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• Sales brochure for Udney Park Playing Fields is ‘very wide of the mark and possibly misleading’

• Sales brochure for Udney Park Playing Fields is ‘very wide of the mark and possibly misleading’

Udney Park Playing Fields in Teddington - given to the community in 1922 but now up for sale

Savills estate agents have published a new sales brochure highlighting the “development and investment potential” of the Udney Park Playing Fields in Teddington, particularly its car park and pavilion facilities.

This immediately attracted criticism from people in Teddington who say the brochure is inaccurate and over-optimistic in its presentation of the fields.

The Teddington Society, along with the Friends of Udney Park Playing Fields (FUPPF) and other organisations, has long opposed any development of the fields, which were given to the local community in perpetuity for recreational purposes in 1922. We are also strongly backing the community sports bid to purchase the fields and return them to their rightful status.

In an interview with Teddington Nub News recently, Philip Barnes, a member of FUPPF, said, “Information in [the brochure] is very wide of the mark, possibly misleading, and paints an over-optimistic position of the true planning and factual position.

“Savills say that the land is an investment and development opportunity, but they seem to have forgotten a number of crucial matters. The site is ecologically important – there is a maternity roost of bats beside the car park, and they feed and travel along the dark corridor that goes over the car park. There is no sensible prospect of development on that part of the Fields.

“There is no prospect of permission being granted to tarmac over any of this Local Green Space, particularly given the powerful decision of the Planning Inquiry Inspector against building on this LGS, and the previous Inspector being firmly convinced that the land is certainly LGS – the highest level of planning protection available.

“The whole site is also an Asset of Community Value, which means it can only be sold to community groups over the next six months, and there are two further planning restrictions looming on the horizon: the pavilion may be listed as a Building of Townscape Merit and the whole park may be classified as a Site of Metropolitan Interest for Nature Conservation.

“In summary, there is no ‘development potential’ on this site, as Savills suggest.”

FUPPF are calling on Richmond Council to consider a Compulsory Purchase Order on the Site so that it can be used – as always intended – as playing fields.

Jonathan Dunn, who is leading a community bid to buy the fields, told Teddington Nub News, “I still hope to agree a sale value that is both palatable to the investors, and achievable for the community bid. My personal belief is that a speculative development is a non-starter, given all the restrictions on this site.”

Keith Atkinson, who leads the Teddington Society Planning Group and is a member of FUPFF, added, “It’s ironic that a fine, old-established company like Savills choose World Environment Day to market a 100 year-old playing field to commercial developers. Let’s hope the barrage of adverse publicity persuades them of the error of their ways. After all, their corporate logo states ‘You can rely on Savills’. Let’s hope we can.”

• Our thanks to Teddington Nub News for allowing us to quote from their original article.

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