WARREN Farm community sports field can be leased to Queen’s Park Rangers FC, a high court judge has ruled.
Under the terms of Ealing Council’s deal with QPR, the 61 acres of publicly-owned land near Southall will be redeveloped and divided into thirds - two thirds for exclusive QPR use as a training and academy site and one third for the public.
At an oral hearing, Mr Justice Ouseley concluded that Ealing Council’s redevelopment plan to lease Warren Farm was not done unlawfully.
The chair of Hanwell Community Forum, Carolyn Brown, said: “On the surface, the council appears to have done everything that they needed to do in the process. “However, consulting residents in only one ward when the impact of the loss of these community playing fields will affect the whole borough, and holding key meetings before and immediately after the Christmas period and during the August holiday period, were all actions that helped to ensure it was as difficult as possible for the community to challenge the council effectively.” Disappointed Save Warren Farm campaigners argue the council has undervalued the site at £1.8-2.25 million, which is the equivalent value of a large house in central Ealing.
They argued the plans would hinder the annual primary schools tournament between Ealing’s 16 schools and Tamil School Sports Association’s tri-sport football/cricket/netball events.
A council spokesman said: “The improvements will include enhanced football and cricket pitches for community use, a new artificial turf pitch and multi-use games areas suitable for sports such as netball and tennis.
“There will be a new changing facilities catering for disabled users, as well as bookable community space in the new clubhouse.”
QPR will not sign the lease until after the development has been completed and they declined to comment for the moment.
The chairman of Brent River and Canal Society Nic Ferriday, said: “Our overriding objection is that our council is giving away our land to be fenced off and used by a private business. “A short-term financial crisis, that we are now coming out of, is not an acceptable reason for effectively giving away publicly-owned green space for the equivalent of seven generations.”