Tuesday 12 April 2005 8.27am
This is a common problem with regeneration funded sports facilities. To get the money you need to prove the facility is 'sustainable' and that usually means prices that are out of the reach of ordinary people, which sort of defeats the object. Discounts may be given to organised community groups, but it is difficult provide similar to deserving casual users. (I suspect the London Nautical School
might be the main beneficiary, whilst I know a number of local residents were very unhappy to lose their pocket of green.)
We have a similar debate going on in Archbishops. The Redra football pitch is crummy and schools won't use it. However I have seen local kids play casual games of about 20 a side in summer. A consultation was run on how it might be improved, but this was limited to organised sports groups. I argued hard that the unorganised also needed to be represented, but to no avail. With political help we managed to head off an early idea that the amount of space devoted to football might be increased.but were left with a proposal that the Redgra pitch be replaced with...Redgra. So we still get pink dust floating over the toddler playground and into neighbours' windows, it is still unsuitable for schools, and this time round kids will need to pay to access.
Other more powerful people are on side with us on this one, so I am still hoping that there can be a wider debate, which would include access and maintenance, and the needs of other park users. But your views on Colombo Street
are predictable. And the ranting is welcome in that I hope this will increase the likelyhood that whatever happens in Archbishops will be sustainable in a community sense by properly meeting community needs, rather than just a financial one.