, and shows that if Udney Park is operated as playing fields, it can be financially viable.

Among those keenly supporting the Trust is Munira Wilson MP. “Udney Park is a rare open space, a great local asset, and I pledge my full support to the community bid” she said. “There is so much potential for the site to be brought back into full use – and for the pavilion, which was built in 1922 as a war memorial, to be renovated.”

The Teddington Society also strongly backs the initiative: “We are delighted that a well-supported community bid has been assembled to acquire the site for multiple sports activities” said Sheena Harold, the Chairman. “We also very much appreciate the determination of Richmond councillors and our MP to ensure Udney Park stays as a Community Playing Field.”

The Trust says it is essential that local residents are consulted and kept fully informed after the land purchase. This will ensure that any concerns are considered in respect of matters such as heritage issues, ecological considerations, car parking and the use of sports lights.

For further information and updates, visit the website

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