|Roehampton Playing Fields To Be Run By Community Trust|
Management scheme described as pioneering approved by councillors
The community-led bid to run the Roehampton Playing Fields on Dover House Road has now been approved in principle by Wandsworth Council.
Council officers and The Roehampton Playing Fields Community Trust (RPFCT) will now continue to collaborate to conclude the legal and other arrangements for the Trust to manage the grounds in partnership with Enable Leisure and Culture.
The trust will be given a four-year lease on the site, with the aim of delivering a range of improvements to ensure they remain popular and well used by local sports clubs, teams and schools.
Under the terms of the lease the trust and Enable will be in charge of its day-to-day management, using the income derived from its use to fund improvements at the 12-acre space.
A public consultation show a strong desire from residents to be more involved in the running and management of the fields.
The playing fields currently offer:
• Five tennis courts
In a statement issued after the decision the Trust said, “The Trust would like to thank many members of the local community, schools, sports clubs, the Putney Society, and especially Councillor Steffi Sutters and former Putney MP Justine Greening, for their fantastic support in helping us to achieve this major milestone. A special mention must also go to Doverhouse Lions FC for their long ten year campaign to secure a community-led sustainable solution for the Fields to enable them, and the Trust, to expand greatly the highly-valued social benefit that they deliver to so many young people and families across our diverse local community.
A report to councillors who approved the new arrangements on Tuesday stated: “A key focus of the operational plan is to increase use of the site whilst retaining use by existing user groups. This can be achieved through improvements to the quality of the playing grounds, cricket facilities and restoration of facilities including the tennis courts and netball courts.
“There is a strong commitment to increase participation, in line with the Active Wandsworth Strategy and through the identification of gaps in service which will encourage a more active community who live within the surrounding vicinity of the playing fields.”
The Trust, which is a registered charity, will now aims to start fundraising to improve the facilities particularly the pavilion. It says it is committed to providing greater opportunities to participate in sports and recreation, for all ages and abilities, offering lasting community benefit.
The council’s parks and open spaces spokesman Cllr Steffi Sutters said, “Local people told us they wanted a greater say in the running of the playing fields and so we have devised this new community model that gives local people this opportunity.
“There is an acceptance on all sides that the playing fields do need significant capital investment, which the trust and Enable argue they are well placed to deliver. The nature and status of both means they have more chances of accessing external funding sources for site improvements and community programmes that are not available to the council.
“What will be most important to the clubs and teams that currently use the site are assurances that they can continue to do so and this agreement guarantees that. Our most important objective throughout this whole process has been to ensure that the playing fields continue to provide to all the existing users, and hopefully new ones too, the kind of high-quality sports and training facilities that meet the needs of local schools and sports clubs in the years ahead.”
Current Covid-19 circumstances may still delay the physical handover date, but June 2021 is the current target launch date. You can sign up for updates on progress by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The Trust would be delighted to hear from anyone in the community who would like to help RPFCT to deliver their plans.