Wandsworth Council is pushing ahead with plans to develop Tooting Common Triangle, despite resistance from locals who argue a pay-and-play football pitch would commercialise the common.
The Council is seeking permission from the Secretary of State to replace the Triangle’s 1960’s artificial football pitch a with an enclosed, floodlit alternative.
Plans include refurbishing neighbouring buildings to offer changing rooms, new showers, a mini café, publicly available toilets and a children’s recreation and play area.
According to the Council’s community services spokesman the development will improve the common. Cllr Steffi Sutters, said:
“If the minister approves these plans it will be great news for schools, sports clubs, young people and parents in this part of Tooting.
“We have drawn up plans to refurbish and improve the facilities at the Triangle which can be achieved without losing a single blade of grass on the common. This scheme covers only land that has already been built upon – there is no loss whatsoever of any of the common’s green space.
“There will be no impact at all on the natural open spaces of Tooting Common which local people rely on so heavily for their leisure, recreation and mental well-being.
However, some residents have objected to the plans, highlighting that locals would have to pay to use the pitch.
A petition – to ‘stop the commercialisation of Tooting Common’ - has amassed over 7,000 signatures online since its creation six months ago. See the petition here: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/ ... ing-common
Building onto a green space, a lack of access to the public and increased traffic and pollution in the area, are amongst the objections.
A spokesperson for the residents’ group protesting the development said:
“At a time when outdoor space is so precious, we should not be losing 38,000 square feet from public use. The council want to bring in commercial operators to Tooting Bec Common and make the public pay to use a significant area of the common.
“They are failing to mention the impact on one of the remaining unspoilt islands of parkland in London - or that they have helped broker the deal with a football club who play at semi-professional level to make this area their base.
“They are also failing residents by refusing to investigate the obvious impact on car parking and refusing to listen to 10,000 objections to this development, sending out just 34 letters to residents.
“The council are not the judge and jury in this case but the applicant.”
Jeremy Clyne, Open Spaces Society Correspondent for Lambeth and Wandsworth commented:
“In its 833-word public statement Wandsworth Council has miraculously managed not to even mention that the public will have to pay to use this area of the common which should remain free and open to all.
“The Council also hides the fact that these changes will not just radically alter this corner of the Common, but effectively affect the character and enjoyment of the wider Triangle field, a tranquil and precious area of the common.
“I don’t think that councillors backing this proposal have the slightest appreciation of how the site is used and enjoyed by the public in both Wandsworth and Lambeth.”
Aerial view of existing Tooting Triangle sports pitch