Replacement all-weather sports pitch plan for Tooting Triangle

Published: Friday 12th September 14

Wandsworth Council is drawing up plans to improve the sports facilities that are available on Tooting Common.

The council is looking to recruit a partner who would replace the existing floodlit all-weather artificial pitch at the Tooting Triangle with a brand new facility fit for the 21st century and improve the adjacent former youth club building.

The existing all-weather pitch, which covers an area of some 3,800 square metres, was first built on the common in the 1960s and is in desperate need of a complete overhaul. The playing surface is badly worn and is largely overlooked and ignored by local schools and sports clubs because it’s in such a poor state.

The all-weather pitch at the Tooting Triangle

Under the proposals the existing artificial surface would be replaced with a new high-quality all-weather pitch which could be used for a range of different sports.

In its bid to find a partner, the council is inviting local groups, sports clubs, voluntary organisations, charities, individuals and private sector operators to express an interest in taking over the running and management of this revamped sports facility.

The selected partner could be offered a lease of up to 25 years in return for its substantial investment in the new all-weather surface and improvements to the building, but the council would retain the freehold and remain in control of the site.

The former youth club building is currently used by the Balham Boxing Club, which has used it since early 2009 in exchange for a peppercorn rent after it was forced to quit its previous home. This arrangement was only supposed to last 18 months until the club found somewhere permanent but it has remained in place for nearly six years.

The club’s current lease expires at the end of January 2015, but could be extended until next July. The council has encouraged the club to come up with its own set of proposals to improve and open up the building to maximise the community use of these indoor and outdoor facilities.

Because the proposals relate to common land, any group or body interested in implementing this plan would need to obtain planning permission, which would include the consent of the Government’s planning inspectorate.

Environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “This part of Tooting Common was built on many decades ago and is not a grassed area. In fact the existing floodlit pitch has been there for nearly 60 years, but is now tired and patchy and needs to be refurbished if it is to serve any useful community purpose in future.

"Local schools, sports clubs and parents tell us they would desperately like to see better sports and recreation facilities in this part of Tooting. We are now looking to see if this is possible and if so how these could best be provided.

"These are early days yet and a final decision on whether to proceed will not be made until nearer the end of the year, but if a project does eventually get the go-ahead, it should give local people, especially children and teenagers, the opportunity  to enjoy some top quality sporting facilities.”

People who wish to comment on the council’s proposal to grant a lease on the site now have until Monday, September 29 to register their views. This consultation period has been extended so that people who were away over the summer are given enough time to have their say.

Comments can be emailed to HCSDirectorate@wandsworth.gov.uk or put in writing and addressed to The Director of Housing and Community Services 17-27 Garratt Lane London SW18 4AE.

Any organisation wishing to express an interest in the project should register on the Supply London website and submit responses to the questionnaire provided. The deadline for these expressions of interest is 12 noon on Monday, September 29, 2014.

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