Permission sought for replacement all-weather sports pitch and improved children’s play facilities at the Tooting Triangle

Published: Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The council has applied to the Government for planning permission to provide better sports and leisure facilities at the Tooting Triangle that also safeguard the future of its stay and play learning activities for younger children in the area.

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The existing artificial pitch and buildings at the Triangle

The council is seeking permission for a scheme that would see the 1960’s artificial football pitch at the Tooting Triangle site replaced with a modern and upgraded equivalent.

The existing buildings at the triangle would be revamped and modernised to offer better changing rooms, new showers, a mini café, publicly available toilets and a children’s recreation and play area, including an extended outdoor play area.

And a key part of the scheme would see part of the refurbished building given over for use by The Balham Amateur Boxing Club so that it can continue its important community work with young people in this part of the borough.

Because the existing buildings and the adjacent 1960s artificial pitch at the Triangle are located on Tooting Common permission is needed to proceed with the scheme from the Secretary of State.

The council’s community services spokesman Cllr Steffi Sutters said: “If the minister approves these plans it will be great news for schools, sports clubs, young people and parents in this part of Tooting.

“We have drawn up plans to refurbish and improve the facilities at the Triangle which can be achieved without losing a single blade of grass on the common. This scheme covers only land that has already been built upon – there is no loss whatsoever of any of the common’s green space.

“There will be no impact at all on the natural open spaces of Tooting Common which local people rely on so heavily for their leisure, recreation and mental well-being.

“Not only would the common be protected from any encroachment but the Triangle would get a new all-weather pitch and the boxing club a permanent home, with state schools in the area to use the sports pitch free of charge.

“The scheme would also offer a bigger and better, secure and dog free play area for toddlers and young children, both indoors and outdoors. Parents and carers would still be able to bring their very young children to the Triangle and continue to enjoy the supervised play facilities and socialise with other mums, dads and toddlers from the area. Our plans would see these facilities available every day of the week from 8am into the early evening.

“The plans would also enable us to address the flooding issues that have plagued the triangle site for many years and which have often meant its buildings have often had to remain closed.

“A further benefit would be the introduction of a mini café offering refreshments and public toilets that would be open to anyone visiting the common.”

The decision to seek an improvement in the facilities at the Triangle was endorsed in November 2018, following public consultation, when the council’s finance and corporate resources overview and scrutiny committee formally backed plans to replace the existing artificial pitch and revamp its adjacent changing rooms and community facilities.

The triangle’s current all-weather floodlit pitch, which covers an area of some 3,800 square metres, was first built in the 1960s and needs 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.

It would be replaced with a new high-quality all-weather playing surface which could be used for a range of different sports. Under the proposals state schools in the area would be able to use the upgraded pitch free of charge.

Sensitive floodlighting will also be installed as a replacement for the existing floodlights. This new lighting has been specifically designed to minimise glare and overspill – and along with the associated tree planting that’s planned as part of the scheme – it should result in less light spillage and less impact on animals and wildlife than the existing floodlights.

The proposals to modernise the changing room and community facilities will also deliver upgraded indoor and outdoor space for the Triangle’s popular stay and play sessions for young children and toddlers.

Councillors have reiterated their commitment to keeping the triangle’s important children’s facilities open and available to all local parents, with fully trained staff providing stay and play sessions.

The substantial funding and investment to deliver these improved facilities will come from a commercial partner in return for a 25-year lease on the site. This means these improvements can be provided at no cost to local council taxpayers, with the council retaining the freehold and remaining in control of the site.

Having received planning permission from borough planners in May of this year following widespread local consultation, the final decision now rests with the Government’s planning inspectorate and the Secretary of State.

For more information about the scheme visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/tooting-common-application.

Some of the buildings that currently stand at the Triangle, albeit in a previous and now different guise