Saving the sports field is a key goal of the Love Mortlake campaign.
Local residents are troubled about the possible loss of the historic field on the Mortlake Brewery site. This large green space has been a feature of sporting and social activities for decades and is the only space big enough for team sports in the Mortlake area.
The cause of residents’ concern is the indicative plan for the site which was presented by the developers last March, and positioned a large secondary school on the existing sports field. Playing areas for the planned school were to be replaced with a much smaller all-weather sports pitch.
Saime Tanzi is one of the locals who decided to speak up:
“The field gives us all some breathing space, and is in regular use by local schools and sports teams. I am really upset about the possibility that we could lose it. There has to be a better solution than building over it.”
Ann Hewitt says the playing field is not just green lungs for residents but also important for wildlife. She is keen to ensure the trees and field are protected.
“The mature horse chestnuts and hawthorns along Lower Mortlake Road at the side of the field are currently subject to preservation orders, so the developer would have to apply to remove any listed trees. And the space itself is protected as ‘other Open Land of Townscape Importance’, recognising its contribution to the local community. Unfortunately this does not guarantee its future and we have applied to have the space listed as Local Green Space – a stronger safeguard.”
Meanwhile Andy Sutch, Chair of Richmond Sports Council, says that any planning decision that affects the field will require consultation with the sports governing body, Sport England.
According to the Sport England website, it is a statutory consultee on all planning applications for development affecting playing field land and “this requires local planning authorities to consult us when a relevant planning application is received. Our comments should then be taking into account prior to them making any decision whether or not to grant planning permission.”
Worried about the fate of the field?