Q: Would you be able to clarify the following points raised by the Opposition?
The CIC is not independent - this group is funded by the developer and their marketing is the developer's.
A: The CIC is a group of local people who took the opportunity to work and negotiate with the land owner, Quantum, in order to secure a financially viable proposition for Teddington. We negotiated an increase in the amount of land to be gifted to Teddington (from 7 to 9.5 acres); secured a legally binding agreement to ensure that none of the extra care retirement flats will be occupied until the sports and community facilities are built and handed over to the CIC; secured financial support during the first 3 years of operation so that the site is financially sustainable as it won't be able to generate full revenue from 'day one', and we will receive a percentage share of profits from the retirement flats in order to fund the community project.
Given the failure of the 'Space to Play' campaign and difficulty in securing adequate funds and support from the Teddington community when the private site was originally put on the market by Imperial College, we felt that working with the company that actually owns the site is the best way to secure a positive outcome for Teddington (9.5 acres of private land and modern, fit-for-purpose sports facilities gifted to the community and secured from future development in perpetuity ). These negotiations demonstrate that the CIC has been fiercely independent of Quantum, trying to secure what we believe to be in the best interests of the wider community. Now we have a final proposal that the CIC believes is viable, we are aligned with Quantum and support their Planning Application.
The CIC also secured a subsidy from Quantum for its current operations on the Udney Park Road site . Despite the best endeavours of the CIC, the grass pitches are simply not able to generate the income needed to maintain them, or cover the utility costs of the clubhouse, and ensure full compliance with a vast array of legislation and regulation.
The sports facilities and open space are not fully funded.
A: The CIC has secured a legally binding commitment from Quantum that they will not permit any occupancy of the extra care flats until the sports and community facilities have been constructed and handed over in their entirety to the CIC. This commitment is also included in the Section 106 commitments Quantum will make in the Planning process. The Planning Application speaks about a cost of up to £2.7m to deliver the community assets but identifies £1.77m as committed Quantum funding. This is because the CIC has made a commitment to try to secure grant funding to ameliorate the funding burden on Quantum. However, should such grant funding be unavailable, Quantum are committed to deliver, at its cost, the facility and community open space to CIC agreed designs and specifications.
Plan B is a funded plan based on a coalition of local clubs, individual donors and schools.
A: The local clubs listed in the latest FUPPF newsletter includes clubs that SUPPORT the Planning Application and are some of the largest clubs in Teddington. None of these clubs have seen the FUPPF's funded plan and if a coalition of local clubs, donors and organisations exists, it excludes at least 7 of the 9 clubs listed in the FUPPF's newsletter.
More over it isn't clear how the ownership of the site would transfer to enable Plan B. Surely someone would have to buy the site for Quantum? And unless there is a wealthy community minded firm or individual, anyone acquiring the site would have to develop or run a business on the site to pay for its up keep. From our own experience we know how hard it is to generate sufficient income on the site to meet the operating costs let alone pay back any costs of acquisition without major scale development. What guarantees are there that this new owner would not have objectives of their own incompatible with a community sports facility and open space for all Teddington residents?
Quantum are building Luxury Flats and New Homes for Families
A: this development does not include new homes for families, or luxury flats for out of towners - they are 107 extra care retirement flats for people over the age of 55 and in need of care, with the option to purchase on a government and Homes England backed shared-ownership tenure which opens up the possibility of purchase to a wider range of local residents. They are not going to take away any school places, as some of the objectors are claiming. Instead, they are going to allow older residents to live independently in their own homes for longer in a community minded environment where personal care is available on site 24 hours a day. This type of housing is a recognised solution to ever increasing pressure on local NHS and adult social care budgets. And there is a shortage of such facilities in Richmond and Teddington. The Council themselves acknowledge that they are falling short of the targets required to meet the demographic changes happening in the Borough.
