Save Hervey Road Sports Field

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Summer '08


Olympic host borough rejects resident's call for restoration of local sports field
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Dear Residents,

At their meeting on 30 July Greenwich Council rejected pleas by local residents to drop their plans to build on the Hervey Road Sports Field.

Fifty local residents attended the meeting to support Richard Dinkeldein, a member of the committee of the Friends of Hervey Road Sports Field and Trevor Dimmick former president of Blackheath Cricket Club, both of whom gave impassioned speeches to the whole Council on the need to keep the field for sport.

Local residents had obtained a copy of detailed plans and elevations for Willow Dene School to be relocated from Plumstead to the field. This plan was first drawn up in 2005 with amendments as recent as June this year.

In his speech, Richard Dinkeldein of the Friends Group said that:
“Residents were shocked and dismayed that the plans had progressed so far and in such detail:

* without any consultation whatsoever with local residents,
* without any regard for the needs of local sports clubs for pitches,
* without acknowledging the hugely negative environmental impact of such a large development,
* without recognising the already heavily congested commuter routes around the field.

Cllr Roberts Leader of the Council admitted that Hervey Road Sports Field was the preferred site for the relocation of the School but that no decision had yet been made. There was a financial gap between the aspirations of the School governing body and what is presently affordable and until that is resolved no progress can be made and the field cannot be declared “surplus to educational requirements.”

Susan Proudfoot Chairman of The Friends Group stated:
“We are furious that a motion, put forward by our Ward Councillor Andy Jennings, was effectively tossed aside and replaced by a motion which was not only factually inaccurate, but had nothing to do with sport. Andy Jennings merely wanted the Council to officially recognise the Friends Group and to open discussions with funding bodies and local clubs and schools in order to get the field restored.
It was depressing and hugely disappointing for the Friends group to watch as the Council then voted on party political lines, rather than on the future of sport for children and young people.”

The field is definitely not surplus to requirements as a playing field. The nearby and amazingly successful Blackheath Cricket Club is desperately keen to run the sports field for cricket and tennis in the summer and for rugby and soccer in the winter. They would be delighted to share the facility with Bluecoats and other schools.

Richard Dinkeldein said, “It is incredible that Greenwich Council is even thinking of carrying on with this outdated and damaging policy of building on sports fields and green open space. 202 sports fields have been lost in London in just the last 10 years. For an Olympic Borough to be continuing this massacre is pure madness.
But, we will continue the fight to preserve this 130 year old sports field. Local residents won a battle 40 years ago to prevent building on the field and will win again!”

A Big Thank You to those who turned up to support us at the Council Meeting . It was a long evening- nearly three hours- and it says a lot for the strength of feeling amongst local residents that so many stayed to the end.

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