CAMPAIGNERS looking to keep Warren Farm open space for the public are welcoming unconfirmed reports that QPR Football Club are considering pulling out of a deal with Ealing Council to develop part of the site.
Save Warren Farm Campaign and Hanwell Community Forum argue that the deal would result in publicly-owned land, worth in their estimates £31.5m, yet valued by Ealing at £1.8-2.25m, being handed over to a commercial firm for 200 years, rent free.
QPR chairman Tony Fernandes, is said to be frustrated over planning delays and has told reporters he may, instead, upgrade the club’s current training ground at Imperial College, Harlington, close to Heathrow.
Under the approved plans for Warren Farm, two-thirds of the land would be given to QPR for their exclusive use.
Campaigners have long argued that its proposed training and academy buildings are not designed for ‘sensitive public green space’. The 61-acre site on the Northolt-Southall border would be surrounded by an eight foot high boundary fence.
They say Warren Farm is the best drained sports field in the borough, where no community fixtures have had to be cancelled due to waterlogging over the last 10 winters.
A spokesman said: “Warren Farm is one of 15 local ‘assets’ for which, under the Localism Act 2011, residents are working towards submitting nominations to have them designated as ‘assets of community value’.
If successful, then the community would have the right to bid for Warren Farm.
As part of the process, an online petition was set up to generate the necessary votes (required under the Act) for each of the 15 potential assets.
After an overwhelming response, within 24 hours the petition had been taken down as all 15, including Warren Farm, received in excess of the necessary endorsement.
“The Save Warren Farm Campaign and Hanwell Community Forum commits to working with Ealing Council to identify grants and funding to build a 21st century sports pavilion, with associated management plan, for considerably less than the £5.1m it is costing to refurbish Walpole Park,” said the spokesman.
“This could be achieved appropriately along the lines of The Hub in Regents Park, to service the full 61 acres, across a broad range of outdoor sports and leisure activities, on behalf of the community.”
Neither QPR nor Ealing Council has yet to comment on the issue.