Some claim that this will make the area a wealthy ghetto.... And why should people in need of additional care in their older age not release equity by selling their existing home (and in doing so free up new homes for younger families) and staying in the local area with friends, relatives and amenities they already know?
A Community bid is a realistic option
A: We are aware of the plans put forward by some members of the public – led by the Friends of Udney Park Playing Fields (FUPPF). However, there are some fundamental reasons why we don’t believe their plans are viable or for the benefit of the whole community:
1. They do not own the 12.74 acre site.
2. They have no agreement with the current land owners to obtain any or all of the land.
3. They have no working relationship or funding in place with the current land owners.
4. Their plans for the site shows the majority is for sporting use and therefore fails to deliver a genuine community facility or open space for everyone to use and enjoy.
5. And as stated before, how will any bid and operational costs be funded or the site maintained?
Q: Are The Sports Facilities Fully Funded ?
A: Quantum is committed under the section 106 to deliver the community facilities before it can occupy the rest of the development. It would not be rational for them to hold up the community facilities because funding was short. They will seek grants to be sure, that’s only sensible, but the lack of grant funding cannot stop them delivering.
Q: I thought this site was public property or was certainly open to the public to use?
No. This land is privately owned and always has been. There has been some misunderstanding about this and we would like to clarify that it has never had any public facilities, nor has it ever been used for publicly accessible sports or open space. We, as a community are not losing any sports fields or open space we never had access to – we are gaining 9.5 acres of land for our own community use and it is free!
Q: Is the Public Open Space really needed?
Yes. The site sits immediately adjacent to an area recognised by LBRuT Local Authority as lacking in public open space. Our own consultation over the last year has highlighted local people’s enthusiasm for the majority of this land to go from private ownership into public open space for everyone to have access to.
Q: Will the new facilities be funded by local taxpayers and the Council?
No. The facilities will be built by Quantum at their own expense. Upon completion we will own, run and manage the facilities on behalf of the community, at no cost to the council or taxpayers. We plan to employ local people to help run the facilities.
Q: I’ve read about a ‘Charitable Trust’ that wants to run the site – is that you?
No. This is not us. We are aware of the plans put forward by this Trust – led by the Friends of Udney Park Playing Fields (FUPPF). However, there are some fundamental reasons why we don’t believe their plans are viable or to the benefit of the whole community:
Q: How will the TCSG CIC be managed?
The existing management structure of the TCSG CIC is a Board of 7 experienced directors who are facilitating the fair and broad representation of the community including clubs, residents and associations. Additionally, an Advisory Group has been formed to create a management body for the CIC that is fully representative of the local community. The CIC Board and administrative staff will manage the day-to-day activity of the site and it will be run and managed by qualified staff, employed by and under the direction
of the TCSG CIC.
Q: Why have you only got 2 pitches?
We have 2 full sized pitches. One is a 3G artificial pitch (there is an under provision of artificial pitches in the Borough). This pitch can be used for multiple sports including football, rugby and hockey and can be used far more regularly than traditional grass pitches which have limited hours of use and require far more maintenance and rest periods. The other is a full sized grass pitch for both rugby and football. We are also building a MUGA which again has multiple uses and is not dependent on the weather. This can be used for tennis, netball and basketball etc.
Q: What else apart from your facilities is planned for the remainder of the site?
The proposals for the remaining 3 acres are to build:
Q: How will you make the facilities commercially viable?
We have been working for several months to ensure that we have a robust business plan in place for the running of the facilities. This has involved a detailed examination of all the costs involved in developing, maintaining and running the range of facilities that we want to offer. We researched different options and approaches, to make sure that the facilities will pay for themselves, and that they will be financially sustainable in the long term.
Q: When will this be built and ready for the community to use?
This is a hard question to answer as we need to gain planning permission before any building can commence. We have submitted our planning application to LBRuT and we hope to have a decision from the Council in the early summer. If we are successful with our application we anticipate the facilities could be open to the public at the end of 2021/early 2022.