Plan to revamp Tooting Bec Athletics Track clears final hurdle

Published: Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The council has formally approved an investment scheme totalling £527,000 to fully replace the running surface at the Tooting Bec Athletics Track.

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The council will be investing £527,000 in a new track

Senior councillors who form the council’s Executive last night (Monday) rubber stamped the refurbishment, paving the way for work to begin on the track’s replacement early in the New Year so that a brand-new running surface is ready for the start of next summer’s athletics season.

The stadium is a local, regional, and national resource which caters for individual athletes, school and club competitions and provides for community use, sports development and competitive athletics. It is the home of Herne Hill Harriers athletics club, which has been based at the track for over 80 years and has coached and supported athletes from grassroots level to Olympic standard.

In 2019/20 more than 83,000 people visited the venue with around half of those using the running track. Ten schools use it on a regular basis, with a further 42 using it for school sports days.

It boasts:

▪ Floodlit eight lane running track with sprint facilities
▪ Internal steeplechase runway
▪ High jump fan inside the track, including a javelin runway
▪ Shot putt circle
▪ Double ended long jump/triple jump runway
▪ Double ended pole vault runway
▪ Hammer/discus cage
▪ Seating for 400 spectators
▪ A pavilion with fitness studio, fully equipped gym and changing rooms.

Although the track has been carefully maintained over the years it is now worn in places and needs replacing if it is to offer the full range of athletics disciplines, including to competitive level.
The track on Tooting Common is one of two council-owned athletics venues in the borough. The other is located in Battersea Park at its Millennium Arena.

Council leader Ravi Govindia said: “Unlike some boroughs which don’t have even one high quality running track, here in Wandsworth we are lucky to have two, both of which offer the full range of athletics disciplines to semi-professional standard.

“This is why we judged it vital to secure the funding needed to replace the track and safeguard its future.

“It is a particularly notable spending commitment given the funding issues created by the pandemic, which have badly affected the finances of some of the national sporting associations which would in normal times be in a position to consider contributing to the cost of such an upgrade.

“It is therefore testamant to the prudent financial planning and management of our town hall budgets that allows the council to fund this important upgrade in our sporting infrastructure and continue to provide a top quality facility for our budding young athletes.”