Councillors in Wandsworth have approved plans that provide better sports and leisure facilities at the Tooting Triangle and also safeguard the future of its stay and play learning activities for younger children in the area.
Tuesday's planning applications committee approved a scheme that will see the 1960’s artificial football pitch at the Tooting Triangle site replaced with a modern and upgraded equivalent.
The existing buildings at the triangle, pictured below, will be revamped and modernised to offer better changing rooms, new showers, a café, publicly available toilets and a children’s recreation and play area, including an extended outdoor play area.
And a key part of the scheme will see part of the refurbished building given over for use by The Balham Amateur Boxing Club so that it can continue its important community work with young people in this part of the borough.
The council’s planning chairman Cllr Guy Humphries said: “These plans will ensure that not only does the triangle get a new all-weather pitch and provide a permanent home to the boxing club, it will also offer a bigger and better, secure and dog free play area for toddlers and young children, both indoors and outdoors.
"Parents and carers will still be able to bring their very young children to the triangle and continue to enjoy the supervised play facilities and socialise with other mums, dads and toddlers from the area.
“Currently the building is only open for a couple of hours in the mornings three days a week. These plans will see the facilities available every day of the week, all day, from 8am into the early evening.
“We will be addressing the flooding issues that have plagued this small corner of Tooting Common for years and which have often meant the buildings at the triangle have had to remain closed.
“And another benefit is the introduction for the first time of a café at the triangle and public toilets that will be open to everyone visiting the common.
“This scheme covers only land that has already been built upon –all these benefits can be delivered without any loss whatsoever of any of the common’s green open space.”
The decision to seek an improvement in the facilities at the triangle was endorsed in November 2018, following earlier public consultation, when the council’s finance and corporate resources overview and scrutiny committee formally backed plans to replace the existing artificial pitch and revamp its adjacent changing rooms and community facilities.
The triangle’s existing all-weather floodlit pitch, pictured here, which covers an area of some 3,800 square metres, was first built on the common in the 1960s and needs a complete overhaul. The playing surface is badly worn and is largely overlooked and ignored by local schools and sports clubs because it’s in such a poor state.
It will be replaced with a new high-quality all-weather playing surface which could be used for a range of different sports. Sensitive floodlighting will also be installed to allow longer playing times for local, schools, clubs and teams.
The proposals to modernise the changing room and community facilities will also deliver upgraded indoor and outdoor space for the Triangle’s popular stay and play sessions for young children and toddlers.
Councillors have reiterated their commitment to keeping the triangle’s important children’s facilities open and available to all local parents, with fully trained staff providing stay and play sessions.
The substantial funding and investment to deliver these improved facilities will come from a commercial partner in return for a 25 year lease on the site. This means these improvements can be provided at no cost to local council taxpayers, with the council retaining the freehold and remaining in control of the site.
Last night’s committee voted to approve the scheme unopposed, with seven votes in favour and three abstentions. Having received planning permission, the stage is now clear to apply for consent to proceed from the Government’s planning inspectorate.