|Bank of England Sports Ground Sale Believed To Be Imminent|
Reports suggest future of facility set to be revealed shortly
The long drawn out uncertainty of the Bank of England Sports Ground in Roehampton may soon end with reports suggesting a new owner will be announced shortly.
A report in iNews states that the sale of a lease by the governors is due to be finalised after being put on hold due to the pandemic. The identity of the likely buyer has not been revealed but it is believed it is ‘sports orientated’ and that it will not be one of the major chains of gym operators such as Virgin Active or David Lloyd.
It is understood from the BoE Centre Members’ Group that the new owner would be committee to the whole of the centre remaining as a sports facility ‘for a number of years’.
The grounds have been designated as a Asset of Community Value which means that the Bank would have to consider a community based bid of equivalent value to any it accepts from a commercial operator.
The site closed to the public at the end of last month to allow qualifying tournaments for the Wimbledon Tennis Championships to be hosted there.
The Bank has owned the 32 acre site since the beginning of the twentieth century but decided to sell a lease on the site in September 2019 after MPs complained about the associated cost.
The article in iNews indicates that the buyer could be the All England Club which hosts the Wimbledon Tennis championships and has previous expressed an interest in the site. It has a contract for the qualifying tournament at the Roehampton facility but recently announced expansion plans for the development of land holdings in the Wimbledon Park area which would allow it to switch the matches to there by 2028. The All England Club has not replied to requests for comment on the matter.
A director of the Bank has stated earlier that preferred bidder for the site would continue the provision of sports facilities to existing users of the site. However this statement was made before the pandemic caused the delay of the sale and it is not known if the current likely purchaser is the same entity.
Estate agency Gerald Eve is handling the sale. It says, “On the instruction of the Bank of England, Gerald Eve are delighted to bring this renowned and historic site to the market for the first time in over 100 years.
“The site provides a unique investment opportunity in its existing use, or alternatively presents a variety of redevelopment options for a range of uses, subject to obtaining the necessary permissions.”
May 14, 2021