Plan for 3G all-weather pitch in Falcon Park moves a step closer
Published: Wednesday 25th November 15
Councillors on the community services committee have given their backing to a new £1.3m all-weather pitch in Battersea’s Falcon Park to boost sports participation and leisure facilities for young people in the area.
The new 3G artificial grass pitch would replace four existing junior size grass pitches which are regularly deemed unplayable in the winter months because of waterlogging.
Replacing them with an all weather playing surface means young footballers and other sports clubs could use them for around 80 hours a week - compared to the ten hour limit recommended for grass pitches by the Football Association.
The new pitch, which will need planning permission, and would be sited in the south west corner of Falcon Park, would be mainly used for football but could also support other sports like rugby and possibly also cricket. The plans also include the construction of a new changing pavilion to replace the existing one.
Improving access to sports in this part of the borough is a key public health priority for the council.
Although Wandsworth as a whole is widely recognised as a borough with higher than average levels of participation in physical activities and sports, this corner of Battersea has low levels in comparison with the rest of the borough with only a third of residents engaging in regular physical activity.
Increasing sports provision here should not only help bridge this gap but also help tackle other health related priorities such as obesity.
According to the National Child Measurement programme this area of Battersea has a higher proportion of young people at both reception year and year 6 that are suffering increased levels of obesity when compared to the Wandsworth, London and England averages.
Increased participation in sport can also offer other young people other health benefits. They are less likely to smoke, misuse drugs and/or alcohol and less likely to be involved in anti-social behaviour.
The scheme has been designed to have the least impact on this valued and important green open space which is regularly used by dog walkers and for other leisure and amenity purposes.
The proposals would leave three quarters of the park almost completely untouched, apart from a series of environmental improvements at the northern end designed to make it more attractive, improve access and encourage greater use by local people.
The proposals were subject to public consultation in the autumn. Of those who took part 55 per cent supported the council’s plans compared to 41 per cent who were opposed.
Community services spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “If we want to encourage young people in this part of Battersea to engage in more healthy sporting activities then we really need to improve the facilities in Falcon Park.
“The existing pitches are no longer fit for purpose which is why the council has set aside £1.3m to provide a new all-weather playing surface which will be available for a wide variety of sports and leisure uses.
“We are of course mindful that Falcon Park is a popular open space, and is particularly well-used by local dog walkers. This is why we are looking to site the new pitch in the south west corner of the park so that dog owners and other visitors can continue to enjoy a large uninterrupted green space.”
These proposals will be subject to planning permission and any application will be required to go through the normal planning process
The council is also planning to build a brand new state-of-the-art leisure centre in this part of Battersea as part of its far reaching regeneration proposals for the York Road and Winstanley estates.