1 January 2012

Homestall Road Sports Ground

Residents of Homestall, Mundania and Colyton Road will be aware that there are some proposals to develop parts of the Homestall Road Sports Ground. The sports ground is the home of teams representing Athenlay Football Club.

Some residents are delighted that sports facilities are going to be improved for local young people, but for some this is tempered by an understandable concern that development will lead to over-intensive use of the site which will cause disturbance to their home life.

The problems which Southwark Council has been seeking to solve, in partnership with the club and local people, are:

- The general poor condition of the sports ground
- In particular the poor drainage and quality of the pitches
- The lack of decent changing provision on site.

I think it would be fair to say that early on in this project, the council’s communications with local residents were not good. A proposal (now abandoned) was developed with the local Harris Academy. These proposals were not informed by the views of local residents. Thankfully, this proposal is something of a red-herring, as it is not now being pursued.

At the end of October the project was awarded funding from Sports England’s Protecting Playing Field Fund, and Southwark Council Olympic Capital Legacy fund. This funding will be used solely to address the quality issues of the grass pitches, with works including improvement to the drainage and quality of the pitches. The work will not begin prior to May/June 2012. We have visited the site with council officers and it was made clear at that meeting that all that was going ahead were improvements to the existing grass pitches. Consequently, for residents the changes would result in little more than the pitches looking greener and healthier in the future.

As your local councillors we have secured assurances from council officers that any further stages in the project will be based on full, open and substantive consultation with local residents. Future developments which are being considered include a mini Astro pitch and the changing rooms being rebuilt. Certainly the latter, if built on the existing changing room ‘footprint’ would be a welcome improvement on the current very poor facilities that the teams currently have to use. Council officers (as well as ourselves) are aware of local concerns and are committed to improving the facilities. Nobody wants to see the ‘over-development’ of a site in a residential area. We will make sure we keep you up to date as the plans and consultation develop.

Following an initial meeting and correspondence with several concerned residents a larger meeting about these changes is currently being arranged which anyone can attend. Council officers and local councillors will be there. As soon as I have a date for this meeting I will let you know.

PS: Happy New Year to everyone in the Peckham Rye area!

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