Eye-sore or vital source of funding for Rosslyn Park rugby club?
Regular travellers along the Upper Richmond Road between Putney and East Sheen will have noticed a dramatic change to with the addition of large advertising signs at the home of Rosslyn Park Football Club (RPFC).
The Roehampton based club sought planning approval for these as part of a refurbishment of the site including a 4G pitch, improved facilities for members and supporters and the removal of the asbestos stands on the road side and landscaping of the bank. In addition the club undertook to replace ageing netting and posts (to
prevent balls landing on road) by Upper
However, many residents have found the three advertising hoardings too intrusive calling them 'monstrous'.
A spokesperson for the newly formed pressure group CARPA - Campaign Against Rosslyn Park Advertising - told PutneySW15,"A few weeks ago the local landscape around Rosslyn Park FC altered very swiftly and quite dramatically. First one dual aspect and then a second advertising site reared their ugly, environmentally-damaging heads into the sky. And then - as if by magic - they were illuminated. CARPA has now spoken to a great many local residents who are reeling from the shock - to them the massive screens have come as a complete surprise. How this very public environmental intrusion could happen with so little apparent local awareness we believe beggars belief. And situated on a major arterial route, the damaging impact and intrusion of these huge illuminated sites we would suggest extends beyond SW15 to SW13 and SW14."
They continued: " CARPA represents the local residents who object strongly to these unwelcome additions to our landscape. We believe that Rosslyn Park FC have acted selfishly and for narrow commercial reasons in wanting to install the screens; and that Planning Consent was given without sufficient local consultation."
CARPA have launched an on-line petition.
Shaun Justice the Managing Director for RPFC responded saying, "We are incredibly proud of the thorough consultation and planning process that we presented to council. We left no stone unturned and the process was lengthy, professional and costly.
We had overwhelming support from local residents, our large local membership and council members. 95 % of online respondents recognised the club as an important local asset and supported the proposals. Rosslyn Park is a non profit making organisation which has a large local membership, 900 of which are children playing in the mini’s/youth. Since the club moved into this ground in the 1950’s, very little infrastructure improvement has taken place as the club has never had the resources to do so.
"The money generated from the digital screens has allowed the club to take on debt to immediately install a fantastic new artificial pitch and road netting system. The artificial pitch means that our hours of usage on the site has gone through the roof, allowing us to get more children and adults active and playing sport (grass pitches cannot cope with this level of usage). Externally we are renting the facilities to Universities, Schools, Clubs and Charities in a variety of sports/activities who are all enjoying playing on such a superb facility in an area deprived of fit for use outdoor pitches especially in the winter months."
The figures released by RPFC shows that the club has costs of over £721,000 each year and the predicted annual income from these hoardings is between
£170,000 and £240,000. According to the planning Summary or Proposals produced by RPFC in 2014:
This is more than
the annual subscriptions generate for
the club. This income will be used to tidy
up the club’s appearance on the Upper
Richmond Road. The extra income will
give the club greater financial security and
will allow us to continue to play an active
role in the local community."
Meanwhile CARPA has set out their tactics to ensure the removal of the screens:
- To petition for a review of the original Planning process
- To shame advertisers and encourage them to boycott the screens
- To draw RPFC’s members’ and sponsors’ attention to the strength of local opposition
- To ensure that full public consultation is embedded in any future Planning review
Their spokesperson confirmed that they do not plan to go away, " CARPA is just beginning and we will over the coming months ensure that everyone who feels affected by these sights is given a chance to register their views and the opportunity to be consulted on any future applications with respect to these blots on our landscape."
She continued that, "Residents who wish to support CARPA can follow us on Twitter: @takedowntheads; and Facebook: CARPA. They should make feelings known to the Council by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org, one of the local Councillors (found on Wandsworth’s web site), and Sarah McDermott (Chairman of the Planning Applications Committee) email@example.com. "
Adam Gray of @voteRoehampton, posted on this site's forum: "I'm not sure the council appreciated quite how overwhelming they would be (but it's their job to) and the Rosslyn Park publicity they submitted suggested they would be less visually dominant.
"If the signs were less intrusive and if they had been accompanied by some nicer landscaping of the club's Upper Richmond Road boundary then they might have been tolerable. I'm unconvinced that they are in this form."
One local resident told this web site that their concern was that drivers would be distracted by the ads - 'especially if a underwear campaign was running' and that would put cyclists at more risk - 'this stretch of the road can be like a velodrome as certain times of the day'.
A spokesperson for the Council confirmed that the correct application procedure had been followed:
"The club applied for and obtained planning permission in the normal way following the statutory consultation which generated hundreds of responses from local residents, from those who supported the scheme and those who objected to it".
December 2, 2015